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Parallel Sessions - 25 November 2010

Photos by Jenny Embleton

Parallel Session 1

Department 21 presentation 1st page

Department 21

Polly Hunter, Yesomi Umolu and Bethany Wells
Royal College of Art

Department 21 was an interdisciplinary student-led working space at the Royal College of Art in London, which the presenters initiated in October 2009 and administered until July 2010. The project was a response to a number of factors, namely the difficulty in fostering spontaneous collaborations and maintaining interdisciplinary exchange within a rigidly compartmentalised and largely hierarchical institution. As an autonomous space that brought together students, staff and external guests, Department 21 sought to propose and test-on-the-ground an alternative learning typology. Furthermore it brought to light critical questions about the role of interdisciplinarity and student empowerment in current art and design pedagogy.

Polly Hunter, Bethany Wells and Yesomi Umolu drew on their personal experiences within Department 21 to discuss its conceptual underpinnings, reflecting on its practical implementation and transformative impact on the wider educational and administrative structures of the Royal College of Art.


iHelp presentation 1st page


Chris Carbin and Richard Jackson
Part-time Lecturers at the University of Wales, Trinity St. David and Co-Founders of iHelp

iHelp is a voluntary technical and creative support group that was setup by two postgraduate students in the Film and Media department at The University of Wales, Trinity St David. It was initially intended to offer informal support to students experiencing difficulties with pieces of software, it quickly became a method for students to also soundboard ideas and creative techniques with the iHelp team. It gave the capability for the student to think further and deeper about what they could achieve with the tools they had at their disposal. Main contact with the students came in the form of set hours or workshops in the Macintosh Computer Suite and via the Internet on their facebook website.

iHelp has developed now. From the premise of what iHelp sets out to achieve, a core module has been started for all Media Production first year students. The module has two main aspects to it, firstly it is there to give the students a ‘go’ at every piece of software that is used in the Film and Media department. Secondly, each student has to keep a Wordpress blog of all their experiences of their degree scheme as they go, almost a diary; one important aspect of this is that it familiarizes the student with the process of self analysis, and the blog also becomes an informal portfolio which if used correctly can be a real character profile also. The module has essentially become the spine of iHelp, which works with and around it. It is a good point of advertisement for the service. Even though support does become more formal they are finding that students find them much more approachable and able to help them.

Parallel Session 2


S Atkinson slide 1

Interactive resource for Media Professionals and Academics Collaborating in Teaching

Dr Sarah Atkinson

Principal Lecturer in Broadcast Media, University of Brighton

Sarah discussed the aims, outcomes and future plans for her ADM Fellowship project– Impact (Interactive resource for Media Professionals and Academics Collaborating in Teaching). This project evolved from higher education-based live film production projects within which Sarah has collaborated and developed.  These projects range from fiction films to Stereoscopic 3D production. The aim of Impact is to develop an on-line collaborative environment from which the resources generated from such projects can be accessed, shared, utilised and downloaded, and within which media professionals and academics can seek advice and share ideas.


Day and Rhodes presentation 1st page

How to make a firing squad less scary?

Dr Peter Day
Senior Lecturer, Photography, University of Wolverhampton
Jonathan Rhodes

Blended Learning Advisor, University of Wolverhampton

Dr Peter Day’s research into the effectiveness of (verbal) feedback with Art and Design students within the University of Wolverhampton (UOW 09 ILRTN funded) uncovered some deeper concerns that students held about being criticised. Using a quantitative and qualitative feedback questionnaire his research showed that a significantly larger number of respondents expressed an emotional and ‘fear’ focused response toward current feedback. In general students appreciated feedback but not the methods through which feedback was currently being delivered and appropriated. In response to a question about improving feedback at art critiques one student wrote ‘how do you make a firing squad less scary?’ In the intervening twelve months Peter has been working on an online forum that aims to do just that, to lessen the emotional impact of feedback at the critique and increase individualised peer-to-peer review, within a community and student focussed Blog. Now in its second phase Student Editors are overseeing the effectiveness of feedback and feedback terminology toward fellow students.

Parallel Session 3


Any Colour as long as It's Blackboard

Jake Abrams

Principal Lecturer in Illustration & Animation, Kingston University

Jake wrote: "Cheeky, irreverent, thought provoking; we’ve managed to create digital interfaces that subvert the norm. Deliberately railing against established protocol, we tried to turn the technology upside down and by so doing we engaged a studio course, then a Faculty and then a University. We set out to puncture a drab paradigm and to produce work of pluck, innovation and irreverence appropriate to art and design education. This paper is an evaluation of just some of the initiatives undertaken within Kingston University’s Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) over the last few years to adapt (some might say subvert) established uses of a VLE. It’s also about  ‘Squinting’ a new project that aims to promote lively discourse about the use of the digital within art and design teaching."


Sober presentation 1st slide

Creativity and Student Support: A Visual Approach to Peer Mentoring

Richard Sober
Subject Area Leader for the Spatial Design, Teesside University

This paper discussed ways in which design students can employ their creative and visual skills to engage, support and aid the development of new learners. This firstly considers how final year design students might perceive success and achievement and investigates their learning strategies. Then an ADM-HEA funded project was highlighted to demonstrate how these experienced students can utilise their design skills to produce materials to share their knowledge in a creative and visual way and disseminate this advice to the new learners.  This presentation included a variety of video clips, data and student-produced images.

Sequence 1, film of University of Teesside Students

Reduced size handbook

 Parallel Session 4

Blair presentation 1st page

An Examination of student formative assessment and feedback & its relationship to learning outcomes and the student learning experiences

Dr Bernadette Blair
Director of Academic Development for Studio-based Learning & Teaching, Kingston University

Bernadette Blair is currently carrying out a small funded project  looking at the relationship between assessment strategies and learning outcomes.  This presentation shared some of the initial findings, which examine how feedback is being articulated by tutors and understood by students. What are students’/tutors’ perspectives/understanding of assessment feedback. How do we make it clear what we as tutors expect of students.  Is feedback being interpreted the same by tutors and students?


Sims presentation 1st slide

What is said and what is meant? Giving written feedback
Ellen Sims
Learning and Teaching Development at Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Colleges, University of the Arts, London (UAL)

This interactive workshop explored the outcomes of a recent project evaluating written feedback on summative assessment. Students and tutors were asked what they valued about written feedback, how well students understood it and why, and how it could be made more meaningful and clear.
The participants discussed these findings and added their views and experiences. They also discussed:

  • How much is enough?
  • Does how well you know a student influence what you say and how you say it?
  • What is the ideal context in which to give/receive feedback?


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