Notes on summer digital assessment – A tutor/assessor’s perspective
Assessment can be a nervous time for many, whether it’s your first course unit or final degree qualification, the summative grading of your hard work underpins progress made and future direction, forming key milestones in your studies. This summer’s assessment was the first fully digital event at OCA, as students and tutors had to adapt during the height of the covid pandemic.
From an assessor perspective, assessment events offer great insight into student journeys and the wider picture of a degree programme. The recent summer event was a good example of the diverse and multidisciplinary practices OCA students undertake. For example, Creative Arts degree students presented some complex ideas and outcomes through a variety of processes, often fruitfully combining their two distinct pathway disciplines; creative writers developing Illustration skills, printmakers employing photographic techniques, sculptors making objects for moving image work, etc.
Combining areas of study can create some rewarding portfolios where students evidence a wide range of transferable and visual skills across disciplines and projects. Connections between disciplines are enhanced at Level 2 (HE5) and Level 3 (HE6), where students can become more independent and fluid between disciplines, often demonstrating an increasingly unique and personal visual language.
Students also present strong portfolios when focusing on a particular discipline, drilling down into the specifics of a medium and learning from the distinct qualities it offers. Many students undertaking painting and drawing course units come to mind here, where the confines of the disciplines offer a myriad of possibilities and a specialised conversation with the medium itself. Students also broadly explored the relationships between ideas and materials, presenting work wide in scope and progressively mapping their learning journey in inventive ways, often alternating between analogue and digital sketchbook processes.
A range of submissions this summer explored deeply personal contexts, and some students reflected on their practice in light of the covid pandemic with insight and perceptiveness. The assessment criteria for all courses generally covers skills, outcomes, creativity and context, and it is within the contextual ground where many students are becoming increasingly informed and aware. The need of context to place and position your work within the wider cultural sphere is increasingly important, and many students are developing a strong conversation with their work, actively asking questions and engaging in explorative processes.
Whichever area or level of study, it is worth seeing the boundaries between disciplines as widely blurred, much can be gained from exploring how diverging fields of study can support and develop new directions for your practice. This can be done in a range of ways, particularly through sharing your work on the VLE or Discuss forum, gleaning feedback and inspiration from students on other courses and degree pathways. The summer assessment event covered the work of students across all programmes and levels at OCA. Below I have included just a few highlights from the work I was fortunate to observe: