Student taking an online course

Arts and Architecture Summer Course Offerings from the Office of Digital Learning

The Office of Digital Learning in the College of Arts and Architecture is pleased to announce its summer course offerings. During the two summer semesters, students can discover or reconnect with their passions for art, music, design, and many other related subjects. Summer provides students with the opportunity to get ahead on coursework, complete general education requirements, and learn new skills from anywhere in the world. Arts and Architecture online courses range from a music course on The Beatles to Introduction to Drawing.

“The summer semester is an ideal fit with online courses, allowing our students to attend from anywhere. We're pleased to be able to offer a range of courses that span multiple disciplines and permit students to have an Arts and Architecture experience,” said Gary Chinn, Assistant Dean for Digital Learning.

Chinn explained that in the past, summer online courses have appealed to students who want to accelerate their degree progress, take a class that might fill up fast in other semesters, or simply take one summer course so that they can have a lighter course load in the fall and spring.

“We've grown our Summer Session offerings to meet the emerging demand for course options,” he added.

Summer highlights include AA121 Design Thinking and Creativity, an introductory and multidisciplinary exploration of the theory, process, methods, and artifacts of design taught by Peter Aeschbacher, associate professor of landscape architecture and architecture in the Stuckeman School and recipient of the 2014 President's Award for Engagement with Students at Penn State. Aeschbacher breaks the course into short-form videos about everything from the design of the bicycle to the popularity of Apple products and incorporates hand-drawing on the screen to further explain his lessons.   

Heather McCune Bruhn’s online art history introduction course, ARTH111 Ancient to Medieval Art, is another student favorite that one online student and active military member in Afghanistan called his “escape” and “the only thing that is beautiful” in his day. Bruhn, instructor in the Department of Art History, recently received a General Education Interdomain Seed Grant and an Incentives and Innovations Course Development Grant from Arts and Architecture with matching funds from the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. The funds are to develop a new course, Art History 107/Geoscience 107, Rocks, Minerals, and the History of Art, with Maureen Feineman in Geosciences, which will be offered online beginning in 2019.

“Summer tends to be a good time for Art History 111 because the compressed schedule makes it easier to retain the information for exams. Since there is a lot of information to cover, though, students shouldn't try to take too many online courses at once,” cautioned Bruhn, who also emphasized the benefits of taking a Gen Ed course from anywhere and without worrying about a daily class schedule.

Rising sophomore, Center for the Performing Arts photography intern, and LEAP counselor Jacob Iwinski agreed. He has taken summer courses in the past and plans to take Introduction to Photography this summer to hone his skills and keep his options open to possibly take advantage of the new photography minor offered by the School of Visual Arts.

“My first start in college was two courses taken during the second summer semester; they have helped me immensely,” admitted Iwinski. “Not only does having additional credits help you get ahead, but the individualized focus you can have for the subjects you study allows you to master what you want to learn instead of getting by.”


For more information on the Office of Digital Learning’s summer courses, visit the website: