Curriculum for Academic Year 2017-2018

Learning Outcomes

Nordic Visual Studies and Art Education (NoVA) educates professionals, practitioners and researchers on contemporary art and education, working with different audiences and communities, digital communication, and visual studies. The main objective of NoVA is to achieve knowledge and skills of the best Nordic values, research, and practices in art education and visual studies. NoVA provides relevant competences and pedagogical interaction skills for working in cross-cultural and international educational and communication environments, or for continuing research at the doctoral level.

Through courses on visual culture, social theory, pedagogy, aesthetics in digital communications and games, for example, students investigate seeing and being seen. NoVA students explore how digital technologies affect perception and how vision is constructed. Students research visual events to understand the relationship between institutions, the media, society, and the economic sphere. Thus the NoVA programme provides students with opportunities to critically reflect upon and synthesize previous experiences and knowledge as well as generate new knowledge on contemporary art and education, digital communication, and visual studies.

NoVA pushes geographical, pedagogical, and research boundaries through its network of international partners, diverse experiences, and research topics and methods. The program is committed understanding and teaching the best of Nordic art education practices while responding to learners from around the world, and addressing global challenges and possibilities.­­­

Content Outcomes:
  • Students understand a broad range of issues, theories, and practices of Nordic art education and visual studies
  • Students understand practices and traditions of cross-cultural and international education
  • Students understand the interrelationship of social and cultural issues, curriculum content, philosophies of teaching, and the construction of democratic spaces of learning
  • Students understand the geo-political and pedagogical dimensions of space, place, the public sphere, and private realms
Skill Outcomes:
  • Students are able to analyse, interpret, and respond to images, objects, and sites in everyday life through theories of visual culture
  • Students are able to connect art and visual image making and the interpretation of visual culture to issues of power and representation, for advancing pedagogy
  • Students are able to use digital technology for contemporary art didactics
  • Students are able to produce layered, interactive, and dynamic visual work, in different formats and media
  • Students are able to develop plans, carry out in practice, and document independent practical projects
Academic Skills:
  • Students can apply pedagogical interaction skills in cross-cultural and international educational situations and environments
  • Students can apply methods of contemporary art didactics
  • Students know a variety of research methodologies and are able to investigate, develop, and implement cutting edge research in art education
  • Students can apply skills of intercultural and social entrepreneurship
  • Students can participate in international discussions and research

Education Content

NoVA is based on e-learning, contact teaching, and face-to-face meetings. The idea of blended learning is the foundation of NoVA. Learning by doing, problem oriented approaches, and learning by using is integrated with practical and theoretical e-learning based activities. Contact teaching is a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops, visits, peer working and student presentations, using multimodal approaches: texts, images, audio, and different physical and digital interfaces and communication. Teaching is provided by four Nordic universities, and each student will study in person at two universities. Each student stays one or two semester at a NoVA partner University and is guided to study minimum 20 ECTS and maximum 40 ECTS in one other NoVA partner university.

In addition to Aalto University, the partner universities and departments in NoVA are the Department of Visual Arts Education at Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design (SE), Department of Art, Design and Drama at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences (NO), and Department for Communication and Psychology at Aalborg University Copenhagen (DK).

Between and among the NoVA partners, a broad range of study areas include:

  • Critical pedagogy with social and cultural awareness. This stems from aspects of the highly valued Nordic education systems, emphasising democratic societies, egalitarianism, socially just pedagogical skills and practices, human rights and social and cultural sustainability.
  • Nordic digital technologies, digital media, new technologies, and communication. Social and cultural competences in ICT & online communication are included to the programme as content and as pedagogical methods.
  • Contemporary art didactics. This includes project and problem oriented teaching, and collaborative and participatory based learning based on contemporary methods, and theories of art, pedagogy, and mediation.
  • Visual culture developed in the Nordic region. This incorporates exploring creative and critical approaches to design and art making, coupled with a deep responsibility for openness, caring, and equality.

All the NoVA courses are mapped three themes: 1) Digital communication, 2) Visual Culture and Critical Social Issues, and 3) Contemporary Didactics and Sensuous Knowledge.