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Group work at OCA - The Open College of the Arts
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Group work at OCA

OCA is investing in delivering more group work sessions to help connect students and share our learning. 

Group work describes a number of ways in which students can get together in the same virtual space to join in with a focal activity. For example, through online seminars in which we discuss a common theme or as a critique to share progress and feedback. Group work currently takes place as online video based discussions, as a dialogue on the forums, or as a webinar, which is somewhere between the two. Photography has been running all of these options: https://www.oca.ac.uk/weareoca/photography/bahons-photography-programme-trialling-online-group-work/

There have always been some opportunities for OCA students to meet. Either through study events, via OCA forums, or in smaller group work pilots. Student feedback has always highlighted the benefits of connecting with fellow students. It has helped build ‘momentum’, provide ‘an audience for my work’, provides ‘fresh inputs’, ‘helped boost my confidence’, provided ‘feedback, insight and inspiration’ and helped ‘connect and feel inspired by other students’. Group work can also help reduce the sense of isolation that distance learning can bring.

Based on student feedback, OCA has committed to introduce group work as a core teaching element by 2020-21. We envisage that all undergraduate students can expect access at least one session per course unit or annually, and group work will be offered in addition to existing one-to-one tuition. We are excited by its potential and looking forward to developing group-based learning across the college with your help. During the 2019-20 academic year we will be testing out different approaches to group-work, and trying to understand any hurdles and the benefits of this model of learning.

So far, group work sessions have run within degree programmes, to allow students from different course units or levels to work together. For example, Creative Writing piloted an online Book Club that allowed students at different levels to discuss a common text (https://www.oca.ac.uk/weareoca/creative-writing/join-the-new-oca-book-group-2/) or to focus on common issues, such as a series of Critical Thinking workshops for Textiles: https://www.oca.ac.uk/weareoca/textiles/critical-thinking-skills-workshops-for-textiles-students/

We hope to establish a similar model for our Foundation students. In the meantime, if you are a Foundation student interested in talking to degree level students, I’m sure there’ll be some room in the pilot sessions on offer. 

Over the coming months we will be rolling out regular group work sessions across all of our degree programmes. These will be be communicated to you via #weareoca and email. If you would like to make suggestions about what kinds of group work you would like to see, how we can develop the model, or to offer feedback on your experience of group work please get in touch with your Programme Leader.

Music will be holding a monthly online group session covering a range of themes and topics:

As always, we are interested to hear what students have to say, so please add your voice to #weareoca through the comments, or perhaps you would like to share your own group work experiences, in which case email blog@oca.ac.uk.

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Posted by author: Christian Lloyd
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4 thoughts on “Group work at OCA

  • The Critical Thinking workshops introduced here is exactly what I need. I hope similar group work sessions would be held again. Glad that some of these sessions are available also for Foundations students. Time difference could be a hurdle for international students, like me from Japan, but we may just have to accept that as you can not consider all the different time zones around the globe!

  • Pls could you list URLs of all ‘Group Work’ pages, by department?

    JG, Foundations Drawing for Textiles.

    • Hi Jennifer, we have now reorganised the department spaces on OCA Learn to include Foundation students, so if you visit the Textiles Department you will be able to see all textiles related group sessions, which you might want to join.

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