Skip to content.
HEA logo ADM logo

ADM-HEA Learning & Teaching Projects 2010-11

Following Art Design Media Subject Centre’s (ADM-HEA) recent call for project proposals, 51 applications were received by 30 November 2009. The themes for this year are based around three priority areas:

  • Education for Sustainable Development
  • Student Engagement
  • Quality and Standards

41 applications came from university departments, 8 from specialist arts institutions and two from HE in FE institutions. There was also a broad geographic spread across the UK with all three countries, as well as the various English regions, being well represented.

The 11 projects which were awarded funding are:

Quality enhancement and student Assessment


An examination of art and design student formative assessment and feedback - its relationship to learning outcomes and learning experiences

Dr. Bernadette Blair, Kingston University

This project explores student assessment in art and design delivered through the formative and ipsative feedback available to students. How do the discipline areas of art and design ensure that students understand and learn from the formative feedback given in relation to project/module learning outcomes?   Using constructive alignment, it examines how this feedback relates to learning outcomes and how examples of good practice can enhance students’ learning experiences.

Although there has been a good deal of literature around feedback, assessment and learning in pedagogic research in Higher Education- (Askew & Lodge. 2000; Baume, Yorke & Coffey, 2004; Biggs, J. 2003; Black, & Wiliam, 2003; Harlen & James,1997; Rust,2002) and a growing research body of work around assessment and feedback in the art, design & media sector (Austerlits & Aravot 2002; Blair, 2003/2004/2006/2007; Davies, 2000, 2002; Crooks, 2001; Shreeve, Baldwin, Faraday, 2003; Orr, 2004; 2007) the sector does not seem to have a common interpretation or understanding of what is feedback and how this informs learning.(Cannatella, 2001)

This project aims to capture and analyse multiple perspectives, based on scholarship of teaching and learning, and use this increased understanding to develop professional development materials for staff and students in art and design.

Quality Enhancement and Prospective Quality Assurance through Teaching Exchange workshops in Media and Communications
Mehita Iquani, Kings College London & Anna Feigenbaum, Richmond University

Our project aims to generate a workshop model that contributes to teaching quality enhancement and quality assurance through “Teaching Exchange” (TE) workshops focused on enhancing the student experience. These workshops respond to the need for a proactive, collaborative and reflexive ‘ground-up’ approach to quality enhancement and quality assurance. In addition to providing a forum for exchange and discussion amongst teaching staff at various career and experience levels, the workshops themselves will generate two tangible outputs: (1) a school/department specific best-practices summary sheet for each participating institution and (2) a Teaching Exchange handbook for broader institutional use with information on the process of implementing the workshop and its contributions to quality assurance and quality enhancement. Successfully piloted in the LSE’s Media and Communications department in May 2009, with further enrichment the “Teaching Exchange Workshop” has the potential to become a key tool for departmental management, curriculum development, the cultivation of a ‘quality culture’ and the enhancement of student experience. Toward this aim we will host a series of “Teaching Exchange Workshop” at six diverse institutions in the UK. The transcripts and outcomes of these workshops will then be critically evaluated toward the production of a TE handbook and dissemination of findings.


Artfully Assessing Artwork: An investigation into grading and feedback practices in art and design

Dr Susan Orr, York St. John University

Not enough is known about how art and design lecturers make judgements about student artwork. Whilst there has been a proliferation of learning outcomes and assessment criteria there is very little research that identifies how these are used/interpreted/ignored when lecturers assign grades to artwork.

The aim of this project is to explore how art and design lecturers approach marking and feedback. The study will focus on how lecturers mark artwork through engagement with the assessment criteria and learning outcomes.   This study aims to identify the extent to which lecturers use personalised and/or tacit criteria. This study will also look at the ways student feedback statements are constructed.  The purpose of the project is to inform and enhance marking and feedback practice to contribute to the literature in this under researched field.


Student Engagement

Christine Blaney, University of Ulster

The Linked project actively promotes student engagement by involving students across disciplines and students from ‘other’ year groups in peer interaction via dynamic, motivating, meaningful and fun workshops.

It is evident that students are keen to participate in and engage with peer and interdisciplinary groups to develop their learning but require a formalized environment for this to take place. The project uses peer interaction and experiential learning to engage students in, “…the whole of the experience of being a student.” (Anderson and Boud, 1996)

The Linked project aims to develop student engagement and learning via experimental drawing activities (traditional and digital).

The project provides activities, experiences and forums for discussion that connect students to their peers and enhance the ‘whole student experience’.


FdA Creative Networks
Michael Smith, South Cheshire College

Many students in the field of design and media find it increasingly difficult to gain credible industry experience in the early stages of their training. The project will provide students on FdA Graphics and Digital Media with opportunities to counteract this issue in the form of live briefs from commercial clients through the establishment of an online talent pool.

The formation of the web based FdA Creative Networks portal will allow the hosting of incoming live briefs from industry enabling students to engage with commercial clients on a formal basis, under the guidance of specialist tutors from within the college. A facility for client and peer feedback will be incorporated, as will the opportunity for wider feedback and evaluative processes.

Students will take ownership of their own profiles giving them control over how they present themselves and their work to clients.

Essentially the portal will allow FdA Graphics and Digital Media students to engage with industry in professional business facing relationships, providing valuable cv building experiences and opportunities in the early stages of their design careers.

A direct support network will be provided with specialist staff on hand to help students tackle the live briefs, providing a buffer for industrial engagement.

FdA Creative Networks will be transferable to other groups of HE students (e.g. photography, film production) Equally; knowledge and experiences will be shared among the Creative Industries Curriculum Group partners outlined. As the lead partner, South Cheshire College welcomes the opportunity to share its experiences wider across the HE sector.


From ‘the course reading pack’ to ‘the liquid reader’
Joanna Zylinska, Goldsmiths, University of London

This project proposes to problematise the one-way, closed form of knowledge transfer in university education that is encompassed by the static, photocopiable ‘course reading pack’ - typically designed by course leaders and handed out to students. Moving beyond this format, it seeks to engage art, design and media students in a dynamic pedagogic process of devising a fluid, open-access, online ‘reader’. The content and form of the reader will be negotiated, updated and altered by students themselves, under the guidance of the course leader. The outcome will be an innovative, student-centred, customisable learning tool which will involve students in curriculum design. Promoting the socially significant ‘open scholarship’ and ‘open learning’ under the open access agenda, these liquid readers will be easily disseminated, free of cost, across the art, design and media community nationally and internationally, via a collaboration with the Open Humanities Press’ Liquid Books Project.


Education for Sustainable Development


Sparking Sustainability
Alex Lockwood & Caroline Mitchell, University of Sunderland

This project aims to increase student engagement with Sustainable Development through teaching and learning activities that explore the possibilities available in the practice of ‘communicating sustainability'.

Students from radio and journalism departments at Sunderland University will gain critical knowledge and practical skills in producing 'sustainable' content and practising 'sustainable' processes that will amplify the project's reach through the university's partnerships with local and community media, in particular radio station Spark FM and the Sunderland Echo, integrating experiences of student life and the lives of people of Sunderland and the North East of England.

The project will support us to develop problem-based learning curricula to 'spark' student engagement and self-determined understandings of sustainability in personal, local and universal contexts. While articles, radio programming and online/transmedia narratives are measurable outputs, the focus remains on how the stakeholders involved—students, staff and local communities—can develop competencies for living more sustainably beyond the lifespan of the project.

We see this as the pre-cursor to a programme of engagement with sustainability among broadcast and journalism departments across the UK.

Visual tools for sustainable design education
Dr Vicky Lofthouse, Loughborough University

This projects sets out to investigate the requirements and identify the attributes of resources to support the social element of sustainable design education.  It will identify the types of topics which are relevant to designers, then feed these findings into the redevelopment of the ‘Ecodesign web’ (used widely by higher education institutions to support some elements sustainable design teaching), but which only focuses on environmental issues, into a ‘Sustainable design web’ which will additionally support the social element of sustainability.  This new ‘Sustainable design web’ will be tested and refined.


Communicating Science and Environmental Issues
Jairo Lugo, University of Stirling

The project is responding to a call from the Research Councils UK (RCUK) which has encourage media departments across the UK to deliver teaching that can facilitate the understanding of science in general and environmental issues in particular. It aims to develop a model for a new module/course on science communication, with particular emphasis on environment and sustainability. The idea is to design guidelines for teaching students undertaking undergraduate courses in media and/or journalism how to report and communicate science in general and environmental issues in particular.

The project falls into the category of education for sustainable development and it will assist the development of curricula that will provide media and journalism students with the necessary skills and knowledge to participate and help shape the science and environmental debates. It also aims to deliver basic media skills to science students, as the module would be open to other disciplines. The main outcome will be a model for teaching science communication in the context of media and journalism courses in the UK. In so doing, it will present options and recommendations for curriculum design, teaching delivery, pedagogical strategies and assessment and evaluation modalities.


Developing New Regional Talent for the Welsh Creative Industries
Dr Gary Pritchard, Newport School of Art, Design & Media, University of Wales

The Welsh Assembly Government has recently established the University of the Heads of the Valley’s Initiative (UHOVI). The University of Glamorgan (UoG) and the University of Wales, Newport (UoWN) are lead partners in establishing a bold project to help regenerate one of Wales’s most economically deprived areas, engaging 4000 new learners in the process.

The School of Art, Media & Design at Newport will play a crucial role in the UHOVI project, leading initiatives to encourage these new cohorts to go on and serve as entrepreneurial pioneers in the creative industries. A central plank of this objective is to support the identification and development of new talent in students in the region.

This project aims to fully develop accessible audio and visual resources drawing on the established research and successful integration of Dr Gary Pritchard’s ‘strengths-based learning’ initiative. A strengths-based approach involves a process of assessing, teaching and designing experiential learning activities to help students identify, develop and apply their strengths and talents in the process of learning, intellectual development, and academic achievements to levels of personal excellence.

Funding for this project will facilitate an interactive resource that will be accessible in both face-to-face and virtual (off campus) context.


Tools for teaching and learning in fashion that contribute to all our collective futures
Nina Stevenson, London College of Fashion

How can we integrate the principles of design for sustainability into teaching and learning practice so that designers can share a collective approach whilst retaining their individuality? This requires a collective building of knowledge, skills and values in order to develop approaches and tools to individually engage with a collectively agreed set of challenges and opportunities. This is a very new approach for fashion design – a discipline characterised by its elusive nature, its secrecy and its fierce protection of ideas and rights to ownership. It requires a new approach where trust can be fostered and an understanding that it is not knowledge that gives creativity, it is its application. Through a nurturing of thinking, sharing and developing of knowledge and practice, we can evolve ways in which we can teach and learn better ways to approach both what we do and how we do it.

All the above projects are of 12 months duration and will complete at the end of May 2011. Updates on the projects will appear in future issues of Networks magazine and on this webpage.