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Teaching creative arts for older adults in an online environment


Forbes, AM and Monkhouse, H, Teaching creative arts for older adults in an online environment, Ireland International Conference on Education (IICE-2017), 24-27 April 2017, Dublin, Ireland, pp. 43. ISBN 978-1-908320-84-1 (2017) [Conference Extract]

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The role of the creative arts in helping to maintain cognitive function and promote better health outcomes for an ageing population has been receiving increased attention from researchers internationally [1 ], [2]. Drawing on this research and with the aim of providing opportunities for older adults to engage with the creative arts we developed a one semester course, "Creativity and Ageing" at the University of Tasmania that was offered for the first time in 2016. We targeted this course towards students who had enrolled in the University of Tasmania MOOC "Preventing Dementia" and to retirees looking for strategies to avert decline in cognitive function. A novel curriculum was devised that introduced current research on the benefits of the arts and creativity in ageing and then offered a mix of creative and reflective tasks, delivered and assessed via a D2L online platform. Over two hundred students enrolled, with 81% aged over 5 0. Each undertook three different creative mini-projects guided by specialist lecturers from the School of Creative Arts. For the first project students were given a creative theme but no restrictions on materials or techniques; for the remaining two projects, students chose from specific projects that included creative writing, stand-up comedy, creating soundscapes and various visual arts projects. Students interacted with staff and one another primarily through discussion boards.

Through anonymous course evaluation survey responses and online feedback, these older adult learners provided valuable insights into their experience of the exploration and in some cases, rediscovery, of their creativity. They also identified a range of benefits they had perceived from engaging in the course, including improvements in confidence, mood and the ability to concentrate. We had devised online discussion groups so that students could ask questions of tutors about their projects, but students reported that they found these more valuable for the emotional support and social benefits gained from discussing their projects and creative challenges with other students. The overwhelmingly positive feedback that we received underlined the importance in curriculum design of clear structure, innovative forms of engagement, formative feedback and developing transferrabie ski/is and processes. Students identified undertaking specific projects or learning art techniques as an initial aim, but by the end of the course they placed higher value on having learned processes and methods to refine their creative work, and the satisfaction they experienced having met the series of scaffolded challenges the course presented.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:creative arts, online learning, older adults
Research Division:Creative Arts and Writing
Research Group:Music
Research Field:Musicology and ethnomusicology
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Arts
Objective Field:The performing arts
UTAS Author:Forbes, AM (Associate Professor Anne-Marie Forbes)
UTAS Author:Monkhouse, H (Associate Professor Heather Monkhouse)
ID Code:125186
Year Published:2017
Deposited By:Office of the School of Creative Arts and Media
Deposited On:2018-04-05
Last Modified:2018-04-16
Downloads:2 View Download Statistics

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