Evaluation of undergraduate programmes in the Interactive Media/Design subject area at Swedish universities and university colleges
This report contains the results of the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education´s 2006 evaluation of undergraduate programmes in the Interactive Media/Design subject area. The evaluation was carried out by an external assessment team made up of Swedish and Scandinavian university and university college teachers, as well as an ex-student. The report is in two parts: the National Agency´s decisions and reflections, and the external assessment team´s report. The assessment team is responsible for the contents of its report. The National Agency´s decisions and reflections are based on the assessment team´s report.
All students are admitted on the basis of a portfolio of their work and in certain cases on letters of application as well. In the admission procedure, the university college assesses whether the student has the experience and the maturity which will allow him/her to make the best of the education. Several university colleges do not have specified criteria for what should be assessed when examining the portfolio; such criteria should be formulated. The university colleges must clarify the connection between the portfolio and the aesthetic content of the programme, as well as the importance of the theoretical and aesthetic parts of the programme, respectively, in the final dissertations. There must be a clear continuity, from admission to graduation, in terms of the aesthetic content of the education programmes.
The assessment team would like to see an increase in the scientific content of the programmes. Design skills also require design training and practice. For this reason it has been a central part of the review to look at the prevailing pedagogic practice for the programmes.
The assessors saw examples of a studio-based environment where the students had their own workplaces and where the assessors were also able to see how creativity benefited from this studio environment. Some university colleges have classrooms, workshops and studios for students´ use, but students do not have their own workplaces. It is valuable that the university colleges succeed in creating environments in which the students choose to be.
The assessors further note that all these programmes are such that students must be able to present their portfolios after completing their education. Therefore it should also be a compulsory element of all the programmes to teach students how to build their portfolio. Tutoring of students should also be strengthened generally, and be provided continuously throughout the programme. Finally, the assessors underline the need for a bigger emphasis on group work, both within each programme and together with students and teachers from other programmes and disciplines.
All the programmes have functioning contact networks with the trade nationally; some also have international networks. However, one area that could be strengthened somewhat is cooperation with other programmes.
When a programme has a design/aesthetic specialisation, it is reasonable for some of the teachers to be hired on aesthetic/artistic merit or experience. While it is true that all the university colleges evaluated have teachers with both academic and aesthetic backgrounds, the balance between them should be reviewed and complemented so that each programme can deliver the goals set up for it. Teachers´ opportunities for their own research and competence development could be improved at the university colleges. However, the research situation for teachers is considerably better at those university colleges where there is subject representative/professor for the subject. Nevertheless, design-aesthetic research could be strengthened at all the university colleges.
The Swedish National Agency for Higher Education concludes from the assessors´ report that all the undergraduate programmes are of satisfactory quality, and therefore does not call into question any university college´s entitlement to award degrees.