Since its emergence in 2005 as a free and open online resource for instructors, students, and the general public, Smarthistory has made numerous groundbreaking changes and advances for better teaching and more engaged learning. Playing upon the theme "making the absent [art work] present,” we explain how Smarthistory’s lively dialogic pedagogy combined with a rich variety of image views, reconstructions, google street views, diagrams, and essays has successfully replaced the traditional dependence on an art history text for many instructors. The result is an enhanced experiential and contextual experience for the student. For a discipline whose works were often accessible only in textbook photographs, Smarthistory has made art history literally come alive for students. We also discuss how Smarthistory has encouraged collaboration from hundreds of art historians, nurtured open online publishing opportunities, and broadened our ability to address a broad range of non-western art.



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