Center for Academic Technology

Gautam Rao

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 it!"

To see more of student work of Gautam Rao's classes, as well as personal work by Professor Rao:
http://butlercreative.blogspot.com/
http://introtovisart.blogspot.com/
http://studentsketchbooksite.blogspot.com/
http://www.gautamrao.net/