There are several kinds of 'visual assessment'.
In some subjects, such as art and design, media studies or architecture, practical visual production is a central part of any degree and is assessed in a number of ways, most commonly through the medium of the studio 'crit' where students display their work for discussion and critique by tutors and peers.
In others, the demonstration of practical skills must be assessed in action - for instance through OSCEs (Observed Structured Clinical Examinations) in medicine and other health professions.
Many other disciplines are also making increasing use of visual assessment formats - such as posters, illustrated presentations or web pages - to assess analytic skills, or to provide reasonable alternatives to written essays for students with disabilities, or just as a way to vary the assessment regime for all students and help develop transferable skills.
The funded project described below seeks to explore the range of visual assessment practices in current use and to develop resources for staff and students. Meanwhile, we have included some links to other resources for presentations, posters and multimedia tasks, as well as a link to a report on a project about visual plagiarism issues..
LearnHigher funded the Universities of Brighton, Kent and University College Falmouth to:
- Undertake research into student and staff experiences of using visual assessment formats.
- Develop a set of multimedia resources for staff and students, informed by this research, to support the use of specific assessment tasks.
The rationale for the project is twofold. The art and design sector has identified the need to provide a clearer framework for assessment and produce a range of usable resources and examples of good practice, particularly to help students benefit from feedback on their work. At the same time, as described above, visual formats are being introduced in other disciplines, but students can be unsure how to approach such unfamiliar tasks, and staff may lack experience in setting appropriate tasks or marking them fairly and rigorously
A final report and new resources for staff and students will be available through this website. Meanwhile, reports of related individual projects include:
- http://www.brighton.ac.uk/visuallearning/project-news/cattaneo/ (poster presentations)
- http://www.brighton.ac.uk/visuallearning/project-news/letschka/ (video assignments)
- http://www.brighton.ac.uk/visuallearning/project-news/sase/ (video assignments)
- http://staffcentral.brighton.ac.uk/learnhigher/LHVPLearningtoLook.html (photography module for medical students)
- http://staffcentral.brighton.ac.uk/learnhigher/LHVPDoyle.html (visual ethnography for sports students)
- http://staffcentral.brighton.ac.uk/learnhigher/LHVPArandaetal.html (photo-essays for nursing students)
- http://staffcentral.brighton.ac.uk/learnhigher/LHVPBurns.html (video and photographic assignments in tourism)
- http://staffcentral.brighton.ac.uk/learnhigher/LHVPWinckler.html (photography module in information studies)
Creating Effective Poster Presentations This helpful site includes detailed advice on all stages of creating a poster presentation, with plenty of illustrated examples. Though primarily aimed at creators of scientific conference posters, the advice applies equally to other subjects and to poster assignments for university students. Downloadable resources include a Quick reference handout and sample evaluation sheets.
Advice on designing scientific posters. Excellent site by Colin Purrington; a particularly useful feature is that the advice is linked to numerous examples posted to a special section of Flickr.
Diversifying Assessment 2: Posters and Oral Presentations in Undergraduate History of Science Louise Jarvis & Joe Cain originally published in PRS-LTSN Journal - now available through the HEA Resources Centre.
Visual Assessment in Anthropology This website reports on the outcomes of a C-SAP-funded project, Visual Technologies and their Assessment in Undergraduate Teaching and Learning, carried by the Anthropology subject group in the School of Social Sciences and International Development, University of Wales Swansea. Students participated in the design of assessment criteria, and submitted 39 CD-ROMs (for the History of Anthropological Theory) and 8 visual ethnographies on video (for Visual Anthropology). The website includes a final report as well as resources and handouts - all of which would be helpful for anyone considering introducing similar assessment formats in other subjects, as would the Jarvis and Cain article cited below.
Diversifying assessment 3: Web projects in undergraduate history of science. Louise Jarvis & Joe Cain originally published in Discourse: Learning and Teaching in Philosophical and Religious Studies - now available through the HEA Resources Centrein. This article contains useful advice (though technical references are now somewhat outdated) particularly on assessment issues.
Visual Plagiarism A report of research undertaken in 2007 for the Plagiarism Advisory Service by Margo Blythman and Susan Orr, including some materials that can be used with students.