I use the metaphor of the Rosetta Stone as the basis of how I view my teaching practice. There are two reasons for this - the main one being the fact that I am fascinated with history and have taught and developed this for first year learners, and secondly, because the concept of the Rosetta Stone lies in the fact that it took many years to decipher and to fully understand. Based on this understanding, I have realised that I view my teaching as very similar in so far that every year, students are different and I have to "decipher" them in order to provide them with the best educational opportunities for learning. They too will go through stages of personal learning that will involve each of them "deciphering" their own needs and desires in order to fully appreciate their abilities.
My philosophy lies in the fact that I treat each student as an individual with their own needs. I have opened myself up to emotional connections within my practice as I believe that learning and teaching involves an element of trust and a belief in the WHOLE person.
Students are encouraged to speak up, question and use one-on-one consultation time in order to fully engage with each module.
I am a technology geek and used Whatsapp and Facebook as a medium for discussion (before it was a norm) with my students for many years. I love engaging with new ways to communicate and have also found a passion in learning design and how this can communicate learning through planned objectives using Moodle, Articulate, Rise and other free software to help with the blended learning experience. Our own Moodle system (MyLMS) has been used extensively over the past 5 years as a tool for collaborative learning between remote campuses and main campus (specifically within the ACVL100 module) - and to ensure that the curriculum objectives are aligned.
Project | 01
Project | 01 Drama
Firstly, there was no drama group but my colleague and I began this 7 years ago and we used it as a project to create a self-sustainable extra-curricular opportunity for students to engage with their creative sides outside of their studies.
My colleague, Vallentine, and I used Whatsapp voice notes to run a digital poetry evening every Thursday with our Drama group - something that many of my first year students have joined in order to push their confidence up to assist with their in-class projects. Both Vallentine and I are firm believers in the art of dramatic learning and this has helped me in providing learning opportunities rich in role-play and gamification, within my theory modules, to assist in knowledge transfer of curriculum content.
In Image 1 we see students acting out the phrase "pregnant woman" - this forced students to find a way to use all people within 10 seconds to best represent the 'concept'. In this scenario, the 4 girls show the woman, her added weight, the fetus and the sheet covering her.
In Image 2 we see students playing "broken telephone" to show the importance of listening and communication transfer.
Project | 02
Project | 02 Gamification
Visual Literacy 1 is a unique discipline that not only looks at the history of communication and design throughout the ages but also gives learners the opportunity to apply the disciplines learned in a new (modern) context within their chosen fields of design.
While we, as educators, understand this, our first year students tend to only realise when they enter the world of work - which can be a bit late for some learners who might have benefited from this more during their years of studies. For this reason, the concept of "Crime Scene History" was imagined.
The pretence of Crime Scene History not only lies in the various games covering content in both Meggs' 'History of Graphic Design' as well as 'The history of graphic design' by Drucker and McVarish, but also deals with design-career concepts within co-operative learning groups that take place throughout the tasks in each section of the game. Click to read more about it here.
Project | 03
Project | 03 Marking & Feedback in GD
Working first with my previous HOP and then with another colleague on effective ways to mark practical creative work, we have gone through many variations to get one that works properly. In GD we value feedback over marks especially when a % here or there means very little in terms of what works and does not work.
The current marking rubric has been set up in such a way that students are afforded a colour indicating where they stand in the brief based on 5 critical aspects:
Research & Resource
This then looks at a piece of work holistically and determines the level of effort placed into any piece of work. Furthermore, students in the GD degree (who tend to suffer with very bad anxiety due to bad marks) no longer have to focus on the percentage but on the overall success of the feedback obtained. Constructive feedback is then given for all students to fix and/ or develop their briefs further for their final exam.
The Feedback sessions are run at the end of a brief with all 1st, 2nd and 3rd year students so that everyone can learn and comment together - this helps to further develop the designer and deal with critical responses.
Project | 04
Project | 04 Decolonising GD Theory & Practice
Working with two previous Visual Literacy lecturers, we have been able to move our old History module into a place where we can tackle African-specific design concepts such as Afropolitanism and Afrofuturism. Students are asked to consider what it means to BE AFRICAN and how it informs their decisions as a designer.
Very topical aspects are dealt with, such as Die Antwoord's CD cover, Childish Gambino's, "This is America" attack video (as well as the DA's response) and many other real-world topics. Xenophobia, Racism, Sexism and Gender roles also form part of the critical thinking tasks. The curriculum is fluid to an extent as we find relevant visual examples to work with.
Relevance is incredibly important to the modern student and finding a connection to their own frame of reference becomes even more important to the 3rd year designer when they need to start thinking about what kind of creative they want to be.
Project | 05
Project | 05 Professionalism & being Real-World Ready/ A reflective practice
I have always remained in close contact with my friends in industry so that I can ensure my students know what they are getting into when they leave. I have placed many students over the years with companies I know - especially when I know they will be a good fit.
Thanks to working with a colleague in the Science Faculty, I was able to connect with IOT.nxt and they have already hired (or interviewed) some of our students. They are impressed with the overall standard and, "jack of all trades" aspect that we give our designers. Currently we have restructured a brief to work as a real-world brief and the company can then meet potential employees through work created.
Furthermore, Reflection and documentation are important aspects of all people and we push for this in design so that students can continuously grow through this self-reflective practice.
Project | 06
Project | 05 At-Risk Tracking
In graphic design we do not have at-risk modules, but we do have at-risk students. For this reason I moved over to the one sheet per student method; to track everything about students. We all have access to the sheets in drive and can automatically flag students we see have more than one issue in more than one module.
Other colleagues have taken over this project (once I moved to a National position) to improve upon it from a Midrand Campus perspective.
Ultimately we just want our students to succeed.
Project | 07
Project | 07 Digital Testing
Something that I have been testing for 5 years in various ways and forms.
We initially began with an interactive PDF which needed to be downloaded and then re-uploaded to MyLMS upon completion. This was very cumbersome. However, since I have been testing and playing with Moodle a lot more, we have moved over to the quiz function and this has turned out to be a great solution for us in GD.
As mentioned, we pride ourselves on not caring for rote memorisation, and instead push soft skills such as researching and synthesis of information in a pressure environment (i.e. timed test). Examples of this can be found on the evidence page.