Topic: Articles

Spotlight: Teaching Online

Andrew Martin is well known for his pots and for teaching innovative slip-casting and mold-making techniques. He’s recently started teaching these topics through his Ceramics Academy online, which includes video-based demonstrations, webinars, and a course workbook.

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Ceramics Monthly: What role do you see video courses playing in our field?

Andrew Martin: Videos will increasingly be used as a teaching tool in the classroom and by artists who are no longer in school. No teacher is an expert in everything, and videos allow teachers to bring experts into the classroom.

CM: What aspects of teaching/learning mold making and slip casting are made easier by the video course format?

AM: There are many, but the first is economics. The cost of subscribing to a Ceramics Academy course is about the same as a two-day workshop. It is a reasonable cost for 14 videos covering the specific details of mold-making processes and methodologies. With three more courses in the works, when completed, there will be 56 Ceramics Academy video tutorials on design, mold making, and slip casting.

Secondly, subscribers can play the tutorials as many times as they desire. This repetition allows the viewer to absorb information at their own learning speed and on their own schedule. Also, regular video webinars (web-based seminars) with me during the course give subscribers a forum to discuss concept, design, processes, and troubleshoot difficulties face-to-face. These webinars are archived online as an additional resource for subscribers.

CM: How do you combine discussions of concept and design in an e-course?

AM: With Ceramics Academy courses, this discussion occurs in the webinars. Even with a clear concept and design, one must design the sequence of procedures and choose the appropriate methodologies and techniques to manifest the finished work.

The path from subjective concept to physical pots or sculptures would be hard to cover in a lecture since it is specific to the artist and the project. As such, the consultation that clarifies the sequence and processes is a person-to-person matter. The beauty of Skype webinars and consultations is that they are not location specific.

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