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Assessing Both Technical And Artistic Skills In Digital Media Courses Within A Technology Program

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.264.1 - 12.264.23



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Paper Authors

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Cher Cornett East Tennessee State University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Assessing Both Technical and Artistic Skills in Digital Media Courses within a Technology Program

Abstract Digital media courses are usually found in art or communications departments where the instructional emphasis is weighted toward artistic and creative aspects of project development. In digital media courses offered in departments oriented to the technical professions, such as computer science and engineering technology, the instructional emphasis is usually on technical skills. Regardless of where these courses are housed, graduates working in animation, 3D visualization, and interactive media fields are finding that an ability to apply both technical and creative skills is necessary. This presents challenges in classrooms where students range from the "very artistic/somewhat technical" to the "very technical/somewhat artistic", not least of which is how to assess projects in which both technical and artistic skills must be demonstrated.

There is often a negative perception of the critique process as being purely subjective. This “that’s-just-the-teacher’s-opinion” perception often becomes the stopping point in attempts to get students to recognize critique as part of an iterative development of a design solution. How we handle this assessment can be the difference between a student seeing critique as truly constructive criticism, or merely a matter of opinion.

This researcher has developed a comprehensive method that addresses both objective and subjective criteria while giving students confidence in the validity of the critique. In this method, peer and instructor feedback is given informally as students develop their ideas, and formally at project completion with a traditional class critique. This is followed by completion of an on-line form incorporating Rikert scales and comment fields for specific criteria. Works being evaluated are also posted so students can view each piece as they complete the form. Results are compiled into a database, and a password protected report is automatically generated for each student showing the average ranking for each question and compiled comments. Anonymity is preserved, allowing students a comfortable way to provide honest feedback to classmates. Students can use this report to guide revisions to their work, and the instructor can use it to evaluate how the class, and each student, understands the principles being taught, and how their abilities to think critically are developing.

By tracking averages of student evaluations over several years, it has been found that peer feedback and instructor feedback closely correlate, providing affirmation of the critique to the student, and support for the final grade.

Creative Critique vs. Objective Scoring

Critique is the traditional means used to provide constructive analysis and advice to students. The typical process involves in-class discussion where everyone present has an opportunity to offer verbal feedback intended to help each student understand how well their work demonstrates skills they are learning. i

In many digital media courses offered in art departments, the instructional emphasis is weighted heavily toward the creative. In these courses, traditional in-class critique of creative assignments

Cornett, C. (2007, June), Assessing Both Technical And Artistic Skills In Digital Media Courses Within A Technology Program Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2906

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