Evaluating online assessment practice in art and design

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Online learning is a constantly evolving area and, as a result, methods of assessing student learning are constantly being developed and improved. This is particularly true for online learning in art and design. There is currently little literature on online pedagogical approaches that are specific to the visual arts, and because of the unique nature of this area, current online learning theory and assessment (which is often based on less visual disciplines) is not always entirely appropriate. COFA Online, an academic unit at UNSW’s College of Fine Arts, was established in 2003 to train academic staff and industry professionals in writing wholly online undergraduate and postgraduate courses in disciplines related to art and design, and to develop online pedagogical approaches specific to art and design. Assessment is a vital component of these new online approaches. How can disciplines traditionally taught in a face-to-face studio environment be effectively taught and assessed in a fully online environment? This case study explores this question in relation to a typical COFA Online course, attempting to identify successful assessment practices in online art and design education, highlighting areas of online assessment strategy that require further refinement, and gauging the impact on the quality of student learning. The study also demonstrates how a systematic approach to the evaluation of teaching and course design can form part of a cycle of continual improvement in these areas.
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McIntyre, Simon
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