summary of course strengths and issues - Intranet - Ravensbourne

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Quality Team

Final Version January 2010



The following is compiled from the Annual Course Monitoring Reports 2008
2009 prepared
by Subject Leaders that will shortly be accessible on the College intranet. The reports
comprise commentary and data under twelve

headings, covering curriculum, assessment
and achievement, staffing matters, student feedback, quality and other areas, as well as
an overall summary. Strengths and issues are reported for each programme, alongside
references to the evidence sources for e
ach. The major sources are admissions and
results data, external examiner’s reports and qualitative data from student surveys and

BA (Hons) Animation

The policy of increased technical delivery throughout the last 3
4 years has manifested
itself in

BA students producing a high quality of work while successfully maintaining a
creative diversity of content. This year saw a smaller BA cohort graduate and there was
again a notable improvement in technical ability and content. It was also notably diverse

and complex in content. The completion of the group films again involved cross course
collaboration with broadcast and sound students. There still remained a feeling that there
were not sufficient computer resources despite encouraging the students to be
aware of
the open access policy of the College and to be aware of technical resources across the
College. Coupled with the failure of the render farm to be operational, despite this being
promised for the last 2 years, the students have felt particularly u
nder resourced and this
has sadly generated a resentful atmosphere amongst the students.

The use of blogs and journals for assessment purposes has been highlighted by our
External Examiner as a point of good practice, this is something that is being done

other institutions as commented upon in the Times Higher Education Supplement (02

October 2008 No. 1.865), we feel that this is an enhancement worth expanding. Similarly,
the planned adoption of Escape Studio’s VLE would be an innovative way to en
hance our
students’ abilities to learn independently; allowing them to view these learning resources
remotely will also hopefully allow students increased access to learning, helping to widen
participation. Unfortunately there was insufficient funding to d
eliver this training to all
students but the opportunities it offers at the present discount will be carefully monitored
this year in view of finding funding at a later date. We also intend to increase the amount of
inter level activities that we experimen
ted with last year, such as animation quizzes etc. to
foster a sense of inclusive collaboration on the course.


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Quality Team

Final Version January 2010


Increase in first and upper second class awards


Decrease in black/minority ethnic students

Concerns over workload and learning time

Perception about balance between theory and practice

Selection process for individual film pitches

Balance o
f visionary ideas with technical innovation

Access to general and specialised IT resources

FdA Computer Visualisation and Animation

In 2008
09, FdA animation continued to increase its numbers with a healthy level 1 cohort
of 53. The course attracts lar
ge numbers of applicants which I feel this is partly due to our
killset accreditation and to the growing reputation of the course. The artistic standard of
the new students has also been noticeably improving and this will undoubtedly improve the
quality o
f the work produced, and again enhance the course reputation and profile.
Technical delivery has continued to produce a more capable, creative cohort and this can
be seen in how some of the students have successfully worked on live projects this year

as with Tiger Aspect) and have had their work used on professional projects. Once
again animation collaborated with the broadcast students in preparing and presenting a
successful animation show at Rave on Air.

This year the level 2 students will again b
e required to participate in Rave On Air to
increase their exposure to industrial broadcast practice. Preparation and planning for this
event will take place significantly earlier in order to maximise their involvement. A new
member of the course’s session
al staff will provide specialist compositing tuition in Term 1.
Life drawing as a component of some of the level 2 units is a new addition designed to
ensure that the course is meeting Skillset’s requirements for accreditation. We will be
taking advantage
of the college’s render farm to develop students’ abilities to work on
more ambitious rendered film sequences. As well as life drawing, the students will also be
taken on site based drawing trips to broaden their contextual and visual diversity. Budgets
lowing, we intend to put in place access to Escape Studio’s online VLE for learning
Maya. Staff have evaluated this over the summer break and it looks like a useful way to
increase our students’ technical confidence.


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Quality Team

Final Version January 2010


Cohort size

Timetable complexity

Course switching

experimental visual content

Funding for independent VLE licenses for students

FdSc Broadcast Media Technology

This was a positive year for the BMT course, with

some clear progress in te
rms of
applications, progression, and success
This was matched by continued progress in
revitalising delivery and in industry contact. The course team continued to employ
innovative technology
based teaching and learning techniques and tools to enhance th
quality of the student experience. The previous issues with lack of engagement with the
PPD unit were turned around, with students reporting that the unit was much more
relevant to their future in broadcast engineering. The External Examiner was supporti
ve of
the efforts made with the course, and of the directions for developments. Students made
very good progress with some making considerable industry inroads, and the majority
progressed with little difficulty on to the BSc top
up course.

Students engag
ed with Ofcom and, with Subject Leader’s guidance, obtained a RSL
(Restricted Service Licence) for DTT digital transmission of RoA 2009. Students also took
part in visits to industry and industry events. The course team was instrumental in
developing innov
ative system for paperless assessment. All submissions were on
line by
the end of the year. Discussions took place throughout the year with industry partners and
with students, as the new course structure based on 4 named pathways was designed and
d. These new courses started in October 2009 when both the level 1 and level 2
students opted to change to the new course. The course team is enthusiastic about
developing the teaching resources for the new courses but concerned about developing so
much ne
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course team are proactive in generating new course/unit development and delivery


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Quality Team

Final Version January 2010


Suitable equipment available for teaching analogue and digital engineering pr
inciples in
the new building

Lack of specialist study opportunities

High teaching staff workloads

BSc (Hons) Broadcast Technology

This was a good year for the BSc course, with 12 students from the BMT Foundation
Degree course deciding to stay on for t
he top
up year. The cohort engaged well with the
course content, with three First Class Honours graduates representing 25% of the cohort
achieving this outstanding level of attainment.

The course team continued to employ
innovative technology
based teachin
g and learning techniques and tools to enhance the
quality of the student experience. The previous issues with lack of engagement with the
PPD unit were turned around, with students reporting that the unit was much more
relevant to their future in broadcas
t engineering.

The course team provided strong teaching and students were clearly engaged with their
learning and prospered. Increased use of the Moodle VLE and other innovative techniques
such as vodcasts were employed to aid teaching and learning and im
prove the quality of
the student experience. The continuing improvement of course management is reflected in
student feedback. Discussions took place throughout the year with industry partners and
with students as the new course structure based on 4 pathwa
ys was designed and
validated. These new courses will start in October 2010 when the College has relocated to
the Greenwich Peninsular. The course team were enthusiastic about the design of the new
courses and how they would relate to their associated FdSc

Broadcast Technology cluster
of 4 feeder courses. The course team are active in responding to course / unit review


Growing the FdSc numbers through improved marketing of the newly validated cluster
would provide a chance for th
e BSc course numbers to grow

Enthusiastic and motivational teaching staff

Excellent use of multidisciplinary team work

Quality of teaching

High proportion achieving first class and 2.i honours

Continued evidence of high employability and excellent ca
reer prospects for graduates

Industry commitment to/involvement with course


White male dominated cohort

Lack of clarity in timetable

Support and advice relating to placements, PPD and career guidance

Equipment for teaching analogue and digital

engineering principles

Inconsistencies in the use of the Moodle VLE

college units




Quality Team

Final Version January 2010


High teaching staff workloads

FdA Broadcast Operations and Production

A good year, with good final grades achieved by the 2

year students. With the
n of ‘Celcat’ timetabling caused much confusion with students compared with
the previous year, but eventually was accepted, although the layout

as is still

to be difficult to understand

especially amongst students who suffer from

Retention was again very good, with only a few ‘drop outs’ after the first term

mostly due to personal circumstances. There were no curriculum issues highlighted by the
student Reps. There was a slight increase in student numbers (8%) compared to th
previous year, but the course staff accommodated them without any major problems.
However, any increase in student numbers in future years could cause problems in regard
to room space and availability of equipment. As in previous years the course is stil
l popular
and over subscribed.

The course has developed and improved by introducing more projects that require
interdisciplinary working. Of particular note are documentary and drama productions
produced by the third year BA ‘Top up’ students and ‘crewed’

by the Location Elective
students, as well as all students ‘servicing’ the level 1 students from the Content Creation
course who produce a studio drama. Students continue to work on projects for external
companies and organisations. The Tag Ruby Trust too
k another group of students to
Uganda. The new project in the Camera Lighting and Sound unit, which was introduced
last year and reflected industry
working practice more closely, continued to be popular with
students and industry professionals alike. The e
xternal examiner also commented on this
practical exercise.


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FdA Broadcast Post Production

The team has worked strenuously to make improvements across all aspects of the course



Quality Team

Final Version January 2010


and the External Examiners re
port, feedback from students, and statistics from registry
tend towards a positive endorsement of the team’s efforts. The course is proud of its links
with industry (post houses, Digital Vision, Quantel, Apple, Avid); and of the live projects we
were able
to garner as for students (e

Tag rugby, Empire Design). The External
Examiner report was very positive in all areas around industry practice and assessment.
There were no changes to curriculum/structure over the last year

all indications point to a
urse running smoothly. The External Examiner confirmed “the scope of the programme
offered the students the opportunity to experience many aspects of postproduction ranging
from interactive design to applied postproduction. This inevitably means the studen
ts will
be able to gain a fuller picture of what postproduction is; therefore preparing them for the

We continue to support a lively roster of visiting industry professionals as well as engaging
students in live projects. The team have develope
d online tutorials to assist student
learning and, with the launch of the new video server system we have uploaded a variety
of video clips and source materials for training use. Staff and students participate in the
VLE to enhance the learning experience.

The course team continue to keep abreast of
current developments in the postproduction sector. As in previous years, the course team
visited many Post companies during the student placement period (spring term) and was
able to talk to key personnel at th
e BBC, Absolute, The Facility, Frontier TV, Ascent Media,
ITV, Talkback Thames, Rainbow Post, Envy, Halo Post and many more.


Increase in applications

Gender Balance improvement

High student satisfaction and retention rates

Teaching quality

mechanisms for student dialogue

Online tutorial development


Referencing and written work

Written work development strategy

Second marker feedback

FdA Creative Sound Design

Overall a strong year for FdA Creative Sound Design with a fantastic
set of results
(especially in its associated top
up, BA (Hons) Broadcasting (Sound Design), year
increase in student numbers, positive external examiner feedback and no noteworthy
appeals, complaints or issues.

The main concern with the course rema
ins the difficulty
marketing have had in drawing applicants to such a specialised subject areas. This has led
to the nearly revalidated course taking only reaching 65% of it’s target figure for 2009
and steps are being taken to improve the public profi
le for the sound and music courses
that will run at the college in the coming academic year. These include the
launch of a
course specific web
site, site visits, improved open day presentations and a number of high
profile events and live projects.




Quality Team

Final Version January 2010


s are being made in order to create a greater online footprint for the college’s sound
and music courses

these include the development of course specific pages on the
college web
site, an iLike site, MySpace page and an associated course iPhone
The course has built up and extended its relationship with the National Gallery

with students work now being featured on the Gallery web
site, as part of a film
showing/event and on permanent installation by the Gallery. The FdA Creative Sound

is near to being a ‘paperless’ course, the majority of assessment submissions and
feedback are electronic. Certain forms of delivery have not leant themselves to e
and the course remains strongly rooed in the ideal of blended delivery. Certain

such as requiring students to keep blogs in place of project logs, have been abandoned
through the experience of students not seeing their relevance to the course (and a lack of
familiarity with the form itself).


Increase in admissio

High retention and progression to BA Broadcasting

Positive student feedback on course overall

High graduate employment

High quality of sessional staff with excellent industry experience and contacts

Online presence, paperless and use of e


Gender imbalance

Scope for students to focus on specialism

Recession employment concerns

Stores and facilities maintenance

Planning opportunities for collaboration with other broadcasting students on live

BA (Hons) Broadca
sting (Sound Design, Post Production, Production)

The course seems to be achieving its aims, with positive feedback to course team from
industry contacts who engage with the course and/or its students. In terms of outcomes,
students are clearly stretched
beyond the basic requirements of the course and are
reaching high standards, as evidenced by their results. Structurally the course offers a
simple and logical progression designed to further develop analytical and intellectual
processes and the applicatio
n of practical skills and project management. As such it is an
improvement on the previous validation and will be improved by the new Top validated in
2009. The integration of shared units such as the Business Unit, and the Dissertation Unit
has been reas
onably successful, though PPD remains a significant problem in terms of
student engagement.

The course team provided strong teaching and students were clearly engaged with their
learning and prospered. Innovative techniques using technology were employed

to aid
teaching and learning and ensure the quality of the student experience. Quality
enhancement is embedded within the DNA of the course

staff are highly motivated to
improve on deliver and content year on year (and delivery of unit on unit). The pro
cess of



Quality Team

Final Version January 2010


quality will be greatly enhanced by the addition of another senior member of teaching staff.
Feedback from students in the internal survey has improved by
10% on average year on
year, with the course scoring highly across a range of areas, although

the score the on
college resources was low.
Attainment has remained consistent but there has been an
increase in 1

class awards away from Upper 2
. There is a consistently good
progression rate between the Fd feeder courses and the BA top


Demographic spread by gender, ethnicity and background

High standard of production skills taught and achieved

Student satisfaction rates

Course structure effective in encouraging creative practice.

Ethos of ideas and innovation embedded in programme

making, channel development
and business units.

Highest HESA employability score in the college both in terms of relevant employment
and overall employment.


Improve clarity in project briefs and assessment feedback

Written work development stra

Timetable complexity

Reduction in sessional staff budgets

Relocation challenge of maintaining facilities and resources and impact on student

Staff workloads

BA (Hons) Content Creation and Broadcast

The course espouses the College’
s strategic aims putting a emphasis on ideas, creative
content solutions espousing innovation that is multiplatform (or platform agnostic). The
course is strengthened with core production and transferable skills alongside embedded
business and enterprise.
Graduates leave multi
skilled and adaptable to a range of content
research, development and production roles across programme
making, journalism,
advertising, marketing and business. The revalidation enabled the course team to consult
students with surveys

and focus groups and this led to the development of the new course
within the college framework.

The curriculum teaches a combination of higher
level skills (group work, self
working, enterprise and business skills etc) and vocational work (tra
ining, production skills,
production work). The balance between the two may have an effect on first employment
The course has developed iteratively and is commented on by past External
Examiners of key areas of good practice in the field of

teaching media production. The
course continually develops and is enhanced it is very much a media course for ideas and
entrepreneurs. Students from Level 2 participated alongside students on the Xing project
this year, and students are encouraged to enga
ge in all aspects of the college with the
support of the course team. Students have run the Student Union for four out of the last



Quality Team

Final Version January 2010


five years, they form a high proportion of the ROA management and many manage
industry jobs (or even “survival jobs”) alongsi
de study.


Good demographic balance in admissions and increase in applicants

Strong enterprise and business focus with high level skills for media

Teaching quality

Popular, coherent and well
paced fast
track course

Excellent professional/tec
hnical resources

RoA leadership

especially in commissioning, writing, promotions, exhibition and trade


Mature and international admissions reduced

Poor integration and unpopularity of centralised units

Project brief and assessment feedb
ack development

Employability challenge

Staff workloads

Professional/technical and academic facilities and resource challenges associated with

BA (Hons) Graphic Design

This was the first year that the Subject Leader took responsibility for

both Graphic Desig
and Design for Moving Image.
The take
over went smoothly and a lot of work was done in
looking at ways of devising better working practices between the two courses, better
relationships and more collaboration between staff and stud
The process for the
future got started with simple collaborations such as all staff contributing to validating both
courses, aligning some units that were validated to allow for some collaboration, joint
participation in degree show issues and joint gues

lectures throughout the year.
building blocks have been put into place to improve further working relationships for both
staff and students. A new fractional member of staff started teaching at the beginning of
the academic year as well as a new, ful
l time member of staff, who then resigned at the
end of year, due

to relocation to New Zealand.
This resulted in another FT member being
employed at the very end of the year in time for t
he new academic year 2009/10.
entire sessional staffing was analy
sed and revitalised in t
ime for the start of each term.

This greatly enhanced the student experience and the morale of the students after
experiencing the changes in management of the course.

5 students achieved entry into the International Society of T
ypographic Designers, a
professional organisation that upholds the standards withi
n the Graphic Design Industry.

year student went to Japan, having won a competition devised by Suzuki cars.


High level of applications maintained




Quality Team

Final Version January 2010


Student s
atisfaction with teaching and the curriculum

Added value’ through workshops and guest speakers

More collaboration with Design for Moving Image

Work across courses and faculty enhances student experience and simulates

Links with Industry and


Increased admissions

Relocation challenge to course identity

Progression from Level 0

Perception about lack of ‘specialist resources’

Staffing stability

BA (Hons) Design for Moving Image

This was the first year that the CL took o
ver the running of both Graphic Design and
Design for Moving Image. The take
over went smoothly and a lot of work was done in
looking at ways of devising better working practices between the two courses, better
relationships and more collaborati
on between
staff and students.
The process for the
future got started with simple collaborations such as all staff contributing to validating both
courses, aligning some units that were validated to allow for some collaboration, joint
participation in degree show iss
ues and joint guest lectures throughout the year. The
building blocks have been put into place to improve further working relationships for both
staff and students.

The students won both of the Promax UK student awards yet again this year, resulting in
sh prizes and work placements. One student won the Panasonic Next Generation
advertising competition, which should raise the profile of the College nationally through the
Guardian newspaper. Another student received ‘best of show’ at the D&AD. A level 2
tudent did all the on
screen graphics for the Cumulus conference hosted by the college
this year at the 02 and the work of a level 3 student (Gorilla advert) was used by the
college at various marketing events.

This was the first year for a new member of t
External Examining team, as the academic representative. It was good to see that both
examiners compiled an excellent report for the course. There were no issues to be
resolved at all. The core team continue to work well together and this year with the
Graphic Design team. Good working relationships with Graphic Design have improved the
student experience, especially in the studio area they share. The external examiners
remarked yet again on the quality of the teaching. A Senior Lecturer was employed for

extra day per week to work on validation and with aiding the administration of the courses.


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Quality Team

Final Version January 2010


and potential employers.

More collaboration with Graphic Design

Combination of creativity and techn
ological expertise

Close alignment and excellent reputation with industry


Impact of loss of Foundation Art & Design applicants

Centralisation of software training

Technical difficulties for students with VLE

Negative student feedback on ICT a
nd resources

Concentration of demands on resources through increase in shared units

BA (Hons) Interior Design Environment Architectures

This has been another outstanding year for student achievement of the IDEA’s course with
many awards and public acti
vities involving students at all levels. Student employment
rates in design have been affected by the current recession, and progression to
postgraduate courses has increased this year. The student survey data also suggests a
high satisfaction rating for t
he course and its quality of delivery. Applications to the course
increased, and we will increase the size of the level I cohort for a second year. We also
have a number of transfers from courses at other HE institutions into level II.

The course has been

successfully been re validated with City university, with course aims
structure and curriculum benchmarked against art and design, and architecture, in
eparation for accreditation by professional bodies
, ARB and RIBA. There were no
significant changes i
n the course or the curriculum at level II, nor were there any
modifications. We received a very robust and supportive external examiner report with
some key points to monitor for the future as we prepare to move to a new building. On
standards: ‘standards

of achievement on this course are consistently good and at times
excellent’; performance: ‘at the top end of achievement students are outstripping


Industry recognition and ARB prescription developments

Postgraduate developments

Student engagement, student services, VLE

Work placements and added value through industry
led activities

New course pathways:
interactive spaces, micro environment, virtual environment,
design culture

Student achievements, including ARB Part 1.


New admissions deadline




Quality Team

Final Version January 2010


Maintaining professional compliance and currency of course

Managing Student expectations in the context of resources constraints

Support services for widening participation agenda

Staff retention, workload and development

Develop and exploit industry links

BA (Hons) Design for Interaction

This has been a challenging year for BA

Design for Interaction due to ongoing and
some unforeseen changes that happened throughout the course of the year. The course
has been g
oing through various transitions during that last few years (changes in Course
Leadership, staffing restructures, curriculum and resource changes etc.), although it
should be noted that the quality of student output has remained high across all levels of
he course (four 1

class honours degrees awarded in 2009). The biggest challenge of the
academic year was to re
write the Design for Interaction course and align it more closely
with Product Design. A large amount of research was conducted to establish in
opinion and expectations of graduates in this discipline. The Subject Leader visited
businesses (both UK and USA), to get their views of how and what design students should
be learning to make them more employable in the Interaction field. Opinions
companies like Adaptive Path and IDEO (San Francisco) and DIY Kyoto, Random
International, Flow Interactive, Phillips all contributed to the direction that a new Interaction
should take.

During the summer term 2009, Samsung Design Europe visited Raven
sbourne to set up a
professional/academic relationship which would result in graduate internships being
sought for the summer period of 2009. Three Interaction students were successful in
winning 4 out of 5 these internships. Cross
faculty collaborative pr
ojects involved working
with BA

and BA

Product Design within the Urban Environments
(Level 2) Student Study Trip was successfully undertaken to Madrid as part of the Urban
Environments unit in Autumn 2009. Although this course has
gone through difficult and
challenging transitions, the Design for Interaction course has continued to strengthen and
develop and has finally reached a stage where alignment and structures are now in place
to allow it to grow successfully. Graduating stude
nts also exhibited as part of the nationally
recognised New Designers showcase in July 2009 and got good responses to their work.


Curriculum development and new technologies introduced

Staff restructuring and teaching quality

Achievements at
first and upper second award levels

Tutorial system

Employability developments

Merging of Product and Interaction will allow cross
disciplinary teaching and further
curriculum development





Quality Team

Final Version January 2010


Admissions level and retention

Maintaining staffing and


Pathway Leader vacancy

Student perceptions in the context of change

Maintaining external contacts through staffing change

Technical/technology teaching capacity

BA (Hons) Product Design

This has been a challenging year for BA

uct Design due to radical changes to
the workshop that happened throughout the course of the summer (2008). The College
has chosen to embrace a digital approach to 3D prototyping and has focussed on creating
a new cutting edge lab that will house various d
igital machinery including rapid
prototyping, laser cutters, zund plotters, 3D scanners and digital textile printers. The
transition to this new workshop philosophy has been reasonably successful, with most
Level 1 and 2 students embracing the set
up with
enthusiasm. Although the Level 3
students found the transitions difficult, outsourcing budgets were put in place to allow
student projects to be prototyped externally. This was only allowed in cases where
students could prove that prototyping of the produc
ts could not be carried out internally.
The introduction of this scheme proved very successful and only a small percentage of
students needed to outsource work.

The biggest challenge of the year was to re
write the Product Design course and align it

closely with Design for Interaction. A large amount of research was conducted to
establish industry opinion and expectations of graduates in the Product discipline. The
Subject Leader visited businesses (both UK and USA), to get their views of how and wha
design students should be learning to make them more employable in this field. Opinions
from companies like Adaptive Path and IDEO (San Francisco) and DIY Kyoto, Random
International, Curventa, Phillips all contributed to the direction that a new Product

course should take. The course renewed links with industry for student placements and
employment. Several new live collaborative industry projects were run this year with great





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class awards.



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Quality Team

Final Version January 2010


Facilities and accommodation constraints

Poor communication of changes in equipment an
d resourcing; negative student

Increase in 3

class awards and fails

Staff changes

Risk of diluting Product skills development

BA (Hons) Fashion

This has been an extremely challenging year both for students and staff; in operational
and a
cademic terms. An Acting subject leader was appointed in January 2009 to
implement new timetables and learning and teaching practices. With very careful and
creative timetabling budgets were rebalanced ensuring curriculum provision was not
affected. Studen
ts and staff were pleased structure and stability was brought back to the
department when this post became permanent in June. In line with the college’s mission
statement and in preparation for the move to Greenwich, the screen printing facility has
been c
onsiderably downscaled; this change has not been welcomed by all staff and
students, requiring careful planning and research for outsourcing facilities, which will be
piloted in 2009/2010.

With the new Subject Leader there is wider vision for cross
y and cross
collaboration, for example Product Design and Fashion are liaising in co
writing a joint
Level 1 for an Accessories/Luxury goods BA. It is envisaged that with the move to the new
building and all resources being shared this form of p
rogramme will become more
prevalent. Fashion will be planning Work Based Learning course development for the new
building. This will extend to more flexible timetabling coupled with more flexible utilisation
of resources. Fashion is forging stronger ties w
ith the FE programme and the
Communication Media Faculty. Strong links have been forged during the academic year
with the Level 0 and foundation course feeder courses; as well as other colleges in the UK
e.g. Leeds College of Art, West London College. Lond
on College of Fashion to name a


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Quality Team

Final Version January 2010


Transition to digital printing

Teaching and Subject Leader workload

Technical training support