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Analysis of Learners and Context – Revision

October 18, 2007

Paper: Digital Literacy taught as part of the BFA Year 1 Core Programme which also includes papers in Drawing and Theory & History of Art.

The need for this paper has arisen out of a lack of continuity in digital skills in students as they rise through the BFA, and also a lack of understanding of the context and use of digital skills (i.e. literacy) in relation to an arts practice, no matter what the discipline. (i.e. sculpture, painting, photography, time-based media)

Learners are:

  • primarily straight from secondary education (80%?)
    QUESTION: What digital skills and understanding are they being taught in secondary schools in NZ?
  • may have come through from the Certificate in Creative Studies taught through the School of Design (Otago Polytechnic) (5%?)
    QUESTION: What digital skills and understanding are they being taught in the Certificate in Creative Studies?
  • may be ‘older’ students returning to study or studying for the first time (15%?)
    QUESTION: what digital skills and understanding, (if any?) do they have?

Our assumptions* at this stage are that:

  • Most students have used a computer for word processing using the Microsoft Office Suite and have used e-mail and the internet in some form for basic processes. (e.g. searching for things)
  • About 50% of students will have used Photoshop to some degree but that their understanding of the software is limited to what they may have been shown for a specific purpose, and that there lacks an overall understanding of its full potential.
  • About 50-60% of students will be under-confident with computers and software in general.
  • Only a small number of students will have computer and internet access at home. (We have seen that this increases as students rise through the BFA and where the computer becomes an important/essential tool for their arts practice)
  • Students coming from the Certificate of Creative Studies will have been taught to Level 4, and we need to extend this to a level 5 understanding. The will have been exposed to the following software: Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Microsoft Powerpoint, with an ability to design page layouts for various outcomes, incorporating manipulated images.

*assumptions are based on having taught the DC2-Digital Paper (Design Communication – Otago Polytechnic) in 2007 to Year 1 students in Fashion and Product Design. Also from an understanding from working with Year 3 and 4 students in the BFA. There ahas also been a group discussion with other lecturers at The School of Art about the need for this paper, and a discussion with the Co-ordinator of the Certificate of Creative studies and the lecturer who teaches the digital components of it.

Other important factors are:

  • ensuring that the paper runs in line with the Drawing Project component and the Theory & History of Art component of the Paper.
    • this paper (FA111001 Fine Arts Core Studies 1) is a Level 5, compulsory paper for 20 credits. This means there is a total learning time of 200 hours (100 taught hours, 100 self-directed)
    • however, this paper is made of three components of which Digital Literacy is only 1, making its component 33hours taught time, 33hours self-directed.
    • Core Studies 1 is then followed by Core Studies 2 in the first year of the BFA, and then Core Studies 3 + 4 in year 2 which are both level 6, compulsory papers and all are 20 credits as above.
  • GENERAL AIM AND RATIONALE (taken from the paper directive): “To provide students with:
    • a project-based study of the principles of studio experimentation and research in the fine arts
    • an introduction to the key historical moments, theories and artworks in the modernist era
    • an introduction to key methodologies in research and documentation
    • extended experience in the key methodologies of drawing, in particular drawings’ relationship with research
    • an introduction to The Treaty of Waitangi in relation to the visual arts
    • an introduction to the ways in which material and conceptual exploration may be integrated in the field of visual arts
    • an introduction to digital literacy in a range of digital programmes
  • the first six points have been applied to the paper in practice before, and i believe the last one, relating to digital literacy has simply been added recently during discussion about adding this component to the paper therefore I would like to add the following rationale, which are a breakdown of the above:
    • an understanding of fundamental principles and professional issues relating to digital literacy
    • an understanding of core hardware and software components and their potential application in the visual arts
    • an introduction to practical skills in image, sound and time-based digital media software with an understanding of their relationship to contemporary arts practice
  • LEARNING OUTCOMES:(taken from the paper directive): “At the completion of this paper students will be able to:
    • Think critically
    • demonstrate research skills in response to a brief
    • demonstrate an understanding of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and how they apply in an arts context
    • use a range of digital programmes and understand their relation to and usefulness for art and writing processes
    • select and use appropriate methodologies for studio and theoretical research
    • document studio work
    • document research
    • use the internet as a research tool
    • save, record and present information
    • use contemporary digital documentation practices
    • have gained experience in drawing the human figure, drawing from life in 2d and 3d
    • understand and be able to use perspective
    • make maquettes
    • practice reflectively
    • work co-operatively
    • communicate effectively
  • I have highlighted some of the more obvious Learning Outcomes above that relate to digital literacy but obviously they could all apply!
  • Again I believe that these are still open to change onthe paper directive and I may extend them as I develop the components of this paper, but at the moment I will start from these as a base to work from.

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