I think "open" might not be the right word. Implies to me that it a free for all and they get to do anything they like. I try to walk a balance of allowing them to draw what engages their interests and keeping a tight control over the learning outcomes and making sure that they meet those. Keep in mind that I teach at a 10 to 12 school so I feel fairly comfortable letting them choose their subject matter. i think that might be the "open" part of the assignments-subject matter
So, for example we are just finishing a Drawing Unit. We went over perspective,drawing techniques, use of materials, composition etc. The final demonstration of understanding is an enlargement drawing. The subject matter is their choice (with obvious restrictions on drugs, alcohol, violence etc) and as long as it meets my criteria I allow it. I keep the criteria general- focal point, background, more than 10 shades, example of perspective. I always have the final say on what they are drawing and if what they show me that they want to draw does not meet the criteria I'll tell them to keep looking.
Usually any assignment where I an introducing a technique or material I tend to allow them to choose how they are going to demonstrate their understanding of the material. The criteria always relates back to the instruction that was given regarding the technique or use of material. However there are lots of assignments that I dictate what they are drawing. We do daily drawing where I demonstrate certain drawing techniques and lots of "how to draw..." assignments.
My sketchbook assignments relate directly to the elements and principles of design and they have to draw subject matter that demonstrates their understanding of each element and principle but they can choose the subject matter as long as they can defend why the picture is an example of form, for example. Which I don't mind sharing if anyone is interested.
Hope this makes sense.
North Peace Secondary School
Fort St. John
> Subject: Re: Students destroying work
> From: "Elizabeth Blair" .edu>Date: Tue, 26 May 2009 14:50:59 -0400
> X-Message-Number: 8
> What type of criteria do you give for these "open" assignments?
> Do you have any specific examples?