What is it?
The Forum Live Hangout is a collaborative digital space generously overseen by photography tutor Clive White and is chaired by a voluntary student. It is held every two weeks on a Sunday with alternating start times of 11am and 6pm (UK time). This hangout is open to all students at all levels who wish to actively engage with their peers in the discussion of various topics/ questions and a place to seek feedback on work in progress whether in its infancy or almost complete. The experience adds an additional layer of learning, feedback and reflective practice, a valuable opportunity to gain insight into other students thoughts, ideas and working practice.
Hangouts can be daunting at first but the environment is very relaxed and friendly. There are no expectations – you do not need to put work in progress forward for feedback or even put forward a topic or question or even pass comment. But it would be great to see more students actively engage by putting forward work, asking questions and putting topics forward.
But don’t take my word for it…
‘It’s from an initiative by Jesse* to expand the OCA’s offering; applying the successful one to one video tutorial model in a wider holistic setting which doesn’t atomise the community by Level or course.
It’s the forum, which is available to all students, in a live format. The topics can be as diverse as anything posted on the forum. There are no expectations of the participants, they don’t have to have work to show, or have a question or even have a topic they’re anxious to discuss. They just bring themselves.
What is important though is that the students own it, as they should all their learning. It’s not an entertainment put on by the OCA for students. The content and nature is entirely decided by the participants. I see my role as to be there to provide the perspective of a tutor and assessor to help students better understand the whole nature of the tutorial support and the expectations in assessment and to provide as authoritative guidance as I can.’ OCA tutor Clive White.
“The Live Forum for me is a valuable additional layer of the OCA Forum which has over time become an integral part of my overall study, development and practice both working and reflective.
In the world of distance learning it is so easy to hide away, something that I find a great comfort in, it is my natural comfort zone. But my desire to complete the degree pathway along side my motivation to develop myself and my working practice has made me challenge this comfort zone.
By contributing on the OCA Forum and in the OCA Live Forum on a regular basis I have started to build self confidence, I am beginning to openly articulate and discuss ideas, thoughts and views on a range of topics, subjects has well has commenting on student work placed up for feedback not just via text but more importantly in a group face to face hangout environment.
This mix of varying levels, disciplines and peers overseen and guided by experienced tutors/ assessors has exposed me to another layer of networking, learning, personal development and practice – reflective and working which cannot be seen or experienced in book.
Yes it has been uncomfortable and at times frustrating but it is ultimately rewarding.” OCA student Alan.
“During my OCA studies I found it tremendously beneficial for my practice and coursework to get inspired by others across disciplines. Especially, talking with a wide range of students and with input from tutors opens up new perspectives for me and goes beyond technical aspects of one discipline.
To open my work for peer feedback and crit can make one quite nervous. Especially, when it is work in progress. To have the opportunity in a life hangout with a friendly and openness atmosphere and with Clive as tutor adding an experienced voice, I discovered that everybody is on the same page. To receive and to provide feedback of whatever one felt about the work, any emotional or contextual responses do add value. A very constructive environment and second only to real life events like study visits.
I constantly learn new things, find new contextual references, new ideas, and new ways of expressing myself through online discussions. Students own the event with rotating chairing. To take this as one aspect of my learning and reflecting on it in my learning log supported me to become braver and less isolated.” OCA student Stefan.
“I enjoy talking about ideas, other artists and engaging with other student’s work. When you are a distance learner it’s hard to find informed alternative opinions. One of the reasons I come to the discuss forum is to have my ideas challenged and learn new ways of thinking about the world. The forum live allows me to put faces to the people I encounter, which makes the process much less daunting. Over time you get to know the work of your peers and that makes me feel part of something much larger.” OCA student Emma.
“For me, the forum live has lessened the isolation often felt with distance learning, allowed me to put faces to written student content on the OCA Forum, to gain a different perspective from my own viewpoint as well as widening my knowledge within the broader arts. It was daunting to start but every bit worthwhile.” OCA student Nicola.
If you are interested in joining in the forum live hangout head on over to the OCA discuss forum to find out more.
*Jesse Alexander – former Programme Leader for Photography.