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Visual Communication courses

Guidelines for submission for formal assessment

Look at OCAs Student Support Guide Assessments and how to get qualified, available to download from, OCAs student website: This will tell you about the assessment process. Also look out for videos and other tips on assessment that are posted on Look out for updates on these guidelines on About assessment at OCA
Assessment events take place three times a year at OCA head office, where a range of tutors gather to look at work submitted for formal assessment. The assessment process involves your work being marked by one assessor and then moderated by another assessor. The average amount of time spent reviewing each submission at assessment is 45 minutes, but this may increase at level 3 (HE6). The assessment process is validated by an external examiner who observes the assessment and reviews a sample of the submissions. The resulting marks are provisional. The marks are then confirmed by an exam board convened by the validating university, UCA.

Preparing for assessment

Your assessment submission will draw on the assignments, exercises and research tasks you undertook as part of your course, including your sketchbooks and other preparatory work, your learning log (documenting and reflecting on your learning). Your tutor will have provided feedback on your potential to succeed at assessment, highlighting certain areas you may need to focus on. You may submit your work as a physical portfolio with sketchbooks, digitally as computer files or as a blog, or a combination of these methods. To get the most out of the formal assessment process it is important to present your work well. This means taking care to select work that shows off the best of your abilities, using a suitable format to present your selection. It is also important to provide some context (written explanation) to your selection.

Reflect on your course

Take the opportunity to reflect on your course as a whole and identify the work you have produced that you feel is the strongest. You may want to reflect on your tutors feedback and your own learning log to help you identify this work. Remember that your best work might not necessarily be your finished assignments, sometimes it can be elements of your preparatory work or responses to your exercises. If you have time prior to assessment, you may want to rework some of your pieces.

Context and evaluation

It is useful to provide some context to the work you have selected to help tutors identify which assignments or exercises they belong to, but also to provide a sense of your thinking on the selection process. It is good practice to submit a short evaluation that summarizes your overall experience of the course, reflections on your learning as a whole, and your preparation for assessment. Your evaluation should be no more than one side of A4 or around 500 words. Your submission will also need to include other work produced as part of the course as well as your learning log. It is important to present these in a way that makes it easy for tutors to access and understand your work. You should use the structure of the course projects, exercises and assignments as a template to structure your submission.

Your learning log

Your learning log is an important part of the assessment submission. Given the time tutors have available to assess your work, it may not be possible to read the entire log, therefore it is a good idea to provide a summary evaluation at key stages of your course. Producing a summary evaluation is a good opportunity to read through your own learning log, reflecting on your experiences and picking out important stages in your development. You may want assessors to work through your log project by project and produce a written summary, or simply find a way of drawing tutors attentions to key passages in your learning log. The professionalism of your presentation is important and you will lose marks for poor presentation. You may consult your tutor if you feel unsure about what to include in your submission based on your strengths and weaknesses or how you go about presenting your work.

Presentation of paper submissions

Include a clear contents list with your assessment submission. All your work must be clearly labelled, stating which assignment it relates to and with your name and student number on every item you submit.

Your overall submission may not weigh more than 20 kg.

Any submission in excess of 20 kg will incur a surcharge for additional postage and admin.

Digital Submissions
At Levels one and two (but not three), your entire submission, if you wish, and if it is appropriate for your work, may be digital. If you intend to submit in this way, please submit a memory stick with the contents on it, or refer OCA to the url. Please note that all written work (apart from tutor reports, learning logs and blogs) submitted for assessment MUST be submitted digitally as well as printed out and submitted on paper along with the rest of your submission. Digital work should be submitted to, clearly stating your name, student

number, the course name and what the digital work attached is (eg critical review, essay etc) This is a requirement and is to enable OCA to carry out plagiarism checks on work, and a requirement of our validation with the University for the Creative Arts. If you are submitting an entirely digital portfolio on CD or a USB stick, or entirely via a blog, only a sustained piece of writing (such as an essay or critical review) needs to be sent to as well as printed out and submitted for assessment in hard copy. If you are submitting work on a USB stick or a CD please ensure you check it thoroughly for viruses before you send it in.

Requirements at each level

Level one (HE level 4)
All five assignments A selection of the best of your other work, (max 10 drawings) plus supporting work Your sketchbooks (max of six) Your learning log and/or url to your learning blog Copies of your tutor reports

Important note about Assignment one for level one courses. Although Assignment one is not formally assessed component of the course, the assessors do want to see it, so that they gain a comprehensive view of your development. So, if you are applying for formal assessment, do send assignment one in with all the others.

Level two (HE level 5)

All the assignments A selection of the best of your other work, (max 10 drawings) plus supporting work Your sketchbooks (Max of six) Your learning log and/or url to your learning blog A 2,000 word critical review on a designer/illustrator/design/art movement of your choice (send both physical and digital copies) Copies of your tutor reports Your tutor reports

Level three (HE level 6)

All the assignments A selection of the best of your other work, up to a maximum of ten drawings, plus any supporting work or studies Your sketchbooks (Max of six) Your learning log and/or url to your learning blog A 3,500 word critical review on a designer/illustrator/art movement of your choice (send both physical and digital copies) You must also submit copies of all your tutor report forms at each level

If your tutor has annotated your written work, then you must submit the annotated version of the written work as well as the final version. Students may consult with their tutor if they feel unsure about what to include in their submission based on their strengths and weaknesses and also for guidance on presentation methods.

Present your work in a suitable portfolio.

For paper-based work use either an A3 or A4 ring bound or loose-leaf portfolio, commonly used by graphic designers, illustrators and other visual communication professionals. The scale of your work should determine the size of the portfolio. You may want to consider constructing a digital portfolio as a PDF document, series of blog posts or other suitable digital format. Equally, you may want to print and bind your own portfolio.

Portfolios and packaging

The best are polylite portfolios made of lightweight sturdy corrugated plastic. These portfolios are spacious and boxlike with plastic catches that can be taped up. These are generally robust and spacious enough for all student requirements as well as cheaper to post. They are also cheaper than other portfolios. We do not recommend using leather or leatherette portfolios which are heavy, nor the use of plastic sleeves which create reflection on work. Transporting any work that is too big to go in a plastic portfolio, either because its too thick, too long or wide, or 3D in nature, should be boxed separately and securely, labelled and added to your contents list. Please do not wrap up work in your own makeshift portfolios, since this often involves OCA having to re-wrap and repair them, and they are often heavier to post.

Clarification on presentation of work when studying multiple courses

If you are studying more than one OCA course at the same time, you must ensure that your work on the courses you are studying do not overlap in any way. You must keep separate learning logs, demonstrating that the research you do is specifically for each of the courses. It is essential that when you present your work for assessment that it is clear which work relates to which course. There must be a discrete set of work for each course so that the assessors are clear what they are assessing. Students cannot present the same piece of work for marks on two different units. However, if a students is studying two units at the same time and doing general sketchbook work for example, to support both units, this person can submit the sketchbooks for both units as evidence of background research.