Tate Online Courses
Tate has been producing and running Online Courses for three years with the launch of the Artists Techniques and Methods Course in 2008 and a second Introduction to Drawing Techniques Course in 2010. There are over 1500 registered users on the Tate Online courses, many of them based outside the UK. The courses are based upon a unique model of trying to provide the equivalent of an online evening class rather than an accredited course. Each course consists of six tutorial units which are accompanied by a discussion forum and an image gallery. The course units are highly interactive and contain a lot of video and animation. The courses are designed to be informal and practical so that students can learn about techniques, try them out at home and then share the results with other students on the discussion forum and in the image gallery. Once a user has signed up to the course they have unlimited access to the course environment so they can spend as long as they like studying the material and can re-visit the course over a long timeframe. The demonstration of the online courses will provide a unique opportunity for museum professionals to have a look at the Tate Online courses without having to pay for them. The demonstration will also examine how to create a business model for producing and running online courses so that they generate revenue for your museum. The courses were developed using Moodle (a free open source LMS) and an inexpensive authoring tool called Articulate. The demonstration will show how tools such as these can be used to create online courses incorporating new or existing content, including video, animation and images. The Tate online courses were created on a very low budget, often re-using content that had been created for other projects. I will discuss how to build up an online community of learners and the benefits and disadvantages of providing an online tutor. I will also share the user research Tate has carried out to discover what students look for in an online course and which course features and formats work best with this user group.