Gautam Rao is an Associate Professor in the Art Department at
Butler University. Professor Rao teaches Photography,
Drawing, Graphic Design, and Intro to Visual Art.
In one way or another, Rao has integrated technology in all of his
courses, mainly blogging. In Photography, for example, he has
students post their photos on the blog instead of physically
turning in projects. By using this technology, there is about
4 or 5 years record of projects in multiple classes. This
allows students to see what other are doing as well.
There are very minimal challenges presented by the use of this
technology. Rao said that just the learning curve of getting
students assimilated to the idea that they will be turning things
into the blog is a small challenge for some students. Also
the use of labeling and remembering to save in certain file formats
give students a little trouble at first; however, over all it is
not too difficult.
Blogging is such an easy technology to integrate into the
classroom, because it is a free website, that is widely
available. It is an expandable platform, yet relatively
simple and accessible. In addition, the blog can store
thousands and thousands of photos, and it is publically available.
Rao says this technology makes his teaching infinitely
better. "I can have students look at what other students have
done in the past. I am not collecting artwork from past
students. I don't have to ask them specifically for it; I
already have it. I have a tremendous record."
It's also great for the students and their participation in class
discussions. "They'll be looking at their classmates work that's
due on Thursday. Starting Wednesday night the projects will
start coming in online. We have discussion on Thursday and
they will have already seen the work the students have done, so
they'll already be ready for discussion." Because multiple classes
use the same blog, students are able to see what other students are
doing in other classes as well.
Professor Rao says he highly recommends integrating blogging
within all courses. He said he was once collecting papers
from about 25 students, and felt he really benefited from reading
each paper. However the students did not benefit, because
they were unable to read each other's.
Professor Rao concludes, "The buy in is not really that
complicated. Students are already using this technology in
their lives. I definitely encourage this; Everyone should do
To see more of student work of Gautam Rao's classes, as well as
personal work by Professor Rao: