New ways of seeing: Assignment planning, research and discovery with a visual twist

Kaye Towlson (of De Montfort University) sends the following report:

Report, feedback and future planning:

Kaye Towlson and Carol Keddie delivered a well received and inspirational workshop entitled : “New ways of seeing” to 10 students from a wide range of disciplines including Housing, Multimedia Design, Cardiology, Biomedicine, Youth and Community Development, Health Studies, Nursing, Human Resources and Fine Art. The group included Undergraduates, Postgraduates and a Phd Research student. All students participated fully in the activities and engaged with tasks from the word “Go”. There was also much peer to peer learning going on as students discussed the different visual learning techniques as they performed the given tasks.

Students enthusiastically embraced new visual planning and thinking techniques such as the image enriched mind map created using collage techniques, dressing up the “doll of formality” (Groppel-Wegener 2012)with selected keywords and images derived from their mind map.

jumble of plaits

jumble of plaits

They enjoyed forming a research plait by combining the assignment question, selected keywords and references of relevant journal and book resources identified through searching the library catalogue and relevant research databases. This information was recorded onto three separate strands of paper given at appropriate times in the workshop. The plaiting together of these three essential elements of the planning and research process simulates the knitting together of this information into an evidence supported argument in the form of a completed assignment. (Amended from Francis 2009)

Students were then introduced to the University of Creative Arts Creative Cycle which maps the route of the creative cycle from the initial interest through to submission and post submission reflection on all the learning inputs, tasks and skills acquired. Students were asked to create their own road map for the successful completion of their chosen assignment starting from the initial assignment allocation through the planning, inputs and activities culminating in the successful completion and handing in of the assignment. They were asked to illustrate the roads map with images (doodles/sketches or collage)  to identifying tasks, to add emoticons to reveal how they would feel at that point of their journey and maybe chart the ups and downs, twists and turns experienced on the route.

doll with keywords

doll with keywords

Feedback from the session was very positive; students commented particularly that they liked the mind map and the journey map, others particularly liked the doll (”especially cause I was relating keywords and assignment to a person”).

Many said they intended to use mind maps in future

Other comments:

 “Thank you it was inspiring”

I liked: “the ways teached to divide an assignment into smaller pieces”.

“The creative aspects of the session absolutely BRILLIANT!”

I liked…. “The atmosphere and the context”

I am going to …..”Continue to mind map my work this way before I begin an assignment”.

“Fantastic!”

I would like to see….”more like this please! New tips on ways to work effectively”.

“Please do more courses such as these as a Phd student I have found it really useful and will be attending many more”.

 

Future development:

The intention is to offer this workshop again and to utilise some of the techniques within curriculum based teaching. IT is also intended to offer this workshop to LRS Librarians and CLaSS and to ask them to bring a selected assignment question with them from one of their areas of responsibility.

To expand visual learning, thinking and planning techniques applicable to information/digital literacy and offer other workshops.

To feed experience and feedback from today into ongoing Teacher fellow project.

Reflection…….. To investigate scope for utilising similar visual techniques to encourage reflection in student learning, both during the assignment path and also after. To reflect on tasks and skills completed, their effectiveness, areas for amendment and improvement, areas of transfer.

 

The workshop intended to stimulate creative thinking and planning and to introduce students to non-traditional visual techniques that they can utilise through their course. It is safe to say that these learning  outcomes were met.

 

Kaye Towlson 12/2/13

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