module specification

AA3002 - Techniques (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Techniques
Module level Foundation (03)
Credit rating for module 30
School The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
Total study hours 300
150 hours Guided independent study
150 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Portfolio
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Tuesday Afternoon
Year City Friday Morning
Year City Friday Afternoon
Year (Spring and Summer) City Thursday Afternoon
Year City Tuesday Morning

Module summary

This module underpins the skills-based and technical aspects of the work and how media/ materials have been used to resolve ideas. It concerns the quality of making and considerations of care, appropriateness and endeavour. Students will be encouraged to recognise the intrinsic formal and structural qualities of different media as essential elements in visual/ aural communication. The module involves a series of learning experiences introducing and developing many of the key skills and techniques needed for the subject areas.

Module aims

This module aims to introduce students to a broad range of materials, methods, attitudes and processes involved in the subject area. It works in partnership with the Project module in that it helps students to understand and exploit the limitations and potential of selected media, materials and techniques in the development of their own (project) work. It will help students to analyse and evaluate the technical and aesthetic qualities of their work and introduce them to a common vocabulary, core skills and reference models. It will also introduce safe and appropriate workshop practice.


The syllabus covers basic skills in the subject area, providing an overview of current practice and a range of methods, materials and approaches. It is responsive to issues of sustainability, recycling, and the ethical uses of materials and/or media.

Indicative topics of study as appropriate to subject area:

Drawing: observing and recording, thinking and describing, the expressive and the factual.
Painting: supports and grounds, colour, composition, texture, pattern. Form and content.
Printmaking: supports and grounds, colour, composition, texture, pattern. Form and content.
Collage/montage: appropriation, deconstruction, reconstruction, levels of meaning.
3D modelling: mixed media, clay, plaster, moulds. Working in sets and series, generating ideas, function, form and content.
3D construction: fabric, wood, wire, board, metals. Working in sets and series, generating ideas, function, form and content.
Computer imaging: Mac applications, drawing, Photoshop. Levels of meaning.
Typography; fonts, layouts.
Photography: digital and analogue, B/W and colour, framing, printing. Documentary, studio, sequence.
Film, video: cameras, equipment, digital applications. Documentary, drama, narrative and style.

In stage 1, short, diverse and intensive technical classes are delivered across a range of different contexts related to their specific course.

In stage 2, techniques are elective and increasingly area specific.

In stage 3, techniques form the basis for skills, technical and material dimension of the subject specific major project.

Learning and teaching

In stage 1, short, diverse and intensive technical workshops are delivered across a range of different contexts related to their specific area cluster. They introduce a work ethic, experimentation and open mindedness. 

In stage 2, techniques are elective and increasingly area specific.

In stage 3, techniques form the skills based and technical and material dimension of the major project.

The module is delivered through workshops, set exercises and short projects, tutorials, demonstrations, group and self-assessment through displays, comparison and analysis. Group discussions, tutorials and informal feedback, during studio sessions, will give opportunity to reflect upon progress and discuss strategies for developing skills and practice.

Sessions in support of time management and project planning will be included in the module. Students will engage in ongoing self-directed study to enable them to complete required assessment components.

Module information including all assignments, visits and deadlines will also be on Weblearn where student feedback and module participation can also be enhanced as the module moves to address e-learning developments in the faculty.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this module, students should be able to:-

1) Demonstrate technical skills in the use of a range of media, materials, technologies, processes and equipment.
2) Select and develop skills and techniques appropriate to specialist progression opportunities in the Faculty at level 4.
3) Identify and evaluate the technical, functional and aesthetic qualities of their work.
4) Demonstrate practical application of research.
5) Use workshop facilities with awareness of health and safety concerns

Assessment strategy

Assessment for this module involves the submission of 1 component; Portfolio (100%, week 30). Assessment will reflect work undertaken across the module in response to teaching, learning and activities detailed within the module booklet. Learning outcomes are assessed within the Portfolio. Students must achieve a pass overall.

This module is concerned with the development of practical skills and the use of appropriate materials. As such, the Portfolio will normally include: preparatory worksheets, tests, sketches, diagrams and process documentation and sets and series of resolved outcomes in different contexts/specialisms related to their specific course.

Formative feedback will take place throughout the module through set activities and during presentations, tutorials and group discussions. These provide opportunities for students to reflect upon progress and discuss strategies for developing skills and subject area knowledge. Their function is advisory, specifying developmental action to be taken to achieve higher competence.

Summative assessment for this module will take place in week 30. It is important that students engage with the module throughout. Assessment consists of a reflective analysis and synthesis of all work completed. During this module, ongoing individual studentship will be formatively reviewed and structured support for self-directed study will be given.


Introductory projects aim to cover as broad a range of subject practice as possible. Project handouts include additional research and reference material for students to follow up. Later projects become increasingly subject specific and students will be directed through such reading in taught sessions. Journals and periodicals will be essential reading. Electronic databases will be recommended through library inductions and include Art Full Text, Oxford Art Online, BFI Screenonline, DAAI Design and Applied Art Index, Academic Search Primer, JSTOR, Nexis UK, Bridgeman Education, VADS Visual Arts Data Service.

Hughes, R (1991) The Shock of the New, Thames and Hudson.
Berger, J (1991) About Looking, Vintage.     

Bennet, Grossberg, Morris (2005) New Keywords, Blackwell
Monaco, J (2009) How to read a film: movies, media and beyond, OUP

Music Technology:
Huber  & Runstein (2013) Modern Recording Techniques, Focal Press

Branston, D (2010) Visual conversation,  AVA
Fischer,V (1998) Design and Industry now, Pressdale
Lefteri, C (2012) Making It: Manufacturing Techniques for Product Design, London: Laurence King.
McDowell, C. (2013) The Anatomy of Fashion: Why We Dress the Way We Do, London: Phaidon.
Usborne, D. (2010) Objectivity: A Designer's Book of Curious Tools, London: Thames & Hudson.

Architecture/Interior Design:
Ching, F D. K. Dai-Kam F (1996) Architectural graphics Van Nostrand Reinhold
Ching, F D. K., Dai-Kam F, Adams C (2001) Building construction illustrated- John Wiley
Ching, F D. K. Dai-Kam F (1987) Interior design illustrated Van Nostrand Reinhold
Tufte, R.E (1997) Visual Explanations, Graphic Press
Tufte, R.E (1990) Envisioning Information, Graphic Press