Based on my undergraduate work and degree in new media design and imaging I would consider myself someone who is adept and familiar with digital art, particularly in regard to the Internet. There are quite a few issues I could address, however, my response would be incredibly lengthy so I will try to limit my comments to a few aspects of the reading…
My first issue with the article is Colman’s statement, “Recent use of Java and Flash does little to enhance the participatory and interactive character of the Internet; instead, it increases its allure as spectacle.” Spending years working in Flash, I can absolutely attest that this statement is false. There are so many more components and levels of interactivity that you can include using Flash and Java that absolutely cannot be achieved simply through the use of html. I find this statement somewhat ironic because from what I gather, Colman probably has little to no experience with these specific digital technologies. I am not necessarily advocating or implying that Flash and Java be used in all circumstances, but they should not be ruled out. Like any project, you need to think about the most effective approach and medium to produce your desired outcome or facilitate your expressive or exploratory experience.
Secondly, as a web/interactive designer, I disagree that informative “typical” websites cannot be considered art. In my opinion, unique approaches and the thoughtful consideration of information design, layout, and typography definitely employ the use of creativity. Colman includes one of her students’ definitions of art as being anything with a creative process or displays creativity regardless of the medium. Like many other forms of art, informational websites etc. pose a question which, when responded to thoughtfully can truly provide a unique “creative” experience for the viewer. (I do however realize that many websites are haphazardly thrown together and I would not consider these sites to be art…but that is a whole other issue that can be examined in depth…)
I do agree with some aspects of Colman’s suggested lesson plans; particularly the need for the lesson to introduce the students to ways of looking at, discussing, and critiquing the work they see online. She also mentions the need for sufficient time and “suspend[ing] certain expectations of the Web…” This is definitely both helpful and necessary when you want to explore a new medium with open-mindedness. In order to have a rich experience in viewing any form of art, the process cannot be rushed. Overall, I think when you are teaching technology course it is important to find a delicate balance between teaching methods for using software and having students employ what they have learned in a creative and thoughtful manner in their own artwork.