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Dr. Annette Cohen is a 2013 graduate of the PhD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Dr. Elizabeth Holloway, Dissertation Chair [left] with Dr. Annette Cohen [right] at her Dissertation Defense in 2013.


grounded theory, content analysis, college students, qualitative interviewing, higher education, art students, online education, distance learning, e-learning, CSCL, collaborative learning, art education, art critique, synchronous asynchronous discussion

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The purpose of this study was to elucidate the construct of collaboration and the co-construction of knowledge in a distance learning drawing class. Distance learning drawing classes are rare, due to resistance by fine arts departments holding onto traditions that date back to Renaissance times. As a result, there is a paucity of literature on the subject. This multiple method study seeks an understanding of how students collaborate in critiques, form virtual communities and socially construct knowledge about learning how to draw. The study commences with the following three research questions: what social processes facilitate learning to draw from the perspective of the student in a computer mediated drawing class, what factors contribute to collaboration and the formation of a virtual learning community in a computer mediated drawing class as measured by the participative, interactive and social dimensions of a content analysis model, and how can the phenomenon of online collaboration be further delineated, defined or explained? The study consists of a grounded theory dimensional analysis of student and instructor interviews and a content analysis of discussion boards. Two core domains emerged from the dimensional analysis, Visual Learning and Virtual Culture. The content analysis located the frequency and quality of collaboration across three different discussion board forums; asynchronous critiques, synchronous critiques and asynchronous discussion topics. Triangulating the data resulted in three theoretical propositions: drawing is a visual medium, and students need to “see” demonstrations of the process and examples, virtual culture mediates collaboration and the co-construction of knowledge in critiques and finally, the inclusion of both synchronous and asynchronous tools provides students with balanced support for learning to draw. Literature from the domains of art education, distance learning pedagogy and virtual culture support an understanding of the research question. The results are demonstrated in a final model entitled In Situ Vision. The animated version of the model in this document requires a Flash player to view and plays on the page while reading. An author’s video introduction accompanies this dissertation, presented in mp4 format. The electronic version of this Dissertation is at OhioLink ETD Center,


An Author's Introduction Video accompanies this dissertation. Dr. Cohen has included an animation model of In Situ Vision which plays within the PDF. The file is also attached below.

insituvisionfinal.swf (1346 kB)
In Situ Vision Animation

acohenintro.mp4 (20553 kB)
Cohen Author Introduction