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Notes on the winter digital assessment for Creative Arts – A programme leader’s perspective - The Open College of the Arts
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Notes on the winter digital assessment for Creative Arts – A programme leader’s perspective thumb

Notes on the winter digital assessment for Creative Arts – A programme leader’s perspective

This second digital assessment event for creative arts followed up on all the successes achieved in running the summer assessment online whilst allowing room to progress. I was keen to gain further insight into the approaches CA students take to developing their work and understand more about their learning journeys. 

The creative arts programme is demanding in the way it asks students to choose and develop their skills and knowledge across multiple disciplines, which gives our students a unique creative perspective. I’m always keen to see what the student’s expectations are and where their creative journey might take them. The evaluation statements we have asked all students to complete as part of their portfolio are vital. This has allowed students to present thoughts on their work and place them in a context, essential for understanding their perspectives.

We had twenty-seven students submit for the November assessment across all levels. It was great to see students submit work across many different disciplines on offer at the OCA, including Visual Studies, Graphic Design, Painting, Creative Writing, Illustration, Sculpture, Photography, Printmaking and Music. I can see students engaging more and more across their chosen disciplines as they form creative links that give their coursework a distinct edge, examples of which I have shown below.

How we assess across disciplines and check that the level of achievement is consistent for both visual and non-visual studies is vital. We work incredibly hard to verify that the standard of work meets the unit’s assessment criteria. All submitted work is firstly assessed by a member of the creative arts assessment team. Then all assessed submissions are moderated by additional team members after the first assessors have finished. I meet with the assessment team and moderators online throughout the assessment event to discuss the submissions and work through any queries with all relevant assessors. The process does take time but is rewarding when we know we have double-checked all marks and ensured consistency for the whole event.

I’m always warmed to see students’ achievements, working at a distance, balancing life-work commitments is hugely demanding; still, creative arts students rise to the challenge of presenting their unique creative voice. I’m looking forward to seeing more creative arts students perspectives as we continue to evolve the assessment process.

Here are some highlights of students’ work from the winter assessment; thank you to all students who have agreed to showcase examples of their learning here and are well done.


Maria Almallah Unit: Creative Arts Today; extract from evaluation statement

Blog: https://mareosophydesigns.wordpress.com

Overall, the journey has been an exciting and fulfilling challenge to undertake. There was so much to learn and discover in each discipline. The tutor’s feedback has helped tremendously as it provided lessons to learn and reflect upon when it comes to developing writing and evaluative skills. Nevertheless, there will be an independent research that will keep on extending in such themes as time and place in textile and photography. Finally, the knowledge gained in each discipline has enhanced the perception, experience, and creativity of what makes it considered “art” in the world of art.  


Rhys Williams Unit: Graphic Design 1; design for project Layout Magazines and Books

Blog: www.rhysoca.com 


Myles Crowder Unit: Sculpture 1 Starting out in 3D; examples from developing sculpture and imagination



Vivian Spry Unit: Illustration 1 Key Steps; selection from project – Packaging 

Blog: https://vivspryspathwaytocreativeart.wordpress.com/


Catherine Munro Unit: Writing 2 Writing Short Fiction; extract from course evaluation

Blog: https://katespainting2.wordpress.com/

Through reading of primary texts, I came upon the concept of the short story cycle. Many of these linked stories harness memories as a means of exploring the life of a community. I focused on one example of the short story cycle, Its Colours They Are Fine by Alan Spence, for the Creative Reading Commentary. This was an opportunity to explore options for a more developed interdisciplinary project involving writing and painting. Alongside this, two of the stories submitted for coursework; The Kissing Gate, in Part 2 of the course, and Invisible Mending in Part 5, offered the chance to experiment with stories linked by family memories and geography.


All images and text are courtesy of:

Maria Almallah https://mareosophydesigns.wordpress.com

Rhys Williams www.rhysoca.com 

Myles Crowder www.mylescrowder.art

Vivian Spry https://vivspryspathwaytocreativeart.wordpress.com/

Catherine Munro https://katespainting2.wordpress.com/

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Posted by author: Doug Burton
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