module specification

AA3002 - Techniques (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title Techniques
Module level Foundation (03)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 300
81 hours Guided independent study
219 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Portfolio/ Exhibition
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Friday Afternoon
Year City Tuesday Afternoon
Year City Thursday Afternoon
Year City Monday Afternoon

Module summary

The Techniques module delivers the skills-based, technical aspects of creative practices in relation having, developing and resolving ideas through processes towards media/material outcomes. It concerns the quality of making, considerations of care, appropriateness and endeavour. It encourages recognition of the intrinsic formal and structural qualities of different media as essential elements in visual/aural communication. The module involves a series of learning experiences that introduce and develop many of the key skills and techniques needed for a range of making practices across various subject areas; the outcomes are in the context of and further developed in close relation with the Project module.

The Techniques module introduces a wide range of materials, methods, techniques and processes to make work in a broad sense. It is closely aligned with the Project module to develop understanding of the limitations and potential of selected media, materials and techniques in the development project work. Responsible attitudes aligned to ethical and professional contexts are applied and considered in relation to imaginative experimentation and exploitation for innovation.

The Techniques module links the analysis and evaluation of technical quantitative properties with qualitative aesthetic discernment and judgment and introduces a common vocabulary, technical/professional language, core skills and reference models. It introduces safe and appropriate studio/workshop/site practice.


The syllabus covers basic skills in various subject-areas; 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. The Techniques module is closely aligned to the Project module that delivers the context and purpose for making.

Drawing studies: Observing and recording; thinking and describing; generating and developing ideas; expressing the factual and the technical. (LO1, LO2)

Two dimensional studies: Painting, printmaking, collage, typography; composition. (LO1, LO2)

Three dimensional studies: cast, waste, form and construct; modelling, assemblage, composition. (LO1, LO2)

Media studies: photography, film, sound, animation. (LO1, LO2)

Workshops: processes and practices. (LO1, LO4)

Group presentations: review and critique. (LO3, LO4)

Presenting techniques in a portfolio of work: Documentation, layout/presentation. (LO3, LO4)

In stage 1 there are short, diverse and intensive technical task-based classes in a range of different contexts related to subject area practices.

In stage 2 there are short introductory projects that refer to subject areas and further specialism or broadening of experience.

In stage 3 the development of technical skill and familiarity with material informs choices of a subject area focussed longer, self-defined and managed project.

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Scheduled teaching ensures that independent study is effective and addresses the learning outcomes and assessment tasks. Students are expected to, and have the opportunity to, continue with their studies outside of scheduled classes. A range of learning strategies are deployed and individual learning styles are accommodated. The module learning outcomes, its contents and delivery, are scrutinised and regularly reviewed to ensure an inclusive approach to pedagogic practice.

The module and course utilise the University’s blended learning platform to support and reinforce learning; to foster peer-to-peer communication and facilitate tutorial support for students. Reflective learning is promoted through assessment items and formative feedback at regular points that ask students to reflect on their progress, seek help where they identify the opportunity for improvement in learning strategies and outcomes, and make recommendations to themselves for future development.

Throughout the module, students build a body of work, including reflections on progress and achievement. The School’s programme of employability events and embedded work-related learning in UG subject areas supports students’ personal development planning. Through these initiatives, students are increasingly able, as they progress through the year, to understand the professional environment of their disciplines, the various opportunities available to them, and how to shape their learning according to their ambitions.

Learning outcomes

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

1) acquire and develop technical skills for use in relation to different media, materials, technologies, processes, equipment and contexts; including health and safety requirements;

2) identify, explore and evaluate relations between the technical, functional, conceptual and aesthetic aspects of their own and others’ work;

3) describe, document and present the transformative stages of their own work in a clear and organised form;

4) acquire and develop a common vocabulary, core skills, methods and reference models and apply these in specific technical and creative contexts.

Assessment strategy

Assessment for the Techniques module involves the submission of one component as part of an assessment exhibition; Portfolio/exhibition (100%, week 28). Assessment reflects 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 receive a pass overall.

The focus of the module is the development of effective practical skills, techniques and the use of materials. The Portfolio includes: preparatory worksheets presenting descriptions of process using text, image and diagrams eg stages of making, material choices, tests, sets and series of resolved outcomes in relation to a range of subject areas and towards a specialism.

Formative feedback is given during ‘set’ activities and group discussions; and for presentations and tutorials. These provide opportunities to reflect on progress and discuss strategies for developing skills/discipline knowledge. The formative feedback is advice and guidance; specifying developmental action to improve quality and/or quantity of coursework.

Summative assessment reflects engagement with the module throughout; ongoing individual studentship is formatively reviewed and structured support for self-directed study given. The portfolio for assessment consists of a developing synthesis of techniques with the project work and a reflective commentary.


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 and through Weblearn.

Core Texts:
Ching, F. D. K. and Dai-Kam, F. (1987) Interior design illustrated, Van Nostrand Reinhold
Ching, F. D. K. and Dai-Kam, F. (1996) Architectural graphics, Van Nostrand Reinhold
Dunn, N. (2010) Architectural Model-making, Laurence King
Sheil, R. (2005) Design through Making, Wiley-Academy
Schilling, A. (2006) Model-building, Birkhäuser GmbH

Lefteri, C. (2012) Making It: Manufacturing Techniques for Product Design, Laurence King
Edwards, B. (1980) Drawing on the right side of the Brain, Harper Collins
Wilson, K. (2017) Drawing and Painting: Materials and Techniques for contemporary artists, Thames and Hudson.

Hampe, B. (2007) Making documentary films and videos: a practical guide to planning, filming, and editing documentaries, Routledge
Purves, B. (2014) Stop-motion animation: frame by frame film-making with puppets and models, Fairchild Books

Prendergast, J. (2014) Sewing Techniques: an introduction to construction skills within the design process, Bloomsbury Academic

Other Texts:
Usborne, D. (2010) Objectivity: A Designer's Book of Curious Tools, Thames and Hudson
Eissen, K. and Steur, R. (2011) Sketching: the basics, BIS
Huber, D. and Runstein, R. (2013) Modern Recording Techniques, Focal Press


YouTube – direction from taught sessions and through Weblearn
Vimeo – direction from taught sessions and through Weblearn

Electronic Databases:
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.

References and examples of relevant creative practice are available through the Weblearn online course materials system.

Social Media Sources
Cass Foundation Course Twitter @foundation_cass & Instagram @cassfoundation