If your answer is no, please provide a brief statement (bullet points) of the respect(s) in which they fall short.

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FdA Animation

External Examiner’s report summary

Please indicate in the relevant boxes below whether you agree with the statements about the standards of Leeds Metropolitan University’s awards, the standards of student

performance and the conduct of the University’s assessment processes.

Please also list any shortcomings and areas for commendation. You should expand on any issues you mention here in the main report. If any boxes are ticked “No” the Dean of the Faculty or nominee will be alerted and will oversee the response from the course leader.

Standards set

“In my view, the standards set for the awards are appropriate.”

Yes No


If your answer is ‘no’, please provide a brief statement (bullet points) of the respect(s) in which they fall short. Although attention to 1st line assessment of high grades on the Contextual Studies module is advised (see main report for more detail).

Student performance

“In my view, the standards of student performance are comparable with similar course(s) or subjects in other UK institutions with which I am familiar.”

I have reviewed a sample of student work from the collaborative institution and in my view the standards of student performance are comparable with students studying the award(s) at Leeds Met

Yes No N/A *


* Not applicable – if you are a practitioner and are not in a position to assess national standards please indicate here.

If your answer is ‘no’, please provide a brief statement (bullet points) of the respect(s) in which they fall short.

Conduct of processes

“In my view, the processes for assessment, examination and the determination of awards are sound and fairly conducted.”

Yes No


If your answer is ‘no’, please provide a brief statement (bullet points) of the respect(s) in which they fall short.

Areas for commendation


FDa Animation

The level of quality in the student pre-production and production work is of a very high standard. FDa Web Design

The quality level of web design work on this degree is also high.

Main report

In this section you are asked to describe more fully how the University has or has not maintained academic standards and the quality of the student experience in relation to the course(s) for which you are the external examiner.

Please write a report (in addition to completing the Summary) in sections under all the following areas. Where applicable please also reference the sections to any

collaborative provision you have sampled.

If you are an external examiner for any of the University’s Edexcel (HND/HNC level) provision, please also complete the section on page 8 entitled “for External

Examiners Associated with Edexcel Courses.”

(a) The operation and conduct of the Board of Examiners (and any Mitigation Panel or Examination Committee meeting you may also have attended).

Very professional, and very organised.

(b) The action, if any was required, taken in response to your report of last year. (This will not be relevant if you are examining for the first time.)


(c) The overall performance of the students, in relation to that of comparable levels of work in other institutions.

I was very impressed with the maturity of work from year 2 students. Both weaker and stronger students display talent across both FDa Animation and FDa Web Design. Some of the drawings and 3D characters on the animation degree are of a very high standard that match some students at Masters level. Very accomplished. Some of the stronger web students show a high level of professional engagement with the entire design process from concept to interface. Excellent.

(d) The strengths and weaknesses of the students in general with respect to knowledge, conceptual grasp or application of skills.

It is clear from the sample who the weaker and failing students are. As with other

undergraduate students elsewhere, the examined students’ reflective practice at times is too descriptive and in some cases too personal, but this is something they’ll learn by experience. Those students who have learnt to write reflectively (the blogs are a very good platform to


help them achieve this) do so with a level of maturity that is also reflected in their creative work. All students’ feedback is constructive and helpful and the staff take time to help every student to maximise their own development with good advice on where improvements can be made. Both degrees show a very good application of skills relevant to the subject

specialisms with excellent evidence of pre-production work. Weaknesses do lie in academic referencing. While it is good to see that students are doing this it is important that Harvard is used and that high grades only reflect students who can write intelligently, analyse critically and synthesise cited references correctly within the set Harvard referencing system.

(e) The standards of the structure, organisation, design and marking of all examination papers and/or other forms of assessment.

The overall marking of the students creative, WBL and PDP work on FDa Animation and FDa Web Design is correct with a healthy range of grades. Excellent students gain suitable excellent grades while weaker students gain a grade commensurate with the work they put in. There is an issue however with how the Contextual Studies module was initially assessed that I raised at the exam board. This module, taught centrally (outside the immediate team who deliver every other creative module), awarded some very high distinction grades for essays that were overall far too generous. There was on the FDa Animation degree students that either didn’t follow Harvard referencing in full or partly mixed two systems together despite it being a college and Leeds Met standard system. These were high achieving essays and while they were interesting to read, and in some cases fully referenced – but their referencing was not fully in Harvard, or in a different system, or large tracts of text was unreferenced and therefore should not have gained distinction level grades.

(f) The curriculum, teaching or resourcing of the programme of study as indicated by the performance of the students in the assessment.

I am impressed with the curriculum and teaching on both FDa Animation and FDa Web Design.

What FDa Animation offers to its students is very impressive. It’s facilities and resources allow students to animate their ideas in a variety of creative ways that involve both digital and analogue techniques. The quality of the illustration within the pre-production is quite high (better than some illustration degrees I have seen) and it makes sense that the degree name should in time return to reflect this as FDa Animation and Illustration.

The curriculum on FDa Web Design is also impressive. The degree comes to the design of interfaces from a very strong visual communication direction throughout its pre-production, design and implementation stages. This is a very strong (and fairly rare) direction that I applaud. While not a graphic design degree it is a degree that will attract more design-orientated students interested in web and apps design if it is marketed correctly. I agree that to really build on the success it has in educating students ready for employment (its record in this is very good) its name should be changed to FDa Digital Design. With the future

development in its curriculum structure that the team have discussed with me, I believe that as the re-named FDa Digital Design it will keep itself current in a fast-paced industry, while continuing to teach to its strengths. It will then continue to provide that industry with design students who can design beautiful and usable digital interfaces that are coded to work on any digital media.

It had come to my attention from discussions and personal experience that the Wi-Fi needs to be fully accessible as a resource for all the students in the Mandela building, but


part of their studies.

(g) Comments on the use of X-stream (VLE) within the course (if applicable).. The use of student blogs is very productive for reflection and personal professional development.

(h) Module content, consistency of modules and module assessment across the course and the achievement of learning outcomes. (You may be asked by your Faculty to provide detailed comments on the modules that you examine.)

My detailed comments are on the IV forms signed by myself that were collected in at the end of the board so I will only summarise here. Overall the learning outcomes where met and I was particularly impressed how the written feedback reinforces this. It is crucial that in both animation and web design that the staff have opportunities to update their skills to keep current with industry innovations. I’d support any assistance the staff may be given through staff CPD to visit companies, conferences and training that they feel relevant to enable them to do this. This will give Newcastle College a competitive edge in marketing these degrees to new students.

(i) Areas of good practice you have identified – please expand on the key areas for commendation listed in the summary.

FDa Animation

The level of quality in the student pre-production and production work is of a very high standard. At the top level this quality easily surpasses work by some Honours year students, and I’ve seen some Masters level students elsewhere not reach the level of maturity that some of the year 2 students have. Even the weaker students show ability. The showreel, the individual animations, the character designs, storyboards, concept illustrations demonstrate the range of talent that this degree unlocks in those students who take a place on what is an excellent animation degree.

FDa Web Design

The quality level of web and app design work on this degree is also high. It is testament to the relevancy of this degree that not only do it’s students reach a level of maturity in their work, they are also exposed to and conversant in the latest trends that make some of them immediately employable by industry. The degree also engages the digital design students in contributing their visual communication skills throughout the entire interface design process from beginning to end. Excellent. This skillset is often ignored or dismissed in those who believe that graphic design in interface design is just ‘skinning code’ at the end of the programming phase. This degree successfully proves that misconception is out-dated.

(j) The University welcomes external examiners’ comments on its developing academic regulatory framework. Such comments may not have a direct bearing on standards set and achieved or the conduct of processes and so it may not be appropriate to include them elsewhere in this report or its summary. Please record any concerns or comments you may have here.


referencing and citing in their essays they need to ensure it’s done using Harvard. Likewise on the teaching of Contextual Studies it should also ensure student grading reflects this too. I’d recommend two actions for next year: (1) all students to be instructed at the beginning of the module in the use of Harvard as THE referencing system (not just telling them it’s in the handbook) and this be monitored in their tutorials and drafts; and (2) a 3rd line assessor be utilised where there are large discrepancies in grading, and that grade be used to raise/lower the grade before external moderation.

(k) Collaborative Provision: please include here any comments you wish to make on elements of collaborative provision for which you have responsibility (in addition to those you may have indicated previously in this report).


External Examiners’ Report Checklist Please comment for all boxes Course Materials

Did you receive? Yes No N/A

a. Course Handbook(s)? X

b. Academic Regulations including any Professional Statutory Body requirements where appropriate (these may be included the Course Handbook)? X

c. Module specifications (these may be in the Course Handbook)? X

d. Assessment briefs/marking criteria? X

Draft examination papers

Yes No N/A

a. (i) Did you receive all the draft papers? X

(ii) If not, was this at your request? X

b. (i) Was the nature and level of the questions appropriate? X

(ii) If not, were suitable arrangements made to consider your comments? X

c. Were suitable arrangements made to consider your comments? X

Draft coursework

Yes No N/A

a. (i) Did you receive all the draft coursework? X

(ii) If not, was this at your request? X

b. (i) Was the nature and level of the coursework appropriate? X

(ii) If not, were suitable arrangements made to consider your comments? X


Marking Examination Scripts

Yes No N/A

a. (i) Did you receive a sufficient number of scripts from both home and (if appropriate) collaborative partner students? X (ii) If you did not receive all the scripts, was the method of selection satisfactory? X Recommended sample sizes at Leeds Metropolitan University are as follows:

a) Samples should be determined by a square root of cohort size, no smaller than 6, no larger than 15. However it should be borne in mind that not all work is assessed in a way that makes a square root sample possible and allowance should be made. For example in subjects such as the performing arts where there may be a requirement for an external to come and view a performance instead, or to visit the exhibition of art work.

b) Samples to include all classification categories, and it is helpful to concentrate around the boundaries to include some fails.

c) Samples to consist of internally moderated work, clearly evidencing the moderation process.

b. Was the general standard and consistency of marking appropriate? X

c. Were the scripts marked in such a way to enable you to see the reasons for the award of given marks? X Dissertations/project reports

Yes No N/A

a. Was the choice of subjects for dissertations appropriate? X

b. Was the method and standard of assessment appropriate? X

Coursework/continuously assessed work

Yes No N/A

a. Was sufficient coursework made available to you for assessment from both home and (if appropriate) collaborative partner students? X b. Was the method and general standard of marking and consistency satisfactory? X Orals/performances/recitals/appropriate professional placements

Yes No N/A

a. Were suitable arrangements made for you to conduct orals and/or moderate performances/recitals/appropriate professional placements? X

Examination Committee/Board of Examiners

Yes No N/A

a. Were you able to attend the meetings? X

b. Were the meetings conducted to your satisfaction? X




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