International Journal of Art & Design Education

The Virtual Studio

Volume 22.3   2003



Like many other HE institutions, De Montfort University in Leicester has been experimenting with the use of virtual, on-line learning and teaching delivery and support in response to by now familiar pressures. These include growth in student numbers, widening access, reduction in unit costs, and increased need for flexibility of provision and constructivist ideas about learning. This paper reports on one of these experiments in detail: the creation of a simulated, online photography studio. The move to a virtual simulated studio entailed a radical rethink of the module learning outcomes and activities. Evaluation of the virtual studio reveals that while staff required a very high investment of time and commitment, significant savings have been achieved in delivery and student support costs without a reduction in student performance or satisfaction levels. Additional, less tangible, benefits include increases in staff skills and a strong positive impact on academic/technical staff working relationships.