A Costume Odyssey a.k.a. Teaching Costume History in a 21st Century Classroom

A Costume Odyssey a.k.a. Teaching Costume History in a 21st Century Classroom

Claremarie Verheyen (University of Houston, USA) and Youmei Liu (University of Houston, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-830-7.ch018
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This chapter will explain how we have integrated the Course Management System-WebCT into the teaching of Costume History at the University of Houston’s School of Theatre and Dance. It will focus on two topics, (1) delivering the course in hybrid mode to enhance student learning experiences, and (2) conducting course evaluation to collect student feedback on the course design and delivery for future improvement.
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Delivering Course In Hybrid Mode

A principle objective of a course in Costume History in a School of Theater and Dance is to familiarize the students with the important vocabulary, concepts and theories related to the evolution of clothing in each of the eras that are studied. WebCT allows the students to actively manage their learning expectations in a virtual classroom. The course is delivered in a hybrid mode in which students and the instructor meets face to face weekly with a lecture utilizing the same web information that is then available to them 24/7. The ubiquitous availability of this data introduced in the classroom setting is one of he greatest benefits of the web management option. The advantage of this hybrid mode allows the instructor to offer weekly navigational guidance on a face to face basis. This guidance steers them through the delivery and format of the course materials. By maintaining a consistent unit protocol, the student becomes familiar with the delivery system repeated in each chapter. This protocol becomes comfortable so that the focus pleasantly migrates the attention to the data to be digested.

The course Introduction literally raises the curtain on a parade of fashionable attired individuals representing the silhouette of each of the eras that will be covered during the semester. This runway is delightfully accompanied by the familiar theme music of 2001 A Space Odyssey I. The recognition of this theme both introduces and reinforces the overall objective of this course as a personal odyssey into the history of clothing. Figure 1 is the screen capture of the course instruction.

Figure 1.

Introduction to Costume History


The Syllabus is revised yearly to include changes in the organization of the class, the objectives, the books on reserve in the library and the expectation for the rubric governing their weekly costume plates. To enhance this narrative, a link is provided to demonstrate the format expected in each of their unit assignments. The grading standard is announced and the guidelines followed for the grading are posted.

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