Online learning at Camberwell Chelsea & Wimbledon Colleges of Art (CCW)
Whether we like it or not Google is arguably the first port of call for finding stuff on the web. There’s an expectation that what we want will be easily found online, but how often do we question the Google created selective process and how savvy are we at making things online visible?
So what’s the point of a VLE ‘Virtual Learning Environment’?
The VLE helps us to curate and bundle online information all in one place and for specific groups. Tools like UAL’s MOODLE do a good job of helping staff and students get the key information they need for their course. MOODLE is a relatively new tool at UAL so it’ll keep being developed and improved as it gets integrated in L&T. The key course information shared on the VLE does not need to be openly published online, so a private UAL only login is required.
So what about the blogs and e-portfolios?
The VLE is not just MOODLE at UAL, it also includes other UAL tools Myblog.arts and Workflow. These tools can be made open to the world or closed to specific groups that allow staff and students to safely set up an in-house’ course related blog or e-portfolio ‘to explore online practice within the context of UAL.
Feedback from students is positive and the blogs and e-portfolio sites are used well in courses. However there are some issues and discussions around whether UAL should be preparing students in the development of a more independent approach to creating an online presence. Many of the UAL sites are restrictive given the vast array of tools available on the web, if UAL sites are used students find it difficult to take these sites away with them when leaving college. See Online identities projects at UAL for more information about current debate.
What if you want to ‘do it yourself’ DIY online environments for L&T?
Although MOODLE does a great job of providing a single space to share all the key course information it’s not really online learning, often we need to point/link from MOODLE to some more dynamic online learning environment. Some staff and students will push the boundaries of the university offer, but for many it’s either not enough or doesn’t meet their needs. As a result we naturally see lots of really interesting grassroots innovative online L&T practice being explored across the different colleges and courses, often sitting outside the UAL managed infrastructure.
There are plenty of ways to get online some easy and some not so easy, making an informed choice based on your long term needs could make a huge difference to how your online environment, life, presence and practice evolves over time. Read more about this here - Bring Your Own Environment BYOE.
How are face-to-face courses at UAL using a blended learning approach to support their learning?
Innovative use of new and emerging technologies and practice including social media, online networks, hangouts, online resources and open education etc. all contribute to the advancement of how traditional arts education is being developed.
Staff and students are continually creating and testing new forms of digitally enhanced teaching & learning practice from online group communication, collaboration, presentation and sharing. This is where many of the individual innovative approaches to online teaching & learning practices are happening across the colleges and courses. It could be seen as good practice from an independent learner perspective, less so for learners who are not suited or confident in these different learning approaches. lynda.arts.ac.uk/ was introduced to UAL a couple of years ago and has proved useful for digital learning although not so useful in terms of learning specific arts practices or the more making/process aspects arts practice.
From a staff/course perspective it can mean extra work and pressure as they take on sole responsibility to develop, maintain and manage their own bespoke VLE. It can also present a huge burden or problem if the initiator/sponsor leaves or is unable to provide continued support. How do we better support blended learning at CCW for staff and students?
Fully online Courses at CCW
Why are there no fully online courses at CCW?
Lots of universities and colleges offer fully online courses but the teaching and learning experiences of an arts course is fundamentally different from the more ‘chalk and board’ style courses found online. This doesn’t mean it shouldn’t or couldn’t be done; there are huge opportunities for CCW and UAL to explore online learning in all its forms and for all subjects.
A great example of an online course can be seen in the MA in Fine Art Digital at Camberwell College of the Arts, the course is offered both as a studio based course and an online course
“I don’t think digital is a medium, instead I think it’s a language which crosses mediums, creates new spaces and opportunities for artistic practice to happen”
Jonathan Kearney - Course Director
CCW Short Courses are also exploring fully online courses see here.
Open Education (Free Education)
UAL has been involved in the Open Education movement for some years. Open education and open educational practice include individuals, groups and institutions that share personal and professional practice & knowledge openly online through participatory blogs and online community networks.
Content (OERs open educational resources) are mostly unrestricted to access and freely downloadable for use and reuse, content is openly licensed using creative commons or similar. See some of the open education projects at UAL here.
Although there are no current plans for offering a UAL MOOC, it’s slowly becoming a familiar term among staff and students at UAL. The MOOC (Massive Open online Courses) originated in Canada in 2008, where courses were offered for free online attracting an unexpected demand of over 160,000 students. Here audio about ‘A True History of the MOOC’.
Since then MOOCs have made international headlines and many leading universities in the US such as MIT led the MOOC revolution by offering free courses in their top subjects. Others universities from all around the globe started to join large xMOOC providers such as edX and its UK equivalent futurelearn quickly followed.
To find out more about MOOCs see ‘What is a MOOC?’ Should UAL consider offering a MOOC?
If you'd like to get involved or share your experences plaese contact:
We’d like to find out how UAL staff and students at Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon College of Arts are using online learning in the arts practice.
How do you use the web for teaching and learning at UAL?
Please see a short overview below of what we know so far about CCW online teaching and learning practice, please help us build on this information by letting us know your perspectives on this e.g. information you’d like to add, amend or disagree with etc.
If you’d also like to be involved in projects to help develop your online teaching & learning practice please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
CCW Digital Learning Technologies Manager | @CCWDigital