Digital Present: Innovation and MOOCs

Open University Vice-Chancellor, Martin Bean

A 7% student completion rate suggests that there is much to learn about the world of massive open online courses (MOOCs). Course providers, and students, are currently exploring how to engage with these new learning environments. So, to realise the potential of MOOCs it seems essential to foster a sharing relationship between all participants – together becoming a vibrant learning community. Continue reading

Skype at CSM: staff survey feedback

CSM MIT collaborative workshop using Skype

Historically Central Saint Martins has had a tricky relationship with Skype. For a number of years, and for a number of reasons, Skype services were not accessible through the university’s network. Whilst one argument maintained that the university’s ‘digital experience’ provision was less than staff and students would expect when outside of the institution, a counter claim was that Skype used excessive bandwidth and posed potential security issues for the university network as a whole. Both points were valid, and the situation highlights the complex issues faced by institutions worldwide when dealing with the rapid advancement of digital systems.

Today, however, as highlighted in the recent CSM Social Media and Digital Tools survey, there is a marked increase in the number of staff using Skype as part of their university life. Continue reading

Smartphone: intimate, incidental, and indispensible

FaceTime on the 76 bus to Kings Cross

Personal mobile devices provide immediate location independent access to information, and are used as powerful creative tools by arts and design students at Central Saint Martins. The relationships that they have with their smartphones are evolving and multifaceted, yet at the same time students often perceive this mobile device as a mundane object, failing to acknowledge the many roles it plays in their lives. Smartphones are central to the ways in which many students are navigating their daily experience, eg waking up to the Marimba ringtone, international video-conferencing on the bus, and using any number of mobile apps to consider physical space. The smartphone appears to be an endlessly pliable technology that has glided into, and altered, our social and cultural processes. Continue reading

facebook and blogs: staff survey feedback 2012

MA Character Animation student, Jiamin Liu, missbowtie.com

The recently published article featuring CSM’s Birgitta Hosea and her Expanded Animation blog highlights the many roles blogs can serve, and how they can evolve. This post provides more general insights about staff engagement with blogs and facebook.

The fact that colleagues are using facebook and blogs in multiple ways shone through in the recent survey exploring staff engagement with digital tools and social media across the College; 28% of staff use blogs as part of their College role, and 33% are using facebook. There is much overlap in the ways that both services are used, eg course promotion and keeping in touch with alumni, with several departments adopting the tools, such as individual courses, the library and marketing. Continue reading

Digital literacy: presence literacy and ethics literacy?

CSM learning spaces

Insights emerging from the current exploration of ways in which students at CSM use personal digital devices as part of their daily ‘living and learning’ are already challenging prevailing assumptions, as well as informing discussions around what digital literacy means within an arts and design institution. Continue reading

Expectations and assumptions: relationships with personal technologies

Appendage, accessory or extension

Some interesting themes emerged during a recent student workshop where research questions about our individual relationships with digital technologies were developed, and research insights shared. Continue reading

Vibration: expression of human-material-digital systems

Everyday urban object

Over a third of humanity has access to mobile communications. Mobile phones are mainstream – visibly part of the cultural realm. Whilst connectivity is commonplace and expanding, inquiry into the place of these personal digital devices in cultural transformation, and in arts and design education, is in its early stage. At CSM we have already seen incremental shifts in some of the ways in which our students are using personal digital technologies and social media as part of their studies, and their use of these technologies will continue to change.

In order to gain insights about today’s relationships between people, digital technologies, and materials – within an art and design context – and to prepare ourselves for possible futures, it is worth exploring different ways of framing these associations. Continue reading

BA Textile Design: nomadic and connected learners

social media at the loom

As part of an ongoing study into the ways in which personal digital devices are used by CSM students within their daily ‘living and learning’, a cohort of BA Textile Design students shared their experiences. This article acts as a pithy interpretation of the data, and pulls out some insights for further investigation. Continue reading

Smartphone: seducer, slave or spy?

Intimate connection – smartphone interaction

When we think about our relationships with technology, we might take a metaphorical perspective. Maybe, as personal smartphones become more and more entwined in the ways in which we experience the world, we should explore framings of our relationships with these intimate devices. Continue reading

Personal digital devices: researching learning

Students working in College using personal digital devices

As part of an ongoing study with CSM students about ways in which they use personal digital devices within their daily ‘living and learning’, a cohort of postgraduate students completed an online questionnaire at the first stage of their research. This article acts as a fleeting interpretation of the data, and pulls out some insights for further exploration. Continue reading