Whether you’re earning a degree on a full- or part-time schedule, seeking personal enrichment, or exploring professional development, our online art courses give you the flexibility to pursue your creative goals wherever you are.

Online courses meet through Learn@UW, a virtual classroom for learning. To access course materials all that you need is a connected device with a modern web browser. Live instructors provide a syllabus listing important assignments, deadlines, and virtual office hours.

You’re free to manage your own time, online classes follow the same semester calendar as on campus classes. Instead of attending class at specific times during the week, you’ll access course materials and lectures, participate in discussions and research, take quizzes, and submit work according to your own schedule, as long as you meet the assignment due dates and other deadlines.

Online courses cover the same objectives and competencies as courses offered face-to-face on campus, giving you the full outstanding UW–Madison experience. Enrolling in summer term saves you money to complete your degree in four years with two Summer Terms, rather than taking a fifth year, and you’ll gain more time for internships or other opportunities down the line.

Summer 2018 course listings are now available!

Classes begin May 21, many courses open to beginners, non-art majors, and special students.

Enrollment opens April 2, plan your summer art class now!

Art 100 Introduction to Art
About this Course

Introduction to Art (Art 100) is both a lecture and art studio course that explores the elements of visual language, and their nature, functions, and relationships in the visual arts. The focus is on the development and application of both critical thinking and hands-on creative skills. This course explores aspects and issues related to experiencing art first hand and will engage the people and places where this happens.

Course Content

The intellectual, cultural, and physical components of the visual arts will be presented as an essential and interrelated whole.

  • Form and content; style and iconography
  • Elements of visual communication
  • Principles of design
  • Aesthetic evaluation
  • Representational and non-representational forms of art
  • Themes and purposes of art: major subjects; personal and cultural functions
  • Visual elements of art: line; shape and mass; light, value and color; texture; space; time and motion
  • Principles of design: unity and variety; balance; emphasis and focal point; proportion and scale; rhythm
  • Visual mediums and methods
  • Western art history overview
Art 108 Foundations of Contemporary Art
About this Course

Foundations of Contemporary Art surveys the movements and theories of the twentieth century that inform contemporary art production. Special emphasis will be placed on the shift from modernist models of art making to postmodernism’s critical deconstruction to our current post-historical phase.

In this class students will…

  • describe basic qualities and conditions of Modern art as well as several exceptions.
  • describe the technological, political, social, and economic conditions that created the backdrop for the emergence of various Modern art movements.
  • describe at least 8 Modern art movements, key artists in the movement, important works and media, and the content of the manifesto when applicable.
  • identify the work of a variety of artists and critics and describe their contributions.
  • identify key figures that shaped the culture of the 20th Century including Freud, Walter Benjamin, and Karl Marx and describe their significance.
  • be able to describe both impediments to the participation of women and people of color as well as specific strategies various individuals and groups used to access and participate in the art world.
  • describe examples of non-western art of the same period.
  • discuss the concept of “male gaze” and how this evolved during the 20th century.
  • define and apply a range of art-related terms such as appropriation, the uncanny, purity, manifesto, and
  • identify a variety of art media and discuss the emergence and impact of new media such as film and use of the “ready-made.”
  • engage in discussions and demonstrate development in both your ideas and your ability to articulate those ideas.
  • create several original works in response to the course content.
  • demonstrate an understanding of the institutions and practices related to Modern art.
  • relate specific artists’ work and practice to issues of identity, perspective, spirituality, etc.
  • demonstrate an ability to be critical consumers of visual culture.
Art 176 Digital Photography for Non-Majors
About this Course

Introduction to tools, techniques and concepts of digital photography, with an emphasis on the workflow beginning with composition and image capture, to digital manipulation and enhancement, to the end goal of print or online publication. Students will develop a robust fundamental skill set in digital photography through lectures, readings, discussions, practical instruction, instructor review and group critiques.

Students who’ve previously completed Art 176 are encouraged to enroll in Art 448 Continued Digital Photo for Non-Majors

Course Content
  • Digital shooting
  • Photoshop image adjustment
  • Digital collage
  • Scanning
  • Printing practices
  • Building animated GIFs
  • Producing a compelling image feed via tumblr or Instagram


Art 208 Current Directions in Art
About this Course

Current Directions in Art (Art 208) examines current artists’ motivations, intentions, processes and their relationship to general developments in contemporary art.

Art 236: Writing For and About the Arts, Comm B
About this Course

Writing for and About the Arts (Art 236 Bascom Course) satisfies the Communication Part B requirement. Art 236 is a low-enrollment course that develops skills in critical reading, logical thinking, use of evidence, and use of library resources. Emphasis is on writing in the conventions of the visual arts.

Art 448 Special Topics: Digital Storytelling
About this Course

In this course, we will use digital tools to bring your stories to life. We will create audio, visual or interactive media projects to tell stories about the people, places and issues you care about. We will also be exploring the practices of contemporary digital artists.

Art 448 Special Topics: Continued Digital Photography for Non-Majors
About this Course

This studio intensely engages a wide range of image-making techniques. It is ideal as a broad primer for anyone interested in a serious pursuit of photography, digital media, printmaking, graphic design or self-promotion. Each week the class will cover a new process and wrap up with a lively critique.

Ready to find out more?