University of the Arts London
Annual Course Monitoring Report 2006 / 2007
Course BA Criticism, Communication and Curation
College Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design
School School of Fashion and Textile Design
Intake date October 2006
Duration of Programme/Course Three years full-time
Course Director Caroline Dakers
Brief Evaluative Report
a) Course Monitoring Logs (Development Plan) ?
b) Responses to external examiner reports ?
c) Course Statistics ?
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The third year of this new course (the first BA degree to be frameworked in CSM) culminated in the first degree show put on by the cohort of final year students. Their degree results and the success of the show – a considerable challenge given the humanities nature of the course – reflected hard work by staff and students; also a standard on which to build future years. The External Examiner was impressed by the level of the final year work (see report), the demands of a long dissertation and the professional presentations given to the staff panel.
During 2006-7 permanent staff were appointed (Alison Green 0.5 and Roger Sabin 0.4) both with strong academic and research profiles. Also the new
ndaccommodation on the 2 floor at Back Hill provided a much better base for teaching, enough space for all years to attend special lectures, and the
possibility of a mix of seminar and discussion groups.
However, the Back Hill location continues, in other ways, to be problematic, both in terms of administrative support and in preparing a degree show (technical support and publicity, see issues). With three full years on the BA and a final year cohort three times bigger than 2006-7, it is anticipated the 2008 degree show will be very demanding indeed.
With 3 years of students on course, the assessment burden became apparent to the staff, in particular the imbalance between teaching resources and assessment, also the expectation by students that they would receive work back as soon as possible with appropriate written feedback. Minor amendments were submitted to the college with reductions in assessment and simplified learning outcomes but only a small number of changes were permitted (and only at appeal). This was disappointing, particularly given university-wide discussion of new assessment approaches, new ideas being developed in CTLAD
courses (which 2 CCC staff have/are taking) and a special staff development session for BA CCC with CLTAD. There needs to be greater flexibility in
making changes to courses, particularly new ones, following national and university initiatives (see issue and priority).
The balance on the course between breadth and depth continues to be a challenge, although 1st year responses (survey) suggest there is improvement here (see issues). As particular units are repeated and developed it is clearer to staff how much explanation is required, in particular the links stndbetween subjects and between units. In 2007-8 the final year students will be encouraged to attend 1 and 2 year classes which relate to their dissertations and London projects. Final year tutors are all involved in teaching earlier years thus creating greater stability and academic coherence. Through the increasing number of internships and placements, also the successful employment of the first graduates, it is apparent the course is stproviding students with a range of skills and knowledge appropriate for 21 century employers.
The Course Director has been awarded a sabbatical for the spring term by UAL. Provision is being made to cover her absence in order to minimize the impact on the students as much as possible.
stnd? Academic level of applicants higher year on year. Students ? 3 cases of plagiarism (1 and 2 years) cause for concern, Turnitin coming for interview had read up on the course, more focused on used by staff team, but also need for clearer briefing. Misuse of why it was the „right‟ course as opposed to more conventional art Internet usual problem. (SPA) history type degrees (SPA) ? Impact of personal, financial, medical problems on small number of ? Course dynamics enhanced by large number of European and students in all years. This affects attendance (disrupting the year) International students with strong language levels, also first Study and eventually academic progression (which students need to be
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Abroad student from US (3 intending to join in 2007-8) (Student aware of). 2 final year students unable to complete degree
feedback) (SPA) examinations and 2 deferred. Raises need for learning support in
? Good progression from Stage 1 and 2 (SPA) college to be resolved. Teaching staff not always best qualified to st? 11 graduated with appropriate spread of results (2x 1, 3 x 2.1, 5 give support (Student feedback) (SSG/SPA)
x 2.2, 1 x 3) for academic profile of year. One dyslexic student ? Appropriate support required for course at Back Hill, in general but stachieved 1 for dissertation. 2 achieved 1sts in all final year units particularly for degree show (technical, admin and publicity) (SPA) (LR/QME) ? Information about graduates is positive. At least 3 intend to take ? More communication still required between staff and students on MAs (Sweden, Rome), one is taking a PgCert at Brighton, 1 content and context of elements of the course (student feedback) gained full-time employment with an architectural practice in (TLA, SPG). Introduction of new small seminars, more time given to Hatton Garden, another with Bristol City Council and a third as essay and project guidance, should improve this. Staff development assistant director to an online ethical fashion company (SPA). applied for to work on Blackboard handbook. Introduction of new ? Quality guest speakers and visits. Some leading directly to quality stintroduction to history of art/architecture for 1 years (TLA/SSG) placements and work experience (eg Financial Times, Leighton
House Museum, National Trust, V&A, Fine Art Recruiting ? Collaborative projects still present problems as other courses not as
Consultancy) (Student feedback) (TLA, SPA) committed and have no resources to collaborate with CCC. Different ? Two small student curated exhibitions put on in Back Hill, one with ways of collaborating to be explored, including putting on annual financial support from French Institute. Invaluable experience for exhibition at Back Hill out of unit 6 work, further discussions with students (and staff involved)(SPA) Byam Shaw (student feedback) (TLA, CDCO) ? Successful first degree show ? Difficulties in adjusting aspects of this new course (and first to be ? Above average results in UAL student survey from stage 1. frameworked) through the minor amendments process; sometimes ? Permanent staff appointed (LR) conflicts with UAL/CLTAD advice on assessment (QME) ? New accommodation completed at Back Hill (LR)
Specific feedback on progress of The Year of Enhancing the
? New guest speaker programme
? The course accommodation after the building works over the
summer has made a very beneficial difference to the learning
environment with enhanced IT resource and social space.
Priorities for Action:
? As this is only in its 4th year, BA CCC will continue to review the appropriateness of its learning outcomes and number of assessments QME
? Initiate annual show/ exhibition to be curated by CCC students + greater presence in Back Hill (using corridors etc) – possibly from Unit 6 and
collaboration with Menswear (SPA). Also clarify point of and appropriate technical support for a degree show for BA CCC (LR)
? Monitor success of new small-seminar groups in all years through 2007-8 (CDCO, TLA).
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? Monitor attendance more closely (SSG)
? Achieve turnaround on written work of 2 weeks in stages 1 and 2 with appropriate written feedback (TLA). ? Monitor piloting of reader packs for all students (CDCO, TLA).
? Closer liaison with Library and Learning Resources re. use of Blackboard, materials specifically for BA CCC. Discussions have already taken place
with the new LLR rep for BA CCC and making Blackboard as relevant as possible for the course; also plan special talks/workshops by the
LLR rep at different levels for each year of the students. (TLA, LR)
? Staff development applied for to produce better communication materials for staff and students eg. handbooks/ guides for students on particular
aspects of the course and London (TLA, SSG).
? Revisit need for course website and promotional materials (SPA)
? Investigate development of postgraduate teaching (MA and/or MPhil/PhD) using expanded staff team (CDCO) ? Staff and students to engage in playing active role in Kings Cross planning (LR/QME)
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Response to External Examiner: Academic session: 2006/2007
Course title: BA (Honours) Criticism, Communication and School/College: School of Fashion and Textile Design Curation: Arts and Design Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design
External Examiner: Tony Godfrey
“It has been a pleasure to work with the CCC team…This is an innovative programme and the team are approaching it in a creative way.”
Issue (section 2) Response
“The range of subjects though exhilarating made it more difficult than This year there were a high number of extenuating circumstances dealt with by the normal to make comparisons but the assessment seemed in all Examination Board. In future the new procedures put in place by the University will allow
respects thorough and fair. Internal marking was thorough and for extenuating circumstances to be dealt with in a less time consuming way. considerate. Internal moderation was clear. The examination board was
a well run and properly conducted event.
There has been more than sufficient allowance made for special or
Issue (section 3) Response
“This was an unusual year with a high number of special circumstance The External Examiner notes the unusual cohort – the first from this new degree – very students – this makes it hard to compare with other programmes but all small number – high proportion with special circumstances (dyslexia, learning difficulties
students who managed to complete showed enthusiasm and etc) – and unable to „bond‟ but he also confirms „student performance‟ reveals
commitment and often a degree of initiative. weaknesses seen elsewhere in comparable BA degrees (including overuse of the
Internet, poor proof reading)
But nevertheless the best dissertations and other assessed work were The course is multi and inter-disciplinary, making considerable demands on the students, excellent, the middling comparable with elsewhere. If commitment and particularly during the final – largely independent – year of study. The high achievement initiative were particular strengths and perhaps above all else a of some of the first cohort is evidence that the course provides the appropriate support in
willingness to take on unexpected subjects and deal with them in an terms of knowledge and skills.
imaginative way the weaknesses were ones that one sees elsewhere: The team recognised that some of the weaker students were over-reliant on the internet and were not able to present their dissertations in as professional a manner as might be expected. a. Over-use of the internet as a source; lack of awareness that the The following cohort (graduating 2008) were given additional support in the summer term of
their second year with further written guidance and special lectures on approaches to internet is peppered with non-peer assessed texts. research. Smaller group tutorials in the final year (2007-8) have also been planned to b. The quality of presentation was poor – one wished for many reinforce research methods, the dangers of the internet etcmore illustrations in several dissertations – with internet and
scanning this is not now an expensive or difficult thing to do. As
one expects these students to be potentially involved in
publishing this was disappointing.
c. Over reliance on spell check and lack of proof reading”
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Issue (section 4) Response “My only major concern would be that the final mark is wholly based on It is not custom but the regulations governing this particular unitised staged award (Cert the final year: with a course that is so complex and intensive some HE, Dip HE, BA (Hons) that do not allow marks from Stage Two to be carried forward to
distribution of marks to the second year would be appropriate – the final degree. however this is not your Institute’s custom!
My discussions with the programme team through the year centred on
the balance of oral and written assessments.
As I mentioned earlier I would be open to some of the final dissertations The idea of allowing final dissertations to be more in the form of exhibition catalogues is
being more in the form of exhibition catalogues – even to the extent of welcomed, however the course team feels the London project (Unit 14) is the appropriate being a hypothetical or staged exhibition. place for such outcomes. It is an important aspect of the course that it combines more
conventional humanities demands (a long dissertation) with work related closely to „real‟ Some consideration could also be given to having students doing their outcomes and the actual creative industries. Involving the student body in the oral presentations in front of the student body as a whole – rather than presentations is a proposal the course team will be discussing before the 2008 the rather artificial situation of the exam board alone.” examinations.
Issue (section 5) Response “This was a year that clearly did not bond – this was apparent on my The course team are always trying to create further links with other students at CSM meeting with them. Much of what they asked for in their discussion with although the unitized programme and resourcing process makes this difficult.
me was in fact already available.
What would have enhanced their experience most would have been if
they had worked together as a group or set of groups more.
One would like to see more connections made to students on other
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HE Evaluative Report Academic session 2006-7
Course title School/college School of Fashion & Textiles Cultural Studies for BA Fashion, Textile & Jewellery Design Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design And Electives for BA CCC
The cultural studies programme is currently offered to BA Fashion, Textile and Jewellery Design in stage 1, 2 and final year. Over the past year the cultural studies programme has developed considerably, as the programme adjusted to the demands of the credit framework. In 2006-7 the new PPD unit ran for the second year in stage 1 and the cross-college electives programme was successfully launched for stage 2.
Improvements were made to the dissertation programme and the dissertation research project was enhanced as a stand-alone unit. Unitisation has simplified the programme, enables better communication with students and offers them more transparency about assessment processes.
Refurbishment of the cultural studies area in the Red Lion Square building has eased the management of students in terms of handling large numbers of queries and tutorials. Further improvement of administrative structures and adoption of new technologies has improved
communication with students and course teams. Cultural Studies had a new external examiner this year, Alice Beard (Kingston University) along with the existing examiner Paul Caffrey (NCAD, Dublin). A new 0.4 lecturer, Jonathan Faiers was appointed to the programme.
? Final year dissertation results this year were good with 21 firsts ? Lack of focused and explicit learning support for HE students in the
across the School, 19 in Fashion and 2 in Textile Design. There college. (TLA/SSG)
were 91 in the 2.1 category and 93 in the 2.2 category. 33 rdstudents across the School gained a 3 in the dissertation. ? Over-dependence upon associate lecturers to deliver the programme
External Examiners commented on the interesting range of makes it difficult to develop a sustainable programme and a coherent
subjects and were encouraged to find creativity and originality learning and teaching strategy. (TLA/LR)
rewarded in the feedback. (SPA)
? A continued pattern where fewer students from Textile Design gain a
? The cultural studies programme is interdisciplinary, which offers first in the dissertation. (TLA/SPA)
students various approaches to the study of art, design and
popular culture, of value to their general education and enhances ? Unit 4 is currently delivered through a seminar programme, which
their degree discipline. (CDCO/TLA) raises issues of parity of experience, and demands students specialise
too early. The first year programme could benefit from some revision to
? The current relationship between research and teaching on the introduce a broader introduction to cultural studies as a discipline to
programme is strong as most of staff are research-active and demonstrate the range of skills it can offer students in the School.
many involved with the FMCB research centre. (LR) (CDCO/TLA)
? Cultural studies continues to develop the use of Blackboard to ? Whilst the use of Blackboard can potentially enhance student learning,
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enhance student learning. (TLA/SSG) there are issues with service levels, especially in relation to student
access. (SSG/LR) ? Higher essay submission rates and improved results on all units.
? Increased transparency for students about learning, teaching and
? The extended dissertation offers some students the opportunity
to do more in-depth research in cultural studies. (TLA)
? The refurbishment of cultural studies space and updating of AV thfacilities in 7 floor teaching rooms (RLS) provides a much-
improved learning environment.(LR)
? A number of cultural studies staff gained the PG Cert qualification
through CLTAD. (TLA/QME)
? A successful bid was made to the CLIP CETL „Make a Difference
Scheme‟ in collaboration with cultural studies at London College
of Fashion exploring international students‟ experience of cultural
studies in an art and design context. (TLA/QME)
Priorities for Action:
? Develop a new approach to unit 4, which offers students access to a range of concepts, research methods and objects/images through a
lecture/seminar programme. Lectures introduce a range of perspectives to the study of culture, and small seminar groups offer learning
support embedded in the programme. (CDCO/TLA)
? Address the specific experience of international students through an integrated learning programme working more closely with the Language
? Consult students in Textile and Jewellery Design on learning on the dissertation through a proposed small action research project using
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Responses to External Examiners (HE) Academic session
Course title School /college
Cultural Studies for BA Fashion, Textile and Jewellery Design School of Fashion and Textile Design, CSM
External Examiner Dr. Paul Caffrey
Specialism (if relevant) Design History
Response: Issues raised:
? “During my interim visit I got the sense that students would have ? Students have 3 one-to-one tutorials to prepare their dissertations, which
welcomed more tutorial help/interaction to prepare their is the standard in BA Art and Design courses. We may need to manage
dissertations.” student expectations in relation to this but what we currently offer is
comparable to similar courses nationally. ? “This year there was a surprising absence of inclusion of images ? There is more room for improvement in guiding students to focus on close
and other visual material in the dissertations. This affected the readings of images and objects in art and design to strengthen their
writing, which tended more to abstract theory than analysis of analytical skills. These kinds of skills are best nurtured from stage1 and
particular images, examples, case-studies.” carried through to final year. ? “International students form a high percentage of the student intake. ? The course team continue to voice concerns about the high number of
These students could benefit from more tutorial help and language international students and the quality of their language skills. To this end,
instruction.” we will be working more closely at stage 1 with the language centre. ? “There is a case that the academic resources for Jewellery and ? BA Fashion, Textile and Jewellery Design follow exactly the same
Textile Design could be increased, in order to redress the programme in cultural studies at all stages in their degree. The imbalance
imbalance I perceive existing between these two areas of study on of resources is a perception the course team would be interested in
one hand, and Fashion on the other.” exploring, but it is not based in fact.
External Examiner Alice Beard
Specialism (if relevant) Cultural History/Theory
Issues raised: Response:
? “I would liked to have seen more explicit acknowledgement and ? The course team require formal training on giving effective written
discussion of the range and use of sources (both primary and feedback against learning outcomes.
secondary) under the „Research‟ heading of the feedback form.”
? “At the [interim] meeting students expressed the desire for more ? Students have the standard 3 tutorials for a dissertation in a BA Art and
tutorials.” Design course, but the course team acknowledge the benefits of
workshops to target key areas of weakness in some students.
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? “Students were given a useful guide to formatting in the Harvard ? The college has just recently introduced the Harvard style as the standard
style, but in my sample referencing was often inconsistent and system and the course team make a style guide available to all students.
followed both author/date format and the footnoting system.” However, it will take time for both students and staff to become familiar
with the new system.
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