ART 1 Introduction to Art and Architectural History. Course Designer: Colette Apelian, Ph.D. UCLA

Course Description


Art 1 introduces students to the study of art history and visual cultures. We explore how historians, critics, artists and museum curators narrate and understand artistic expressions over time, especially the 20th-21st centuries. The course covers western, non-western, fine and popular images, objects and structures.  Students create detailed visual observations and learn the basics of major art history and cultural studies approaches (e.g. formalist, ideological, feminist, multicultural, and psychoanalytic, among others). Students also learn key terms and expressions used in the art history and visual studies discourses, among others. There is a strong emphasis on visual analysis, content analysis, and contextual analysis. The course is completely online; there is no on-campus orientation.

Introduction to Art History is custom designed. It is based upon textbook and OER documents and websites (Open Educational Resources). The course is interdisciplinary and developed starting summer 2008.  

Art 1 can be transferred for UC and CSU credit. Check with your school counselor and

Also, please see relevant links at the BCC Online College Transfer Center

Student Learning Objectives (SLOs)

  • Employ the vocabulary and concepts of formal analysis (visual analysis) specific to the visual arts and art history.
  • Identify and contextualize artworks according to their formal, iconographic, and social functions.

Supplemental SLOs


  • learn how material culture can be relevant to its social and historical contexts


  • learn art and architecture history terminology


  • hone ability to critically evaluate art and art historical narratives from multiple viewpoints


  • practice detailed visual observation, digesting and synthesizing what you see and read, and presenting your arguments and analysis in writing


Grading, Textbooks and Requirements


Final course grade is based upon


(1)          weekly to bi-weekly quizzes or short writing assignments  in discussion forums. Writing assignments are the norm.

(2)          a midterm exam

(3)          a final exam

(4)          a 3-4 page research project on artwork in a museum you will visit in person. Project is due towards the end of the semester. Project may not be assigned during summer months.


Assignment deadlines are usually Tuesdays, 11:55 pm.  Students are generally given approximately 7 days to complete weekly assignments (reading and quizzes, for example) and at least 5 weeks to complete the research project.


Besides online reading, there is one required textbook: Laurie Schneider Adams, The Methodologies of Art : An Introduction, 2009 (ISBN: 978-0813344508) 2nd edition . One copy will be on 2-hour reserve in the BCC library. Bring your Photo ID with a current enrollment sticker to Room 124C, first floor.

I do not recommend buying an earlier edition for the following reasons: different information, page assignments on the syllabus, and images, all of which negatively affect your exam scores.


To Succeed in Art 1, Students are Required to:


(a)          have reliable and consistent access to the Internet and an email account during the entire semester


(b)          study more independently than in on-campus courses


(c)           read more than in on-campus courses (most coursework is text-based)


(d)          log into the course website a few times a week each week throughout the semester  


(e)          learn new technology as necessary for the course


Students Requiring Special Accommodations (PSSD): Please email your instructor formal notification of your needs before the semester begins so you can be prepared for the Week 1 quiz on the syllabus.


 Thank you for your interest in this class, which has been custom developed for BCC students.

** Log in and begin coursework at  . If you have added with an add code, it may take 24 hours for you to be able to enter the website. Please contact the online help desk if you have problems entering the course website:  

**Online classes and their wait lists fill quickly. Students on waitlists have priority to receive permission to add codes. Before you email your instructor, please make sure the wait list did not "move" you into enrollment. If you want an add code, email your instructor at Indicate Art 1, Art 4, or another class. Please check the enrollment system often to place yourself on the waitlist. Not on the waitlist? Please email on the first day of class only to inquire about extra add codes. Thank you.

**The 6, 10, and 14 week versions of this class are intensive and accelerated. Before you enroll in this version of the course, please consider your schedule and prior commitments. Please consider any vacations you may take.

**To communicate with your instructor, students must list an current email in Passport and Moodle . If you do not list a current address, you will not receive emails from your instructor. 

**Only students can change their email addresses in Moodle and Passport/Prompt. Technical problems? Email

**There is no on-campus orientation. 

**How to log on to the course website and begin the semester?  Scroll down and read the instructions for the correct semester at .

**How to apply to BCC and enroll? Go to BCC's enrollment system, Passport . Sorry, no auditors.

**New to Berkeley City College or adding with an add slip on the first day of class? Read more information at BCC'sA&R website

**New to online learning? Explore the links at the Berkeley City College Distance Education / Online Courses website.