Example of Online Collaborative Practice and WebMaking and Curriculum Integration
Following on from the last 'Supporting Online Collaborative Practice and WebMaking' group meeting I was invited along to Wimbledon MFA Fine Art by Dr Edwina FitzPatrick Course Leader MFA Fine Art to see how they have successfully integrated webmaking into their course.
A web/online practice unit forms a sizable 30% chunk of the students final grade, instead of the conventional portfolio submission at the end of the course the students are encouraged to experiment, organise & submit an online website web folio of their arts practice, this includes:
- Analysis of practice
- Recommendations (case studies)
- Reflection (What they have done)
- Contextual/research information
The students & course staff meet regularly to review progress and form discussion groups where the latest’s student web iterations can be critiqued and experiences of web building can be shared.
The ready made out the box web making tools seem to be the way students wish to get online, its quick & easy and not all students want to get their hands under the bonnet and mess with code & servers.
We had an interesting conversation about what happens if these 'out the box web' web making companies change their pricing structures or they no longer meet their requirements and we want to leave them. Students understood they might need to venture into independent web making territories at some point but will cross this bridge in the future once their careers more developed.
The issue with this of course is all about how embedded or resident (see Dave White V&R work) you become in a commercial platform and still maintain an exit strategy e.g. you can move content but it’s a lot trickier to move your networks & communities you have worked hard to establish over the years.
It was great to hear how the students were addressing their bio, arts statement and contextual information and how presenting this info online presented new challenges in terms of the viewer and the personal and private, having your own voice or talking in the 3rd person. There’s a lot of support & guidance for this and some of the useful links and resources (Using writing to help define and further your art practice) and lots of resources seen here 'Using writing for your practice'.
Some of the other web making topics discussed in the group was:
- Do we need social media? Some students are not keen on adding social media links to their websites, maybe because these channels are mostly seen as personal domains and the value of using social media professionally is not apparent.
- Fancy stuff: Some students were interested in embedding Flash objects but others see Flash as a bit old school and were looking for alternatives such as Html5.
- Images: Remember to provide as much context within your images as possible, e.g. if an installation or gallery shot, get some idea of the space & scale in the image, include info about the dimensions/scale of your work.
- Visibility: How to get visibility on Google, plenty of text, keywords are important, pick a good domain name and adding lots of useful links pointing to & from your site.
- Clear text: not too much text, mix with images see http://www.hemingwayapp.com/ for help with your writing.