Widening access, narrowing curriculum: is the expectation of software training changing the culture within visual communications higher education?
Other TitlesICALT 2005
AbstractIncreasingly, students entering visual communications courses seem to expect training in industry-standard software to make up the majority of course content. This is seen as the source of some tension between visual communication design educators and government/university policies for widening participation. It may also be related to the perceived need for graduate employees to have knowledge of industry standard software prior to employment. There has been a rise in the number of students applying to study visual communications since the introduction of desktop publishing in the 1980s. This, together with a more diverse student profile has created differing student expectations and a change in the culture of visual communications higher education courses. Widening participation policies have facilitated an increase in recruitment both directly from sixth form study (post 16 year old) and from an increasing ethnically diverse background from the UK, Europe and internationally, rather than through UK based traditional preparatory courses. These factors place pressure on existing curricula, and may lead to a narrowing of content as a deficit in prior learning and understanding has to be accounted for. Student expectation of software training together with the vocational nature of visual communication design courses may lead to courses becoming predominantly software oriented. In the context of the implementation of government widening participation policy, this may result in the reduction of courses to technological skill provision. In order to identify any tension between student expectation and course content, staff perceptions of student requirements have been compared to their perceptions of the purpose of an education in visual communications.
CitationIn: ICALT 2005. Fifth IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies, Taiwan, 5-8 July 2005