The education quality work at the Norwegian Film School

Ever since the establishment of the Norwegian Film School in 1997, the educational quality has been an integrated part of the school's daily activities. With our small study environment we are very concerned about the individual student's professional and artistic development, and also have the opportunity to follow this up directly, both with the individual and in groups.

Evaluation routines

To ensure an education of high quality, there are continuous, extensive professional and pedagogical evaluations of the various disciplines, including the study programmes, individual workshops and classes, production exercises, as well as semester evaluations.

 

These evaluations are continuously discussed among the teaching staff, and to a considerable degree they have helped guide the adjustments made with the aim of concentrating the pedagogical focus and professional and artistic progression, both for the school as a whole as well as the discipline-specific education.

 

In the course of an average semester the individual students will write 8-12 evaluations of courses and workshops – both about the content of the course and their own benefit from it. In connection to semester evaluations the Head Tutors give each student individual feedback and evaluations.

 

The evaluation routines are different for the various departments, depending on their specific challenges, but the primary features are as follows:

 

  • All workshops and classes are evaluated orally or in writing by the students in accordance with a common template. These evaluations are delivered to the Head Tutor, who passes them on to the Head of Studies. Evaluations of courses that involve all departments, and of production exercises are conducted by the Head of Studies.
  • At the end of each semester the individual students perform an extensive self-evaluation of learning benefits and their artistic development and efforts so far in the programme. This most often takes place in an in-depth conversation with the Head Tutor, where feedback to the student also occurs.
  • At the end of each semester the students of each study programme deliver a collective evaluation of the semester. This is given in writing, signed by a representative of the students and by the Head Tutor. The content of the evaluation is worked out by all the students in co-operation with the Head Tutor.
  • About halfway during the three-year programme there are individual conversations lasting 30-45 minutes between each individual student and the Dean. In connection to this conversation each student answers a questionnaire about how satisfied he or she is with the school and the education. This form is confidential, but summaries are shared and discussed with the teaching staff.

 

A very important tool is the students' use of statements of intent. During the study all the disciplines are undertaking a number of production exercises –  “penneprøver” or ”pen tests” – and during each pen test all the students writes a statement of intent where they describe what they want to achieve with this production exercise, and what learning benefits they hope to attain through their own work on the exercise. The statements of intent then form the basis for the evaluation of team pen tests, and through these, there is an emphasis on the students' awareness of their own development and learning goals. The statement of intent for each team member will be read aloud in a plenary session at the screening of the completed production exercise, and all comments and feedback use the statements of intent as a point of departure.

 

Additionally, all students deliver a confidential written evaluation at the end of each pen test, which is only read by the Dean and the Head of Studies. A summary of these evaluations are discussed among the teaching staff before the terms for the next pen test are decided.

 

The education quality process

As suggested above, there is a continuous evaluation/judgement of the education. The Dean and the Head of Studies, in co-operation with the teaching staff, use this to continuously evaluate and improve the education. Evaluations and feedback from students and employees are continuously discussed and may influence both the current class' future study, and provide guidelines for planning the education of future classes.

 

During all discussions there is a great emphasis on the students' artistic and professional development, and the main goal of the measures that are taken is to further this development. One element that is subject to recurring discussion is the needs of this specific group of students. In an arts education like this, the education must be flexible enough to give the collected student group challenges that are tailored to further their development in the best possible way. At the same time, education, like films, depends on careful planning. This will create a few challenges.

 

Generally, these challenges are solved by the teaching staff, as they discuss semester plans that have been drafted by the Head of Studies. By necessity, these semester plans are based on the description of the Bachelor's programme for the Film School and these are adjusted based on the experiences from the previous class of students who went through the corresponding semester, and, in the case of the second or third year, the progression that the current class have shown.

 

When the teaching staff have agreed upon a structure for the semester, as well as the placement of the general and discipline-specific education and the pen tests, the semester plan is laid and presented to the students. In semester 1 the students receive the plan on their first school day. In the next semesters they get the plan for the next semester on the last school day of the current semester.

 

During a film shoot the shooting plan is a dynamic, never a static document. This is the case at the Norwegian Film School too. The plan is continuously adjusted, often in response to feedback from students, and when such adjustments are made the very greatest consideration is to chart the students' progression through evaluations, assessments and recurring discussions within the teaching staff. All adjustments are made within the logistical framework decided by the semester plan.

 

Student participation

In addition to the influence the students exert on the education through their evaluation, there are the following forums for participation in the education at the Film School:

 

  • Coordinator meetings(department meetings) – at departments having a single instructor in a 100% position (currently only the Department of Screenwriting) students have almost daily contact with the Head Tutor both in formal and informal settings. Here the students always have the opportunity to offer thoughts on how the education is proceeding. Where the instructional load is is split among several individuals, the department has a co-ordinator who holds weekly meetings with the students. The main goal is to discuss any issues that concern the department's everyday life, as regards timetables, study environment and so on. The students may also invite the Head of Studies to these meeting if they so wish.
  • Semester meeting with the Dean– at the end of each semester all students are invited to a meeting with the Dean of the Norwegian Film School. Before this meeting everyone must provide a confidential (read only by the Dean) evaluation of the semester, which forms the basis for the discussion. These gatherings last about three hours.
  • Representatives at the Department Advisory Board– This board at the Norwegian Film School consists of employee representatives, three external members appointed by the organisations of the film industry, and two student representatives. The latter two are elected at the start of each semester in an election organised by the students themselves. All changes to the Film School's study plans, in addition to strategic plans for the future of the programmes, are passed by this board before they become final.

 

In addition to these formal forums the Dean, the Head of Studies and the Department Co-Ordinator are practising a confirmed “open door policy” where students are encouraged to come to discuss anything concerning the progress of their education. This is an often-used opportunity.

 

Sist oppdatert: Tor Magne Roaldseth 10.06.2016

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