Demystify courses, make teaching more explicit

What does the University of the Arts London need to do to improve further?

Some of my notes following the recent FE provision OFSTED report recommendations, the below are choice sections that support DIAL’s ongoing baseline full report can be viewed here – http://newsevents.arts.ac.uk/files/2012/03/OFSTEDreport2012.pdf

On a few courses, students commented that the poor attendance of some students had a detrimental impact on the progress of the whole group. (Could more flexible and open participation through improved digitally enhanced learning support this?) e.g. Make courses more explicit through use of digital, documentation and communication.

In less than good sessions tutors do not always plan learning explicitly or check that all students are involved and are making good progress. Tutors’ written feedback following assessment does not always provide sufficiently clear and specific detail for students to reflect on after their assessment tutorial. (Could more flexible and open participation through improved digitally enhanced learning support this?) e.g. Make courses more explicit through use of digital, documentation and communication.

Demystify courses, how do we make teaching more explicit.

The teaching as mystery metaphor as Brookfield, S. (1995) suggests: “If good or bad teaching are all a matter of chance then there is no point trying to do better. The teaching as mystery metaphor also closes down the possibility of teachers sharing knowledge, insights, and informal theories of practice since mystery is, by definition, incommunicable.”  Brookfield, S. 1995. The Getting of Wisdom: What Critically Reflective Teaching is and Why It’s Important. [online] (Last modified on: 2005-05-01 12) http://nlu.nl.edu/academics/cas/ace/facultypapers/StephenBrookfield_Wisdom.cfm [Accessed 12 February 2012].

Increase the proportion of outstanding teaching by routinely and regularly monitoring teaching and learning, ensuring that observation records are more evaluative and that feedback to individuals clearly identifies strengths and areas for improvement. Share existing good practice in teaching and learning more widely.

Continue to improve the quality of provision by ensuring that self-assessment and action planning for improvement are consistently thorough and rigorous across all the colleges.

What students would like to see improved:

  • the booking system for technical workshops to alleviate the delay caused by high demand for some specialist workshop equipment in 3D, printmaking and textiles
  • the consistent application of attendance expectations and policy to minimise the adverse effect on group dynamics of poor attendance by some students
  • more workshops at Central Saint Martins
  • better communications about what and where guest speakers are available.

Key findings

CSM key finding highlights best practice
Studios and display spaces are well appointed. Print, 3D and digital workshops, as well as some specialist textile facilities, are well managed and heavily used. At times of high demand, access to some of these is sometimes restricted. Regular displays of recent work by students in communal spaces enable students to share ideas and provide insight into the work of other specialist practice. Foundation students have access to the exceptional library and collections housed in the college’s striking new building at nearby King’s Cross.

Emphasis on evaluating and communicating ideas often leads to innovative solutions and confident command of the creative process. Students’ excellent reflective journals clearly demonstrate how their work and thinking develops over time.

CCW  key finding highlights best practice
Resources and specialist facilities are very good. Students benefit from additional lectures and activities beyond their usual timetabled sessions. Students make good use of high-quality resources and materials on the virtual learning environment to support work in progress, or if they miss lectures or activities. Students benefit from excellent technical and workshop support available to them during, and beyond, timetabled sessions. Tutors and technical support staff are very well qualified.

The university has managed the restructuring of the foundation course skilfully and tutors value the open and supportive approach to change. Tutors have benefited from new opportunities to work in more diverse teams and share best practice. Students have benefited from the richer learning environment, increased contact with specialist staff and from greater access to resources.

Resources and specialist facilities are very good. Students benefit from additional lectures and activities beyond their usual timetabled sessions. Students make good use of high-quality resources and materials on the virtual learning environment to support work in progress, or if they miss lectures or activities. Students benefit from excellent technical and workshop support available to them during, and beyond, timetabled sessions. Tutors and technical support staff are very well qualified.

 

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