Quality Assured Across Borders of Disciplines and CulturesPeter Purg
, 2019, published scientific conference contribution abstract (invited lecture)
Abstract: Abstract (full):
Within the international master study programme of Media Arts and Practices (MAP) the University of Nova Gorica School of Arts is currently developing an interdisciplinary module in Art, Science and Technology (MAST) within a diverse partnership of two further universities and three NGOs. Both curriculum development projects were funded by the European Commission for their progressive, even disruptive character. If MAP (2011-2014), developed within the ADRIART.net project, was to join four countries as well as several artistic and media production fields creating a new partnership model and a contemporary employment profile, MAST (2018-2020) now seeks to root the art-thinking paradigm deep into the innovation process outside university. In order to reinvent better and meaningful futures for the society at large the dominance of the technological and the scientific approach is to be balanced out by the artistic openness and radical difference. This in turn mirrors the structure of the MAST curriculum – not only that its outcomes are unprecedented and tuned onto most progressive priorities of the Europen Union. The syllabus reminds of the innovation process itself, building a new module-specific graduate profile of an “innovation catalyst’.
The abovementioned two cases will be interpreted on the background of ‘The Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area’ (ESG) as the primary setting of their development and implementation, while the ‘internal’ quality aspect shall be prioritized. The discussion will predominantly refer to the design and approval of programmes, but also present some novel solutions in student-centered learning, teaching and assessment. After touching upon a relevant recognition issue, the public impact and meaning of such programmes will be considered more broadly.
As far as the design and approval of programmes (ESG 1.2) are concerned, the Guidelines point out that curricula should be designed „in line with the institutional strategy“ which often proves a paradox – a new academic programme development may instigate radical institutional change from the bottom-up, such that is unlikely to occur through the conventional top-down approach. The MAP project involved four university partners, of which two accredited the master programme fully as such (Croatia and Slovenia) and two participated therein merely with partnership modules. While the Slovenian partner gradually modified its strategic priorities as a (fairly small) art school throughout the project's three years, the bigger Croatian national art academy would let the MAP programme remain insulated from other programmes, preventing the curricular innovations and new teaching and learning methods from spreading to other programmes. This eventually led to inter-institutional conflicts and a closure of the programme in 2018 after three years of its running. Even if all invlved universities „involved students and other stakeholders in the work“ and the MAP programme contained „well-structured placement opportunities“ (ESG 1.2), its sustainability was evaluated low also in the case of the Italian and Austrian partners, since most of the MAP curricular structures eventually proved too open and progressive for their traditional acdemic environments. The Graz Technical University (Austria) returned in the MAST project again to enter a new, more contemporary alliance, founded on their bilateral continuity with the University of Nova Gorica, and their strategic priority of developing interdisiplinary programmes. The latter has in 2014 also established and continues to lead a South-Eastern-Europe wide CEEPUS network of ten art academies named ADRIART.CE (Belgrade, Budapest, Graz, Nova Gorica, Krakow, Rijeka, Split, Sarajevo, Belgrade, Skopje, Sofia), three of which presented its core that developed from the MAP partnership (www.ADRIART.net/ce). Besides Nova Gorica and Graz, the MAST partnership involves one further university (Madeira University, Portugal) and three NGOs (the renowned Kapelica Gallery from Slovenia, the Croatian Cultural Allience and the Europe-wide network Culture Action Europe).
The ESG standard 1.3 on student-centred learning, teaching and assessment suggests that the programme delivery should „encourage students to take an active role in creating the learning process, and that the assessment of students reflects this approach.“ The MAP programme manifests this approach in several novums such as the 'Progress Track' module, where students critically peer-reflect on their academic progress along three semesters, or the 'Studio' module that brings into the programme external art (and later in MAST also science and/or technology) practitioners. It also treats contemporary topical issues that relate to the European topics such as e.g. 'The Future of Work' as well as to the profile of the cohort, their course selections and career orientation. A continuous 'Carrier Module' (MAST being one of them, others are Film, Animation, New Media, Photography and Contemporary Art Practice) in the MAP programme supports the student's „flexible learning path“ along three semesters of gradual academic progression: After exploring the chosen realm, and then defining own topical interest and method, the student focuses on her or his area of artistic (or interdisciplinary) investigation, in order to complete the Master Thesis (that includes a theoretical thesis and a practical project) in the fourth semester, all to encourage „a sense of autonomy in the learner, while ensuring adequate guidance and support from the teacher“. In the case of MAST the students shall each year be faced with the semester-long 'Challenge' course that is to keep them deeply involved in a real-life innovation process brought in from NGOs or companies, along with their expert mentors, or evaluators (in assessment committees, programme boards etc).
Both MAP and MAST curriculum development projects focussed importantly on the issue of „fair recognition of higher education qualifications, periods of study and prior learning, including the recognition of non-formal and informal learning“ (ESG 1.4). This was to not only support but also promote mobility of staff and especially students, since both curricular structures instigate international as well as inter-sectoral collaboration: if the academic experience of students and their career prospects is to be advanced, a dynamc flux and interaction of students, (external) mentors and (university) teachers needs to be preserved at both entry and exit points to the programme (or module). Only this way the positive public impact and meaning of such programmes (ESG 1.8) can be kept transparent – not only to be accounted for, but also actively steered towards actual social and economic relevance! Study programmes that matter to all stakeholders – the students, the universities and the employers, including a broader public, need to be kept open for manifold talents and apply progressive interdisciplinary teaching and learning methods, attracting experts and tackling real-life challenges across disciplinary sectors, and national borders.
Found in: ključnih besedah
Summary of found: ...of ‘The Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area’ (ESG)...
Keywords: arts, pedagogy, quality assurance, curriculum development, science, technology
Published: 11.09.2019; Views: 201; Downloads: 0
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