Sunday, July 8, 2012

Embedding Numeracy into Creative course

Use of the online assessment tool 'ALNAT' showed us that about one quarter of our students could benefit from some extra numeracy help. The following is a document that describes the diagnostic process and outcomes. 


Let's look at the balance of face to face and flexible learning materials and assessment methods in the sculpture course:

Learning Outcomes
Learning Activities
Teaching Strategies
Content and Assessment
Use 3D forms to translate and interpret sculptural design concepts
Intro to some historical and contemporary sculpture practices.
Workshops  using varied sculptural media and tools. Eg. Wood, stone, metal, found objects / ready-mades.
Design, plan and produce a final sculpture project.
Face-to-face lectures and group discussions introducing a range of possible sculpture practices and media.
Encourage students to play and experiment in the Design workshops.
Final sculptural work or installation. Quantitative and qualitative assessment.
Workbook. Quantitative and qualitative assessment.
Oral presentation.
Be familiar with the equipment, tools and processes involved in the workshop.
Machine safety tutorials.

Group demonstrations in the workshop. Individual training on each machine.
Student demonstrates using tools and machines safely.
Write a proposal.
In week 2, explain proposal to the group and receive feedback. Give feedback to peer’s proposals.
Explain necessary content.  Hard copy and Moodle resources on structure and APA referencing. Individual consultations.
Student emails their proposal to lecturer. Quantitative and qualitative assessment.
Sculpture project proposal must be accepted by lecturer for student to continue with project.

Looking at the activities and assessment methods of the first learning outcome in the table above;
'Use 3D forms to translate and interpret sculptural design concepts'

The activity: Intro to some historical and contemporary sculpture practices is an overview of sculpture practice and currently in slideshow format. It is uploaded to Moodle as a Powerpoint presentation. The slides in the presentations have images and captions. I can see a chance to improve this by adding an audio recording of the presentation given in class. There is more information to be discussed about the art works that would otherwise clutter the slides with too much text.
Further, instead of a asking the students to open the audio file of the lecture and the Powerpoint separately, I could record sound directly into the Powerpoint file. Having a similar feel to this presentation on London Graffitti art by David Christopher.

The content for the assessments of the first learning outcome: Final sculpture, workbook and oral presentation are usually handed in face-to-face. There could be more flexibility with the format of submitted work, providing dead-lines are still adhered to.
Students could make a video recording of their presentation and email it. They could also digitally scan their workbook and email that.
The final sculpture is more tricky. Contemporary sculpture recognizes that documentation of the work does not necessarily substitute experiencing the work 'in person'. Factors which influence the viewer's 'reading' of the sculpture can include; installation method, lighting and sound. The veiwer's bodily presence may also activate aspects of the sculpture.Therefore, pictures of the sculpture alone will not be sufficient for assessment.
If the student can't present the final work here on campus, a travel allowance could enable the lecturer to visit the site?

Now focussing on the second learning outcome: Be familiar with the equipment, tools and processes involved in the workshop, we have the activity of 'Workshop safety tutorial'.
Moodle really is a great tool. Students can access the lectures, handouts and directives through a computer any place any time - provided they have a decent internet connection. However, the necessary interaction with tools and materials in the sculpture course can't be substituted with a completely digital experience (at this stage) so workshop sessions are timetabled.
Our workshop technician who is also the school's Health and Safety officer takes the students for a morning in which they learn about tools, machines, safety gear and protocols in the workshop. At the end of this, the student is acknowledged as having workshop competency or a 'machine licence'.

Assessment criteria for this being: Student demonstrates using tools and machines safely. This could be observed at any stage in the duration of the sculpture project. The sooner the student demonstrates workshop competency, the sooner they are allowed access to the school's workshop unsupervised. 
The current method for delivering the workshops and assessing student's abilities is working well. As I'm aware we have excellent safety standards and a very low incident rate (touch wood).
Students are always extending their skill base in the workshop as they are encouraged to try new things.