Assignment 6

Preparing for Assessment


brief – introduction –  course reflectionsubmission plan  – appendices


[This assignment takes a different format to the others. The creation of a Plan for Final Assessment (FA) of LPE and the tutor’s response triggers the invitation to submit for FA under the new arrangements. That plan will be formulated below and submitted once complete, anticipating a FA in March 2023.]

brief – introduction –  course reflectionsubmission plan  – appendices


[11Oct22] My understanding of the current assessment arrangements is as follows:

Assessment is now by OCA invitation on a specific date rather than student choice on the “next or next+1” assessment date. The invitation will follow “submission of all assignments to your tutor and receipt of their feedback” . The three submission deadlines are 14th October 2022 (passed), 10th February 2023 and 2nd June 2023. I need to submit this Assignment 6, Preparing for Assessment, and receive tutor feedback in order to be invited by 20th January 2023 to submit by 10th February with results by 27th March 2023 (Smith, 2022). This information is stated in full in Appendix 1.

The assessment criteria have been replaced by learning outcomes (LOs). There are specific LOs for each course and associated guidance. The operative LOs for LPE found online are shown in Appendix 2 (OCA n.d.#1), accessible via the Assessment Padlet (OCA, 2022).
I found clarification on each LO at the beginning of the course in a document Course Guide for assessment of Photography units at this address,

but the link is now dead and a search for that document and sensible variants in OCA Learn returns nothing. The LOs themselves in the lost document are identical to those in Appendix 2 (OCA n.d.#1) and it is reasonable to suppose that the guidelines will be very similar: therefore these are shown in Appendix 2 and will be used in building my FA Submission.

This is made entirely online via the “G Drive” made available to students several weeks before the submission deadline and should comprise
1. A course reflection of 750 words
2. All the assignment feedback (I included both the originals and my annotated versions last time)
3. Two or three pieces of work intended to demonstrate progress on each of the LOs.
4. A portfolio of visual work.
5. The Assignment 4 essay, with a plagiarism check.
6. A guidance document to aid assessors’ navigation of the submission.

This list has been arrived at from a combination of the Smith I&P guidance that I used for my last submission (Smith, 2021) and Appendix 3 below (OCA n.d.#2). I have also written a book for each course since C&N but this has never yet been completed in time for submission.
See Appendix 3 (OCA n.d.#2).

This is now given under three categories, knowledge, understanding & application. There is a detailed explanation here, and Christian Lloyd stated in a post dated 26th April 2022,

we’ve moved away from giving numbers for each criteria. Instead you’ll find that your summative feedback will indicate, through it’s use of language, which grade banding you fall into … The reason for the change is to make our assessment more holistic. This means assessors have more flexibility in how they reward your accomplishments. Instead of an exact number, say 55, they will provide an indication of your banding, eg. within the 50-59 banding. Moving away from an exact number allows for more movement within the criteria. This approaches enables higher marks as a whole.

Lloyd, 2022

brief – introduction –  course reflectionsubmission plan  – appendices


The Course

[10Oct]The main thrust of the course is an emphasis on the importance of the social, political and ecological aspects of landscape photography: there is a corresponding disapproval of depicting the sublime, the beautiful and the picturesque in the genre.

While the more serious uses of landscape photography are undeniably important, there are, nevertheless aesthetic and social roles for the lighter side. Fay Godwin’s views on the picturesque are quoted (LPE, p.108) and this leads to a sustained and repeated criticism of postcards, which seem to symbolise Godwin’s anathema. This is (in my view) unnecessary and largely unjustified and I wrote at length in Part 3 In Defence of Postcards, concluding that “most postcards are benign, documentary images” (Part 3 Exercise 2). This led to the birth of 26 diners and motels in Newport, after Ed Ruscha, built on postcards from eBay, that remains work in progress.

I enjoyed and learned from each of the LPE assignments:
1. Vauxhall Bridge – had been on my wishlist for a visit for several years. While I produced some decent individual images that did justice to the current bridge, there was not sufficient material to support the historical narrative that I intended.
2. Journey to Mammon – sculptures from Greenwich to Canary Wharf always with the towers of the banks in view was a good idea and I thought the images consistently strong, but my tutor judged them overprocessed and a rework was necessary.
3. Spaces to Palaces – a visual history of Eltham Palace, drawing on an archive of paintings, engravings and early photographs was an interesting topic, but I did not strike the right balance between images and text.
4. Grey Areas: The Ethics of Skies, the essay assignment – worked well.
5. Becoming subjects – “slideshows” of some local plant life (and death) was also pretty successful and required new skills in visual and music software. The criticism that too many subjects were included was correct.

I have come to terms with the matter of voice during LPE. I wrote at the beginning, (Blackburn, 2021b)

You’ve found your voice when you stop trying to please other people.

and refined that a few months later to (Blackburn, 2022a),

You won’t find your voice until you stop trying to please other people.

Some might consider that to be cynical, but it has the ring of truth to me.

A diverse course is, perhaps, not an ideal milieu for the development of a coherent voice, or maybe the inherent chaos of that very diversity provides the challenge needed for an individual voice to emerge.

In my introduction on Assignment 5, I described my working method (Blackburn, 2022b),

For each photography project of any length, I try to decide [in advance] a subject, an approach and an intended presentation format.

That is the practical application of my voice and is equally, if not even more, important than the voice itself. The advice from my I&P tutor, that it is permissible to envisage a solution beyond the scope of an assignment project was a vital part of this development.


L01 visual and conceptual strategies – to expand the note on voice, above, my strategy for an OCA assignment, or any other project, is to define in advance my subject, approach and delivery: ideally to devise several possible candidates, perhaps start work on more than one and come to a fairly rapid decision on that which I should pursue. In the OCA 2-month assignment timeframe, I would hope to have most of the assignments for the whole course in mind before finishing Part One, and to have experimented and selected a single project by the time each two-month “window” begins.
With the exception of Assignment 3, this timetable worked throughout LPE:

AssignmentSubjectIdea first notedAssignment startedAssignment submitted
1Vauxhall Bridge6 Aug 2130 Sep 2124 Dec 21
2to Canary Wharf27 Sep 215 Jan 2228 Feb 22
3Eltham Palace1 Mar 224 Mar 2230 Apr 22
4Essaylate Dec 2114 Mar 2230 Jun 22
5Plants30 Oct 213 Jul 2230 Aug 22

L02 social, cultural and ethical considerations – the course’s concentration on photographs that address social, political and ecological issues has already been noted. I believe that photography, in and of itself, is an unreliable medium for conveying ideas because the viewers will apply their own, divergent interpretations of the images (my LPE tutor has commented on my deconstructivist approach in the Assignment 3 feedback (tutor, 2022)). What photography excels at is documenting objects and events and that is the principal contribution it can make to changing minds on the issues in question. There needs to be a substantive event and then still and video imagery can preserve and publicise it. A key example, and one that impressed me profoundly, was Agnes Denes’ Wheatfield… (see Exercise 5.5); another example is the work of Richard Misrach, discussed in Exercise 5.3.

L03 exploring a range of ideas – some aspects of this have already been covered in the comments on L01 and L02. I believe that the ideas I have worked with for Assignments throughout LPE have been well chosen, but as my tutor has commented several times, editing to the final cut was lacking – see Assignment 2 (overprocessed), Assignment 3 (the balance of images and words) and Assignment 5 (too many slideshows included). Clearly, this is something that needs more thought in future modules.

L04 research, managing time and resources – all the assignments have been delivered on time, although there was so much work in Assignment 5, especially new software skills, that the coursework had to be put to one side. The discipline of two-month delivery slots enforces a good balance between urgency and drift. Some of the Exercise work is longer than suggested but becoming immersed in detail is, to me, one of most important aspects and appeals of the course.

L05 autonomy, voice, and communication – voice is dealt with above. My confidence in devising and delivering manageable and relevant projects has grown throughout the course and continued through LPE.
Interaction with fellow students continues in the monthly chat and some individual correspondences, although the chat group is now breaking up as the number of students taking LPE dwindles. I have pursued sessions on diversity and equality organised by the Student Union.
I was not aware of any local tutor-led visits, although I did attend the Thames Valley Group’s visit to The Photographers’ Gallery, in which tutor Jayne Taylor participated. I continue to volunteer at Courtaulds, cataloguing and digitising the Conway and Kersting archives.

brief – introduction –  course reflectionsubmission plan  – appendices

Summary of intended submissions

Before my I&P FA, there was an extremely useful online session with Edward Smith ‡ (Smith, 2021) and combining this with Appendix 3 (OCA, n.d.#2):

1. A course reflection of 750 words, based on the above (my health issues mandate a written rather than spoken version).
2. All the assignment feedback (annotated plus the originals ).
3. Two or three pieces of work intended to demonstrate progress on each of the LOs., see below.
4. A portfolio of visual work, usually 3 assignments.
5. The Assignment 4 essay, with a plagiarism check.
6. A guidance document to aid assessors’ navigation of the submission.

It is hoped that there is an online advice session before the next LPE FA submission date.

There are notes on my Assessment Page on which exercises or other work may be applicable to each LO. Likely candidates are:

LO1: Exercises 5.3 Unpacking, 5.5 Photography and Advocacy.

LO2: Exercises 3.2 Postcard views, 3.4 A Persuasive Image, 4.5 A Personal Voice, 5.1 Eco-CriticismPart 5 Research Task 3, Exploring Hashtags.

LO3: Exercise 2.2 Explore a road, Assignments 2 A Journey and 5 Self directed, and, perhaps Treatment, as yet unfinished.

LO4: Exercises 2.3 Is Appropriation Appropriate?, 2.3 Sontag reading, 1.2. Museum & Gallery, 1.5 The contemporary abyss, 3.6 The Memory of Photography, Assignment 4 Critical review, and perhaps the Bob Zahn Evaluation

LO5: Assignment 1 Beauty & the SublimeTreatment (unfinished) and descriptions of the LPE chat group and the SU courses, working at the Courtaulds etc.

‡ Smith also wrote the document quoted in Appendix 1.

brief – introduction –  course reflectionsubmission plan  – appendices


Appendix 1
(Smith, 2022)

What has changed about the undergraduate assessment events?
… The most significant change is the change from application for assessment to invitation to assessment. Going forward, based on when you complete your unit will determine which assessment event you will be invited to submit work for. Completion of a unit is defined as submission of all assignments to your tutor and receipt of their feedback. At three points in the year, any student that has a unit marked as complete that has yet to be assessed will be invited to the following assessment event. Therefore, there will be no need going forward for undergraduate students to apply for assessment…

Another change resulting from the move from application to invitation, is that you will not be able to choose either of the two events that follow your completion of a unit. You will be invited to the assessment event that immediately follows your unit completion date …

What are the key dates for the undergraduate assessment events of the next academic year?

Autumn 2022 event
Cut off point for invitation to the event – 23 September 2022
Deadline for submission to the event – 14 October 2022
Confirmation of assessment results – Week commencing 12 December 2022

Spring 2023 event
Cut off point for invitation to the event – 20 January 2023
Deadline for submission to the event – 10 February 2023
Confirmation of assessment results – Week commencing 27 March 2023

Summer 2023 event
Cut off point for invitation to the event – 12 May 2023
Deadline for submission to the event – 2 June 2023
Confirmation of assessment results – Week commencing 17 July 2023

Smith, 2022

Appendix 2
(OCA, n.d.#1)

Learning outcomes & discipline specific guidance
Photography guidance
Photography 2: Landscape, Place and Environment (PH5LPE) – also includes Photography 2: Landscape (PH5LDS)
Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the unit you will be able to:

LO1 demonstrate detailed knowledge of visual and conceptual strategies in landscape photography, the representation of place and be able to explore your own critical photographic projects

LO2 demonstrate an awareness of the wider social and cultural contexts that surround the representation of place, and be able to discuss relevant ethical perspectives in relation to your own practice

LO3 explore and realise a range of ideas and creative starting points, and exercise judgement in the production of visual material

LO4 manage learning resources, conduct self-directed contextual and visual research, and be able to appraise your progress with increasing confidence

LO5 demonstrate increasing autonomy and a developing personal voice, and exercise your communication skills confidently and interact effectively within a learning group

OCA, n.d.#1

(OCA, 2021, dead link)

Suggestions on how to meet the Learning Outcomes

LO1 To evidence this part you could select learning log entries and examples of assignment work that show your knowledge of visual and conceptual strategies in landscape photography and the representation of place. In terms of showing your ability to explore your own critical photographic projects, you might 6consider selecting examples that show how you have tested and understood these concerns.

LO2 It is likely that your learning log entries will evidence your emerging awareness of the wider social and cultural contexts that surround the representation of place. By selecting both learning log and assignment pieces you could show how you have articulated relevant ethical perspectives in relation to your own practice. You could use selected log entries to explicitly show you have considered ethics.

LO3 Your range of ideas and creative starting points is likely best evidenced in your learning log entries: demonstrating initial ideas, test-shoots, edits and final workings out. These could be accompanied by some evidence of critical reflection and relevant decisions to show how you have exercise judgement in the production of visual material.

LO4 The Critical Review (2,000 word essay) in part 4 will evidence the main focal point for evidencing your awareness of the wider social and cultural contexts will likely help to show your ability to conduct self-directed contextual and visual research. Selected learning log entries and assignment pieces will likely evidence your understanding of visual research and together these can help show assessors the connections you have made between contextual and visual research.

LO5 Your learning log will likely demonstrate your developing personal voice and engagement with your learning community – this could be amongst the OCA student body through forum activity, group work sessions, study visits or regional groups; or your increasing autonomy may relate to interacting with photographers outside OCA. Try to identify where in this project your interactions have helped shape your developing practice, knowledge, understanding and communication skills, then select any aspects of the work that help to show this.

OCA, 2021

Appendix 3
(OCA, n.d.#2)

Understanding assessment
5. Assessment requirements

The elements you need to submit are known as assessment requirements. All OCA courses ask for broadly the same requirements. These are:
A selection of learning log entries – evidencing the connections between your coursework and learning outcomes. 
A selection of creative work – such as a portfolio, or other presentation of your final or strongest pieces. 
Any critical reviews, essays, or other written reports – these can be submitted as written or presentation formats. Not all courses require these elements.
A reflective presentation or evaluation – reflecting on your work and learning journey as a whole. For most students this will either take the form of a 6 minute presentation or a 750 word written evaluation. 
Your tutor reports – you should have received five or six reports from your tutor, depending upon your course. Please submit these as they help assessors understand your learning journey.

OCA, n.d.#2

LPE Assignment 6 References

Alexander, J, Conroy, A, Hughes, A, & Lundy, G (2019) Landscape, Place and Environment [LPE]. Barnsley: Open College of the Arts.

Blackburn, N. (2021) Thought for the day [online]. Available from [Accessed 14 October 2022].

Blackburn, N. (2022a) Truths [online]. Available from [Accessed 14 October 2022].

Blackburn, N. (2022b) LP&E : Assignment 5, Becoming Subjects [online]. Available from [Accessed 14 October 2022].

Ducet, L. (2019) How I Found My Voice [online] Available from [Accessed 21 Jun 2022].

Lloyd, C. (2022) New assessment criteria [online]. Available from [Accessed 11 October 2022].

Meades, J. (2021) Pedro and Ricky come again. London: Unbound.

OCA (2021) Course Guide for assessment of Photography units [online]. No longer available from [Accessed 21 September 2021].

OCA (2022) OCA Assessment Padlet [online]. Available from [Accessed 22 October 2022].

OCA (n.d.#1) Learning outcomes & discipline specific guidance [online]. Available from [Accessed 11 October 2022].

OCA (n.d.#2) Understanding assessment, 5. Assessment requirements [online]. Available from [Accessed 11 October 2022].

Smith, E. (2021) Summary of Zoom meeting [online]. Available from [Accessed 1 October 2022].

Smith, E. (2021) Summary of Zoom meeting [online]. Available from [Accessed 1 October 2022].

Smith, E. (2022) Changes to OCA undergraduate assessment events 2022/23 [online]. Available from [Accessed 11 October 2022].

tutor (2020) Assignment 3 Feedback [online]. Available from [Accessed 1 October 2022].

Woods, W. (2022) Principal Will Woods – A personal reflection [online]. Available from [Accessed 14 October 2022].