AICAD Tips for Teaching Art and Design Online



Going online quickly with art and design courses presents a particular challenge. Students may not have access to facilities, equipment or materials that they would normally have on campus. Making from found objects, exploring digital media and techniques and other adaptations will likely prevail during this unusual time. Remember, everyone is under added stress right now, faculty and students alike. Be patient with and kind to yourselves and others.


General Tips for using Online Meeting Platforms

  • Using Zoom or Google Hangouts as a way to hold classes and critiques can be successful. Students get to meet as a class and interact with each other and discuss the current topic. Both Zoom and Google Hangouts also have an annotation/caption feature that can point out areas on images for discussion
  • In Zoom you can switch to small group chats, which allows students to split off in smaller workgroups to discuss and moderators can dip into each group.
  • Energy required of online meetings is 2X what it takes to do in-person. Consider shorter meeting times online, shifting what would have been contact hours in a studio class to independent work.

    Conducting Critiques Online/Remotely

  • If the critique is of a physical object, have the presenter move the camera around to see all perspectives on the work. Use screen share for digital work.
  • Send students prep questions to help them conceptualize the conversation ahead of time. Be real with students about new limitations, relating it to the challenge of having a website as an artist and trying to make people fully understand work without seeing it in person.
  • The online portal allows for online art reviews/critique, particularly photography.

    Capstone Exhibitions/Presentations

  • Consider using PowerPoint or media presentation instead of a traditional exhibition of work, as well as doing some sort of social media blast to share more broadly.
  • Conduct a live virtual symposium through a combination of Zoom and Eventbrite.
  • Connect students to the Social Distance Gallery on Instagram (see links section below).
  • One approach from a product design program: Planning for seniors to complete their project, having faculty work with them one-on-one on an evolutionary path from concept to user, then will figure out if the product is able to feasibly be made with what’s available. Students will then create a video presentation with 3D/2D/ Digital model of the product. The result will be a group yearbook and digital exhibition.

     Discipline-Specific Approaches


  • Sculpture faculty have built armatures for students to pick up from campus and bring back later. The curriculum has been modified to be done through video without having a model present.
  • Teach using smaller scale models.
  • Get students to make things out of household materials, asking students to consider how upcycling could be beneficial, and using these sculptures as mock-ups for larger-scale works.
  • Consider turning the focus on a unit around the fabrication process, 3D modeling, making proposals, and other lessons that translate well into an online format.

    Fashion Design

  • Fashion Design majors that don’t own machines are being asked to create “flat patterns” of clothes they already own, and either drop off at campus or mail back.

     Useful Links

    There's a great Facebook group called Online Art & Design Studio Instruction in the Age of "Social Distancing" where folks are convening to discuss these issues:

    Voicethread allows for asynchronous feedback/critique:

    Content and collection sharing:

    Another online meeting space alternative to Zoom and Google:

    Breakout room features of Zoom:

    Programs that are able to be used in China:  and

    Chinese firewall test:

    On G-Suite security as it relates to FERPA:

    Social distance gallery for BFA and MFA thesis:

    Online PortfolioReview:

    Facebook Support Group for Parents Homeschooling while Remote Teaching:

    Virtual Studio Visit Instagram:

    VCUarts’ Z.O.M.B.I.E. Survival Guide (Z.O.M.B.I.E.= Zoom + Other Multimedia Basics for Instruction and Education):