Tuesday, 5 June 2012

PDP - June 2012

David Quin – PDP May 2012

The Influence and Impact of My Professional Experience

I’ve worked in Animation for almost 30 years. My professional experience stretches back to producing tv series on 16mm film for RTE. Joining my father’s animation company in my twenties, we were first to introduce many animation techniques into Ireland (stopmotion and Claymation amongst them). In the 1990’s, I switched from film production to digital video and then to full Computer Generated Imagery (CGI), once again leading the way in animation at a national level. I introduced CGI to Brown Bag Films and became that company’s first CGI Technical Director. Since finishing with Brown Bag in 2006 I’ve returned primarily to stopmotion, directing and animating three award-winning short films, and producing a satirical internet series (‘cutbacks’). Over the next few years, I will work my way back towards tv production.

Since 1999 I’ve lectured on the Animation Course, in IADT’s National Film School. I completed a BA (Hons) in Digital Media in Wolverhampton University in 2002 and AIT’s Teaching and Learning Certificate in 2010. I have since completed a DCU E-teaching Special Purpose Award, as well as embarking upon a DCU E-assessment SPA, a LIN DIT PDP Module and a WIT Mentoring Module. I am currently a Pt. 7 Assistant Lecturer, teaching fulltime hours on a CID. I am a member of IADT’s Academic Council and our Teaching and Learning Committee.

All of my professional experience, from film production to my internet series of today, feeds directly into my role as a Film and Media lecturer, demanding that I (like my students) remain very much an active, learning reflective practitioner.

My Conceptualisation of Teaching and Learning

Like most lecturers, I started lecturing without having been ‘taught to teach’. At first, I found that there was great need to engage in basic discipline-based ‘knowledge transfer’. Since starting on the AIT Cert, my Teaching and Learning perspectives have broadened, giving me some theoretical base and convincing me that my challenge now is to guide learners towards their full potentials using Constructivist, Social Constructivist and Situative Teaching and Learning. I’m currently making great efforts to get my students to self-assess, peer-assess and group work as a key part of their Learning.

As David Nicol (2010), Professor of Higher Education, University of Strathclyde says… ‘If you really want to improve learning, get students to give one another feedback. Giving feedback is cognitively more demanding than receiving feedback. That way, you can accelerate learning.’

I see great opportunities and challenges in the use of eLearning tools, environments, assessment and feedback. Through our VLE, I use Classroom Assessment Techniques such as Minute Papers and Process Self Analysis and Peer Analysis to monitor what students are learning and what they’re struggling with. As Diane Kelly (2005-1 p.79) points out, the CAT information gathered provides valuable input to all lecturers about what is working and what needs to be changed in their teaching in order to enhance student learning.

Eric Mazur's notion of 'the better you know something, the more difficult it becomes to teach' may often be true. However, in many of my modules, I've come to assume that the subject (especially the students' entry into the subject) remains challenging, fluid and will always present Teaching and Learning difficulties.

Though I continue to learn, I am now a relatively experienced lecturer. I do what I can to Mentor younger, less experienced colleagues, to develop my course and my Institute and to share Teaching lessons with colleagues from other Institutes and Universities, through the NDLR, through presentations, workshops and Brown Bag talks. This activity further broadens my perspectives and feeds back into the development of my lecturing, as well as giving me a strong sense of our lecturing and industry ‘community of practice’.

Because our media environment is mutating rapidly, I make few assumptions about our subject area and I recognise that it’s a complex, multidisciplinary challenge for anyone to learn, or for anyone to remain up to speed. As Martin Dyke, Gráinne Conole et al point out ‘Our technological age, which Giddens (1999) refers to as a ‘run away world’ is characterised by rapid change that forces people to respond and reflect on new information that guides their actions. Such transformation of information is the juncture at which learning flourishes.’ In our Animation course, we have a high degree of curricular autonomy. We change what we do in an ongoing effort to make things better. What are our Key Performance Indicators? We measure the success of our graduates and alumni – are they working in our industry? Are they making their own films, starting their own projects? Are they successfully going on to postgrad study in Film and Media? In short, have we given them the core skills and the agility to enjoy a lifetime’s work in our discipline?

My PDP targets?

  1. As well as continuing to build my weekly internet series, I will continue to produce at least one short film each year. I am working to get back into tv production, producing series for children. This will take time to achieve. In the long-term, I am determined to direct my own animated feature films. This too will take some time to accomplish.
  2. I look forward to my successful completion of my current DCU EAssessment Module, my DIT LIN PDP Module and my WIT Mentoring Module.
  3. I want to continue to develop my Teaching and Learning practice within IADT, further developing our Animation course and moving towards the creation of Special Purpose Awards, Lifelong Learning Flexible Access opportunities, and Post Graduate opportunities serving New Cohorts of learners.
  4. Beyond that… I am strongly minded to attempt an APEL Masters based on my Industrial (Animation) experience. This would necessitate writing a Critical Analysis of my work, clearly spelling out the learning that took place through my career. I will need to find a sponsoring Institute. A panel of peers will need to examine and approve my application. I would set Summer 2013 as my target for this Masters?
  5. I will soon have earned 40 Level 9 ECTS credits in Teaching and Learning subjects. I would like to negotiate a pathway (again with a sponsoring Institute) to complete a Teaching and Learning Masters, probably conducting a piece of T+L research and writing in Animation Teaching and Learning. I would set Summer 2014 as my target for this Masters. I want my research to feed directly back into my lecturing practice and the development of our courses.  It is not enough for me to ‘know facts and to understand relations for the sake of knowledge. We want to know and understand in order to be able to act and act “better” than we did before.’ (Langeveld 1965: 4). As Boyer (1990:15–16) asserts… ‘Scholars are academics who conduct research, publish, and then perhaps convey their knowledge to students or apply what they have learned. The latter functions grow out of scholarship, they are not to be considered part of it. But knowledge is not necessarily developed in such a linear manner. The arrow of causality, can, and frequently does, point in both directions. Theory surely leads to practice. But practice also leads to theory. And teaching, at its best, shapes both research and practice.’

  1. In the long-term, I aim to complete a PhD (possibly in Teaching and Learning).


Boyer, E. (1990). ‘Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate’. San Francisco: Jossey–Bass. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Conole, Gráinne,  Dyke, Martin (Eds) (2007) ‘Contemporary Perspectives in E-Learning Research’. London: Routledge.

Crisp, Geoffrey (2007) ‘the e-Assessment Handbook’. London: Continuum International Publishing Group.

Giddens, A. (1999) ‘Runaway World: How Globalization is Reshaping Our Lives’. London: Profile.

Kelly, Diane (2005) ‘Do you know what your students are learning? Or do you really care?’ Dublin: Aishe (2005-1 p.79).

Langeveld, M.J. (1965) ‘In Search of Research’, Paedagogica Europoea: The European Year Book of Educational Research, vol 1. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Mazur, Eric ‘Confessions of A Converted Lecturer’ (video 2009) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwslBPj8GgI

Nicol, D. (2010a) ‘The foundation for graduate attributes: Developing self-regulation through self and peer assessment’ University of Strathclyde, Glasgow: reap.ac.uk

Nicol, D. (2010b) ‘From monologue to dialogue: Improving written feedback in mass higher education, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education’, 35(5), 501–517 (Abstract text) University of Strathclyde, Glasgow: reap.ac.uk

Other Sources…



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