BIRD, R., 1998. Higher education in the new millennium - the challenge of teaching practical craft and design skills. IDATER 1998 Conference, Loughborough: Loughborough University
The last decade before the new millennium has been a period of radical change in Higher Education in the United Kingdom. The change initiated by the 1988 Educational Reform Act has seen many HE institutions in the polytechnic sector gaining both financial and academic independence as the 'new' universities in 1992. In a new institutional climate of cost effectiveness, government initiatives on mass education have drastically increased student numbers which has impacted on all disciplines, but more so on those that are skill based such as craft and design.
This paper is based on the experience of teaching craft and design students at the University of Wolverhampton and new strategies developed to teach practical skills in a climate of vastly increased class sizes. Its focus is the areas of design and visual communication, and making, materials and processes. It evaluates both student and staff responses to the new programmes in these areas, in particular the relationship of teaching to independent study.