Foundation Course GRUNSF35

Course Objectives

In the curriculum, the Foundation Course for the BA programme Education in the Arts is organised under the target areas Creative Work, Subject Theory and Subject Didactics. These target areas concretise and summarise the objectives and distinctive character of the subject, and form a basis for instruction and learning activities in the subject.

Creative work

Students will:

  • learn to apply their experiences, understanding and skills in their practical creative work with two and three-dimensional expressions, and be able to lead such activities in educational situations.
  • gain insight into, and experience in , design through the process from idea to finished product, and be capable of guiding children, adolescents and adults in various types of idea development and design processes.
  • learn to choose the relevant materials, techniques and tools; and use these correctly with respect to function and form of expression, and be able to apply acquired knowledge to educational activities.
  • acquire aesthetic- and craft related skills and familiarity with formal methods and learn to communicate these through the appropriate means in encounters with pupils and their creative processes.
  • learn skills in using art and design culture as a reference for creative activities and be able to relate this to the cultural reality of children and adolescents.
  • become familiar with the use of ICT as a tool and method in creative work and as a means of visual documentation; and be able to organise the use of ICT as a tool for children, adolescents and adults in their creative processes.
  • gain experience with the maintenance of tools and equipment.

Subject theory

Students will:

  • learn to apply concepts and basic theories of design and colour theory and become familiar with models for analysing two and three-dimensional expressions.
  • learn to relate their own creative experiences to aesthetic theory and methodology, theory of creative processes, development of ideas and problem solutions.
  • learn to describe, discuss and evaluate the relevant theory with regards to creative work in relation to the experiences they have gained during their teaching practice.
  • gain knowledge of materials and be capable of evaluating the relations between materials, health and the use of resources in an ecological perspective.
  • learn to use current methodology in research and development work within the field.

Subject didactics

The student will:

  • learn to plan and arrange a stimulating learning environment in which pupils are able to develop their creative energy and experience joy and curiosity in their work with artistic forms of expression.
  • learn to use curricula in relation to arts and crafts on the basis of the pupils’ background and abilities.
  • learn to develop teaching within the subject area in relation to children and youth in a multicultural society, and in relation to a constantly changing society.
  • learn to initiate professional cooperation and use arts and crafts both as main and supportive subject in interdisciplinary activities and project work.
  • learn to use observation and visual documentation as a pedagogical tool in order to develop the subject in relation to pupils, colleagues and parents.
  • learn to use ICT as a tool and means in creative work in the education of children, youth and adults.

The subject material from the target areas is organised into 6 course units. Elements from the various target areas are included in each course unit. The six course units are weighted thus:

Basic Subject Didactic and Theoretical Topics






Utility Object






Course unit 1: Basic Subject Didactics and Theoretical Topics

Subject didactics concerns an overall approach to a school subject’s special characteristics, aims, content and values. In their studies, students will develop the ability to reflect on, discuss and debate, the nature of subject didactics and its relation to practical creative work, theoretical studies and the period of teaching practice. The course unit will include selected theoretical topics regarding aesthetic learning processes, cultural understanding, interdisciplinary activities, documentation, research and development work and basic theory in relation to the practical part of the programme.

The study of subject didactics will enable students to plan, organise and implement teaching in the subject matter in an effective and thoughtful manner. Students will acquire knowledge regarding how stimulating, learning environments for children and youth may be created. They will gain experience and knowledge of how they can use curricula in relation to the pupils’ situation, background and abilities in specific teaching practice situations.

The content of the programme will reflect and debate how the subject may contribute constructively to the reality of life in a multicultural school community and to a continuously changing society. Knowledge and experience with topics and project work will be gained through theory and practice, and the close cooperation between students, subject teachers and the teaching practice placement school. Students will become acquainted with methodology used in research and development work both through practical creative processes and investigations carried out during teaching practice. Knowledge regarding aesthetic learning processes, idea development and problem solving will form a part of the theoretical foundation and will be experienced through the processes in which students are involved.

Experience with the dissemination of art and design culture constitutes an important part of the programme. Familiarity with dissemination models, communication theory and the use of visual communication for dissemination and exhibition purposes will make the students aware of what dissemination involves. Students must be able to teach art to children and youth using different methods, arenas and aids. They should also be able to use observation and visual documentation as a pedagogical tool in the work aimed at creating effective learning conditions for pupils and thereby contribute to developing the subject area.

Course unit 2: Images

Pictorial representation holds an important position in Western culture as a means of expression and communication. Skills in visual images are important in a society in which the two-dimensional image media has a great influence on our ways of thinking. The use of images in today’s culture and society is complex and comprehensive and encompasses a diversity of expressions, from mass media to art images. Children and youth are large consumers of images. Consequently, students should acquire practical skills in relation to images, so they are able to support the pupils’ own production of images, and also assist them in interpreting images. It follows that the course unit will focus mainly on students working with the production of their own images. This work will amongst other things be concerned with the study of pictorial art, so that students will be able to fulfil the subject requirements in the current curriculum for primary and lower secondary schools. Students’ work will also focus on the image media that influence us daily, so that students will be able to relate to children and youth in their cultural reality.

Through work with various materials, tools and techniques for creating images and the use of formal means, students will try out and investigate various forms of expression of image media as well as their own ability to express themselves. Students will develop skills in expressing themselves through images using techniques such as drawing, painting, prints, photography and digital media. In the workshops, students will acquire knowledge of the appropriate materials and the qualities of these. This will involve, amongst other things, familiarity with various types of paper, drawing tools such as pencils, charcoal and chalk; various types of colour, and other materials and computer programmes for the production of images, which are suited to various age groups in schools. Knowledge, experience, curiosity and reflection form the basis for students’ own creative work with images, and for teaching the subject matter in schools.

Visual presentation and dissemination will form a natural part of all the work done with images. Installation and dissemination, for instance in exhibitions, will form a part of the students’ routine work with images. An aware attitude towards the visual environment in the workshops and other rooms is a precondition for practising skills in visual presentation.

Course unit 3: Sculpture

Students will gain experience and knowledge of sculpture through investigating and experimenting with the characteristics of various materials and their importance for sculptural expressions. Through creative work with various types of tools and techniques, and through manipulation of sculptural elements, students will gain experience with some of the different means of expression that are inherent in three-dimensional forms.

This course unit consists of the range of three-dimensional forms of expression, from traditional sculpture to object art, installations, performance and land art. Students will work with approaches related to sculptural expressions from various periods and cultures, and children’s play and building with materials. Students will be challenged to see the opportunities for interdisciplinary work with other subjects in schools. Work will be done both indoors and outdoors, in small and large formats. The course unit will challenge and develop students’ understanding of sculptural modes of expression, their own ability to express, and their didactic skills in relation to the opportunities that are inherent in working with sculpture in schools.

The choice of the appropriate materials is large, and the opportunities many. For instance, wet and dry wood, clay, metals, textiles, various qualities of paper and synthetic materials, or a combination of these. In the preparation and assembling of materials students will learn to select, use and maintain the tools and machines properly.

The work with dissemination and exhibitions will form a natural part of the course unit and will be related to the exploration and experimentation of pedagogical opportunities in schools.

An aware attitude towards the physical, visual and functional environment in workshops and other rooms is a precondition for the development of effective learning arenas. Knowledge regarding the organisation and planning of functional workshops and working conditions, and maintenance of tools and machines form a part of this work.

Course unit 4: Utility Objects

A special characteristic of humans is their ability to develop functional tools and utility objects. The design of such objects has arisen due to needs, and has been characterised by the materials that have been used and the technological expertise humans have gained throughout history to process these materials. In an industrialised society and culture characterised by mass-produced consumer objects, it is important to develop aware attitudes towards production and consumption, as well as a critical approach and new ways of thinking. Reflected attitudes, and aesthetic and problem-solving awareness will be reached through tasks related to the students’ world and relevant contemporary contexts, as well as through investigation of the design culture of earlier periods.

Through the knowledge and experience of design development processes, students will learn methods regarding creativity and the development of ideas. Emphasis will be placed on creative work using various materials and techniques, and with approaches related to functional needs and aesthetic criteria. Students will be encouraged to develop their awareness regarding the relationship between design, function, choice of materials and techniques. The use of materials and their preparation should be considered in the context of recycling, environmental aspects and resources.

Acquiring skills regarding crafts, use of tools and machines is necessary in order to carry out practical design processes.

Course unit 5: Architecture

Architecture includes the design of the environment, such as town planning, landscape architecture and man made structures. In order to recognise and express both verbally and visually what characterises a structural environment it is necessary to be aware of these elements.

The course aims to provide students with knowledge of the subject, so that, in combination with practical assignments, they will learn to understand which factors throughout history influence building traditions both nationally and locally; they will also gain insight into how international impulses within the building arts emerge, and come to expression in the local environment. Knowledge and common experiences form the basis for creative work using various materials, in both models and full-scale work. The course emphasises reflection and knowledge acquired through creative expression in two and three-dimensional forms. The work will be carried out both indoors and outdoors depending on the nature of the activity.

Work with constructions, space and volumes will be focused on. It is necessary to have knowledge of the properties of the various materials used in construction, to try out how physical laws influence a construction, and to experience at first hand the forces in action. In this manner, students will gain experience of how choice of materials, light and colour influence space and forms. Observations and discussions of various materials’ and objects’ life cycles, and how they are produced, used, disposed of and possibly reused will also be focused on.

Sketches, working drafts, elementary perspective constructions, photography and ICT will be used as tools, and as a visual documentation of experiences, processes and products.

Course unit 6: ICT

This course unit will focus on how ICT is used to both retrieve information and to create digital forms of expression. ICT is used as an aid in creative processes using specific materials; to make digital presentations and to disseminate in various ways; and to make/use multimedia. The course employs teaching and learning methods that will prepare students for their teaching roles in schools. How ICT is used in relation to curricula in primary and secondary schools will also be discussed.

By alternating between practical and theoretical work, students will acquire an understanding of concepts, theories and methods used in the subject area.

The course unit is organised into the following topics: General Information Technology – Electronic image processing – Multimedia - Internet/Web design.

Reflection regarding the possible consequences of technology in relation to the use of ICT forms an important focus of the programme. Students should be able to discuss and reflect on the use of technology in relation to values in the subject, culture and society. Students should attempt to acquire the necessary experience and skills in the use of various types of equipment and computer software.

Course Description

The Foundation Course is common for all students of the programme. It comprises 75 ECTS and stretches over four semesters. Together with Art and Design Culture and Pedagogy the Foundation Course constitute the obligatory parts of the 3-year programme, BA Subject Teacher: Education in the Arts.

The programme represents the breadth of the subject area and will provide the student will basic knowledge and skills in the subject. It forms the basis for the third year of study which is an elective specialisation course.

The programme emphasises subject specialisation in Education in the Arts and the development of didactic skills. Creative activities, visual communication and design related to cultural forms of expression and activity will provide practical and theoretical knowledge regarding the development of ideas, aesthetic means, materials, tools and techniques.

Through the programme students will develop insight and skills in creative activities and be capable of using a wide range of materials and forms of expression which are appropriate in pedagogical work. Studies in subject theoretical topics will function both as a basis and an in-depth exploration of one’s own practical-aesthetic experiences. Subject didactics may be understood in connection with creative work and subject theory, and will provide students with the basis for using the subject in work with pupils in various types of schools and educational institutions.

Learning Methods

The course will be characterised by the alternation between practical creative work, theoretic aspects and didactic reflection. The various course units will be studied separately, but they will also complement each other and be considered in an overall context.

In practical creative work various kinds of approaches ranging from intuitive to analytical will be emphasised. The course is characterised by active and creative work related to various materials. There will be an emphasis on the development of students’ abilities regarding design and expression, and their practical skills. The aesthetic creative work will mainly be done individually.

The professional activity may take various forms and during the course of the studies students will gain all-round experience and knowledge of professional teaching and learning methods such as:

  • workshop activities
  • lectures
  • demonstrations
  • class and study group work
  • theme and project work
  • problem solving, individually and in groups
  • supervision and assessment
  • visual forms of presentation and dissemination
  • study trips

Experience with problem-based learning processes, thematic-organisation, project work and interdisciplinary cooperation will be included in the course. Written and oral presentations will also be included. Alternating between creative work, continuous supervision, observation and theoretical studies will develop skills and knowledge. This presupposes that students initiate and take responsibility for an all-round professional and didactic reflection during their studies.

Subject teachers are responsible for the overall unity and progression of the course and for organisation and supervision. However, students are also responsible for their own learning by acquiring knowledge and skills throughout their studies. The importance of attendance, participation and taking responsibility for an active creative study environment are important factors if students are to benefit from their period of study. It is expected that students keep themselves oriented regarding the current course reading list and take the opportunity of receiving supervision in the subject. Students are organised into classes which alternate between teaching of whole classes and groups or supervision for one or more students. Visiting various exhibitions, collections, museums and galleries is a part of the course, and work with various forms of exhibitions and other visual documentation and presentation forms will also be integrated into the course.

The teaching and assignments are planned in such a way that progression is ensured during the course. The subject material from the various course units is distributed and integrated into practical assignment periods. The assignment periods are awarded ECTS credits so that the weighting of the various course units for each period is clear. Normally, the assignment periods will be organised as portfolio assignments, which comprise a natural integration of the relevant subject theoretical material, practical creative work and didactic reflection. The team of subject teachers develop the portfolio assignments which describe the de-limitation and specification of content, aims, scope and requirements of the various periods.

One period per year, normally in March, is allocated for external professional activities, such as ‘Open Door’. This period will provide students with experience in meeting the public. Students will be able to mediate material in various ways, such as through exhibitions.

A study trip abroad lasting 6 - 8 days, as well as shorter excursions, will be integrated as a subject-related and obligatory part of the course.

The aim of the programme is to prepare and qualify students to be teachers. The Foundation Course should therefore be considered in connection with the period of teaching practice, as well as the teaching of pedagogical theory. The students’ work with subject and subject-didactic approaches will be tried out during the periods of teaching practice during the Foundation Course.

Interdisciplinary projects

Art and Design Culture and Pedagogy are subjects which run parallel with the teaching of the Foundation Course in Education in the Arts. In order to create an overall approach for the programme cooperation is organised between the subjects.

Dissemination project

In Art and Design Culture students will carry out a dissemination assignment in the third semester. This may be done by using ICT as a tool.

Project work aimed at teaching practice

The fourth semester includes project work aimed at the period of teaching practice, in which all the programme’s subjects are included. Both Pedagogy, Design, Arts and Crafts and Arts and Design Culture work together on a joint project which will be tried out during the teaching practice in the placement school. This involves close cooperation and planning with the placement schools; specialisation within the individual subject areas; and cooperation across the subject areas and between students. The project’s purpose is to relate the teaching at the university college closely to the teaching practice in order to create an overall learning environment for the students.

From a methodological standpoint, the practice project will be carried out as a research and development activity. The team of subject teachers will, in collaboration with the Pedagogy and the Art and Design Culture teachers, organise and supervise the project. The project will take as its starting point the teaching practice situation, and the various practice groups will in cooperation with the school mentors and the subject teachers develop problem areas and problem approaches for each practice group.

The subject specialisation will take place within each separate subject area. Students will describe briefly the most important aspects of their problem approach, the basic theory for their subject and summarise their practice period in a brief project report of up to 10 pages. In addition, emphasis will be given to documentation from the practice period. The report should follow ‘Guidelines for Written Work at The Faculty of Arts, Folk Culture and Teacher Education’. The results from the project will be orally presented to the other student groups in class. The report and the presentation will be assessed as pass/fail. An opportunity may also be provided for an individual written, or practical, further development of the project that may take the form of a portfolio assignment on the same level as other portfolio assignments, which may be selected for assessment.

The university college is responsible for the providing students with a satisfactory place of study as well as suitable equipment. The study methods require that students have a common base room with adjoining workshops for teaching in the various materials and techniques; students also need rooms/workshops where they can work outside of the specified teaching periods. Students and teachers have a joint responsibility for organising workrooms and workshops and keeping these in order. Students have access to special workshops and to the PC Lab at the university college.

Assessment Methods

There should be a relationship between the aims of the programme, content, organisation, teaching, learning and assessment methods.

Assessment should form a part of the learning process and be a means for the individual student to gain increased insight and understanding of their professional predisposition. Continual informal supervision and assessment during the course of the programme has the purpose of increasing the student’s awareness both concerning defining the level of their own work and their professional ability. This assessment concerns the actual study process, the ability for professional development and progression, the ability for cooperation and responsibility for one’s own learning. Experience of various forms of assessment is a part of the development towards final professional competence and future professional roles.

Course requirements

The following requirements must be fulfilled as part of the assessment:

  • Assignment periods/portfolio assignments must be answered according to the given criteria.
  • Each student must produce and discuss assignment solutions with the subject teacher as part of the work process. Assignment responses which are not presented to the subject teacher for supervision, may be refused assessment.
  • Satisfactory participation in maintenance and inspection of workshops and tools.
  • The group report and presentation of the interdisciplinary project must receive passing marks.

Final assessment

Assessment criteria:

  • Overall impression and quality
  • Connection between choice of materials, form, function/expression
  • Ability to solve problems, innovation and originality
  • Ability to present thoughts, ideas, experiences and impressions in an independent manner
  • Ability to reflect on subject theoretical and didactic questions
  • Professional documentation and dissemination ability
  • Use of aesthetic means
  • Choice of materials and technical solutions
  • Use of relevant subject material

Assessment after the 1st year of study:

Portfolio assessment with possible written documentation:

As many as 4 pieces of student work involving subject theory and subject didactics where one is chosen by the student.

‘Student work’ may involve:

  • A specific product as a solution to a given assignment
  • Several products which form a whole
  • Experiments as documentation of a creative process towards a product

On the diploma, the title of the final project will be entered. A letter grade will be given, on a scale from A to F, where A is the highest possible grade, and E is the lowest passing grade. All parts of the assessment must receive passing marks before a final grade may be determined.

Please refer to Telemark University College Examination Regulations for further information.

Assessment after the 2nd year of study:

Portfolio with possible written documentation:

As many as 4 pieces of student work involving subject theory and subject didactics where one is chosen by the student.

‘Student work’ may involve:

  • A specific product as a solution to a given assignment
  • Several products which form a whole
  • Experiments as documentation of a creative process towards a product
  • Individual part of an interdisciplinary project work related to the period of teaching practice [interdisciplinary: the various subjects which the programme consists of: Art and Design Culture, Pedagogy and Design, Arts and Crafts.

On the diploma, the title of the final project will be entered. A letter grade will be given, on a scale from A to F, where A is the highest possible grade, and E is the lowest passing grade. Weighting: portfolio assessment 100%. The group report and the presentation of the interdisciplinary project must receive passing marks in order to receive a passing mark for the subject.

Please refer to Telemark University College Examination Regulations for further information.

Minor adjustments may occur during the academic year, subject to the decision of the Dean

Publisert av / forfatter Marte Gulliksen <>, last modified Liang Xiaoli - 13/12/2006