4.1: Breaking down barriers between theory and practice: Reflections on the use of practice-based approaches to engage students with theory in contour design
Art & Design
Julia Reeve, De Montfort University
The aim of this session is to show how learning and teaching approaches which utilise the materials and techniques of the studio can deepen student engagement with research and writing. The session will reflect on teaching throughout the 2014/15 academic year on the Contour Design programme at DMU. Learning and teaching themes discussed in this session include engagement, playfulness, mindfulness, creativity, inclusivity, the primacy of the visual, kinaesthetic learning and reflection. Specific learning and teaching examples, the benefits to students, the challenges of introducing alternative approaches and student responses will be included.
My research focus is on overcoming the barriers that Art & Design students can face when tackling theory assignments. The session is underpinned by the Writing PAD philosophy which provides a ‘creative playground’ where practitioners can experiment with writing. The ‘Linking theory and practice through creative teaching’ manifesto of the East Midlands Writing PAD centre is also central.
4.2: Contested territory: negotiating the assessment minefield
Ciel Associates/ Middlesex University/ Rose Bruford College
The idea of students becoming agents in their own assessment rather than being objects of our assessment chimes with the important and necessary shift towards perceiving students as partners, co-producers, co-researchers. This approach to negotiated assessment was originally developed and implemented by Paul Kleiman at LIPA to deal with the complex and ‘messy’ business of assessing students on creative, practical multi- and cross-disciplinary modules. Importantly, it not only genuinely engaged students in their assessment, it also ensured that they felt they had been assessed rigorously, fairly and – in view of the often very different types of work and methods undertaken - equitably. This approach has been adopted and adapted by other programmes in various institutions.
The session will describe this particular approach to negotiated assessment and will provide space for questions and discussion.
4.3: Embedding employability by embedding a language of CPD – an example from Archaeology
Hannah Cobb, University of Manchester
To make students employable it is not enough to simply equip them with a skill set – they also need to understand how to articulate that when applying for jobs, when they graduate to the world of work and when wanting to develop and progress in the workplace. In other words, we need to prepare students for continuous professional development (CPD). At the University of Manchester the Archaeology department have been pioneering a number of methods to do just this, including developing skills portfolios, a Skills Passport and assessing student understanding of transferable skills. In this paper we share these innovations in embedding employability, as well as discussing how some of their insights have already been disseminated across the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures at the University, as we work to embed employability on an even wider scale by developing a new Arts-wide PDP scheme.
4.4: Faces and voices: An academic writing course at the centre of learning
Julia Hathaway, Richmond American International University in London
This presentation examines an accredited, required module that provides an explicit and structured introduction to academic writing for all first year students of all linguistic backgrounds including native speakers of English. This tuition is framed not as support or as compensatory, but as a transformative process of acculturation that is central to the students’ university experience. Students are engaged in a struggle to construct meanings in new discourse communities with new resources. At stake is their academic identity. Adopting different ways of knowing, valuing and expressing themselves, they inhabit newly discovered faces and voices. Course content and methodology are designed to guide students in this struggle and I focus on aspects of this design. I examine the benefits and complexities of locating such a course in the mainstream and its potential contribution to student engagement and attainment. Methods of assessing the effectiveness of this course are also discussed.
4.5: Pedagogy and the documentary: Active learning, reflective practice, collaborative work in undergraduate non-fiction filmmaking
Mark Douglas, Falmouth University
This research emerges out of teaching an undergraduate theory/practice documentary film module at Falmouth University. It examines how learning outcomes, including the making of a collaborative four-minute documentary, engage a variety of innovative formal and non-formal active learning methods including defining the concept of the film and project management from inception to screening and participating in live crit feedback sessions. Students are required to demonstrate understanding of the purpose of the material being shot and its assemblage into a meaningful and structured whole. The project requires holistic co-curricular learning, involving identifying problems, generating solutions and team working. The students develop theoretical knowledge, professional competencies and in particular practise reflective clarification of aims by way of group dialogue, working with others (especially documentary subjects/clients) and filmmaking practice. Understanding and knowledge is practically demonstrated through the quality of the learning action as embodied by the film and its accompanying portfolio.
4.6: Win/Win: Working with live projects for the public and educational ‘good’
Sian Cook, London College of Communication
This paper presents a recent case study where graphic design undergraduates worked with Lifeline Transform Mentoring Project – a new initiative for young offenders in prison – to improve the organisation’s communications. The aim was to offer a realistic look at running a pro bono project, enhancing employability and extending the student experience beyond the college environment, based on the author’s 10 years experience of managing projects which embrace a social responsibility agenda.
Such projects can be inspirational for students and enable charities or third sector clients to access design skills that they may not normally be able to commission. However, there can be problems with managing expectations (of both client and students) and ethical issues. By collaborating with a recent course alumnus who is bringing design thinking to a non-visually literate workplace, a better synthesis between the educational needs of the students, the clients and their service users was possible.
4.7: Geo-temporal visualisation of humanities data with modern language students
Ulrich Tiedau, University College London
The presentation reports the experiences with an introductory module to digital research methods in the Humanities, tailored for the needs and requirements of a heterogeneous group of modern language students, that focuses around geo-temporal visualisation and interpretation of humanities data with its inherent ambiguities, complexities and nuances.