Over the course of my teaching career, I have produced extensive photographic documentation my students’ overall progress throughout the semester. I have collected this information primarily for grading, assignment examples and as the basis of my teaching portfolio. When I began teaching “Exploratory Drawing,” I found my documentation lacking. As I tried to photograph drawings in progress, I found myself missing the most innovative portions of the experience. Since many of the projects included building and testing new tools and techniques, the drawings changed radically from moment to moment. Needless to say, having one set of eyes, I would miss significant portions of each person’s process.
To compensate for my blind spots, my students and I collaborated to maintain a communal digital gallery. Students documented and uploaded their projects using smart phone technology. Each assignment required that they photograph work in progress and the final product. Students having a hand in their own documentation more than supplemented what I missed in class: it gave me insight to each student’s process and environment.
The sheer amount of information allowed me to track each student’s interest and inspiration. As I asked each student to document their work when they took a big risk, I started to see where and when they needed encouragement to move forward. I saw them make brave and innovative moves. I could refer to a drawing, an iteration of a drawing, and its weakness with precision and Photoshop it quickly to illustrate a needed change. I could upload images, and links into an individual’s set to connect each student to relevant artists both formally and conceptually.
In addition, the site also benefited the quality of work. Students could preview others’ homework projects to get a sense of what was happening in real time. Over all, it gave students an objective way to self-access their work and a greater context to see themselves as artist.
Outcome: The response to this collaboration was positive both by the student collaborators and the academic department heads and deans. The AIB Foundation Studies Department will be using this technology for six sections of their first year design course in the Fall of 2013.
To see and example of the full site :
Explore and Document courses projects and Portfolios from 2012 and 2013