Posted on 10/20/2016 at 01:31 PM by Blog Experts


Luke Nielsen, an art teacher at St. Ansgar Community School in St. Ansgar, IA, presented a topic at the Summer Art of Education 2016 Art Ed Now Conference titled, “How to get your students ready for the real world". In this session, Nielsen explained how he integrated project-based learning into his graphic design program.

Students in the graphic design program were divided into small groups. Each group had to look at themselves as a small, graphic design company. The first thing they had to do was create their business name and logo. They had to think about the image they wanted to portray. As the class received orders, the orders were assigned to a specific student group. Each “company” was working with a real client on things that would be out in their community. They were asked to design business cards, brochures, signs, etc. This past year, students were asked to create signs, mailers, and plaques for the first Rube Goldberg competition in the state of Iowa.

Each “company” had to create roughs for their clients. They had to deal with real-world issues when the client came back and said they wanted something different, and the students had to go back and rework their designs. Students had to compare their work to the standards and benchmarks, as well as look carefully at copyright and trademark laws. Nielsen was worried at first that not enough businesses in the community would use their services. Instead, they have had so much work they have had to turn some of it away.

Assessing the different projects was a challenge, at first, as each student group was asked to do something different. Nielsen broke down his rubrics into a project grade and a work grade. The project grade was “all” or “nothing” since the clients were real. The rubric for the work grade focused on the 21st-century skills and employability skills. Students were also asked to create a digital portfolio and upload their completed work to their portfolio.

Some of the projects were beginning-to-end design and production. In this way, the design work could be done in the graphic design class, and then sent to the industrial tech department. The proceeds from these real-world projects were used to purchase materials for their program.

There are no comments yet.
Add Comment

* Indicates a required field