Online learning: University of the Arts London workshop

Workflow grabAs we are well aware, due to a series of changes in technology, economics and the web, the global higher education landscape is shifting and impacting the ways in which students learn, how they engage with one another and with the University. In this complex world where much formal and informal learning is undertaken online and on the move, and with increasing interest at the University of the Arts London to provide solely online or blended learning provision, Jo Morrison (Digital Projects Director) and Darren Gray (Head of e-Learning) led a workshop to investigate online education. This article provides a quick background to distance education based upon the discussions that took place amongst the workshop participants, which in turn provided a base for the subsequent investigation. Continue reading

The Bigger Picture of Design

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Design practices do not exist in their own little bubbles. They exist in relation to the ‘bigger picture’ of the world we live in. To address the many cultural, social and environmental issues that designers must consider, CSM runs the collaborative ‘Bigger Picture’ project for second year students in the Autumn Term. Design students from Product, Graphics, Ceramics and Architecture work together, and use a blog to work towards a collective understanding of big issues.

In this article, Sarah Kante looks at what the Big Picture is for designers, as well as how blogs might mediate collaboration.

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Online learning: mutuality and desire

 

Copyright Svala Regnars, MA Photojournalism, LCC

Copyright Svala Regnars, MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography, LCC


I was struck by the comment of Sarah Kante, a recent UAL graduate, who explained, “What really is missing in an online learning environment are the creative physical environments, the people we meet, and of course, the technicians we all rely on so much.” Coincidentally, the previous evening I had read an interview with CSM technical specialist Billy Dickinson who, when asked about his biggest creative inspiration, replied “The students. It’s inspiring to be constantly surrounded by new ideas and be challenged to support them in finding different ways to realise their visions.”  Whilst not wishing to provide a schmaltzy article about an apparent love-in between students and technicians, I do want to highlight how important these reciprocal creative and respectful relationships are, and how vital they are to a successful and socially constructed art and design Higher Education (HE) experience.

Yes, the calibre and commitment of CSM’s technical staff is impressive; they are as good as it gets. But what I want to take for a wander in this post is the concept of mutuality – the active role of the social situation in the spatial context. However, the focus will be the virtual learning environment, i.e. the digital space, so I’m going to shift attention from the emotional creative relationships in the 3D workshop space, and ponder whether the form of social solidarity that Sarah and Billy expressed can be fostered and sustained in an online art and design learning environment. Continue reading

Exploring online learning for art and design

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As we are well aware, digital technologies have impacted massively upon the ways in which students learn, and how they engage with one another and with the University. The learning landscape is morphing, and technologies are playing an instrumental part, e.g. the rapid expansion of online learning provision through MOOCs, the phenomenal use of YouTube as an informal learning platform, Google’s new Helpout offering, and an array of other online initiatives – all available across multiple personal devices.

In this turbulent world where much formal and informal learning is undertaken online, Sarah Kante takes a swift look at MOOCs, e-learning, and ponders: what is a good online learning experience, and how can it be applied to art and design courses?

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Digital literacy: alternative virtual learning environments

Workflow e-portfolio digital environment

Workflow e-portfolio digital environment

In order to continue the exploration of digital literacy within an art and design HE setting, this post focuses on online distance learning. In particular it mulls over alternative perspectives and seeks fresh ‘ways-in’ that may help to adjust our collective e-Learning spectacles.  As such, it is hoped that a stroll around virtual learning environments (VLEs), and alternative online environments, will prove useful. Desire and virtual communities are the conceptual areas framing this swift adventure. So, one question might be ‘are there valuable insights to be gleaned from alternative virtual spaces that could influence the ways we provide for students online at Central Saint Martins?’ Continue reading

MOOCs: Daphne Koller of Coursera shares insights

Grab from Coursera site

“2012 was the year of the MOOC” claimed Coursera co-founder and Professor of Computing at Stanford Universtiy, Daphne Koller. This week at BETT she shared an avalanche of stats about massive open online courses (MOOCs), and provided insights into the Coursera platform specifically.

As of 29th January two and a half million people had signed-up to take one of Coursera’s 215 courses; 28% of the student body is from Europe and 35% from North America. Continue reading