Case Study: Professor Alice Jackson

Dr. Alice Jackson teaches Art History at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, usually at the 101 level. Many of Professor Jackson’s students are not art majors, but she still wants to inspire an appreciation of art and art history in each of her students before they leave her class. She makes the subject accessible to non-art majors and gives them the context they need to truly care about what they are learning in class. She implemented Packback to give her students a safe space to continue discussing the artworks and concepts they were studying in class, and the depth of discussion that resulted was incredible!

Course Details

Professor Name: Alice Jackson

University: University of Alabama at Birmingham

Subject: Art History

Approx. students per class: 80

Feedback from Professor Jackson

What makes you passionate about the subject you teach?

Jackson: I love teaching art history in general, but especially at the 101 level. Most of my students have little to no background in art history, so being able to introduce the subject to them is always interesting. Coming from varied backgrounds,they often have insight that I don’t have, and this enriches my experience and passion for the topic regularly.

Coming from varied backgrounds, students often have insight that I don’t have, and this enriches my experience and passion for the topic regularly.

What did you previously do to manage participation in your class?

Jackson: Since I began teaching online, I have not had a participation component of my students’ grades. There are discussion boards within our course management software, but they are a little cumbersome, and limiting in the number of questions that can be asked. With the introduction of Packback Answers, I’ve been able to add a participation component.

What were the biggest problems you wanted to solve by implementing Packback in your classroom?

Jackson: I wanted the students to feel a sense of community through discussions on Packback. My class is taught entirely online, and many students are not located in the same city. Hopefully, Packback gives them a sense of connection to their classmates.

How have you seen the quality of your students participation improve this semester with Packback?

Jackson: Yes. Many students seem to have learned how to pose questions in a way that makes classmates delve deeper into a subject. Answers have improved as well, probably because they are more comfortable with the format, but also with the topics being discussed.

What has your experience been like in working with members of the Packback team?

Jackson: It’s been great. Questions are responded to quickly. There have truly been no issues.

Hot topics in Professor Jackson’s class

  • What makes something “art”?
  • Differences in periods of art
  • Sexism in artwork
  • The importance of art in education
  • Thematic commonalities across periods of art

A few interesting questions from her Study Group

  • Do you think that art is as appreciated these days and given enough emphasis in the education system?
  • What is your reaction to Manet’s assertion that if a woman is naked and “on display” in a work of art, she must be a prostitute?
  • Does Realism really degrade an artist’s creativity, or do you view it as just another stylistic period of art?

  • Do you think nursing majors will experience any form of art in their work? If so, what kind?

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