Spotlight Welcome Page

A Royal College of Art initiative exploring collaborative virtual learning in design

Project Leader Chris Mitchell, RCA


The Spotlight project was a year long initiative led by Chris Mitchell, the Learning and Teaching Coordinator of the Royal College of Art (RCA), that set out to investigate the potential for fostering online collaboration between students of different Departments at the RCA.

24 first year students from 10 different Departments were recruited to take part in a series of 6 online, asynchronous tutorials interspersed throughout the academic year. An evaluation of the initiative concluded that it was a qualified success, with those students who persisted to the end reporting tremendous benefits from having done so.

Two principal conditions of success were identified. Firstly, an individual’s motivation to participate appeared to be conditional on that of their peers. Secondly, to prosper in the longer term these types of tutorials needed to be properly integrated into the curriculum rather than promoted as an additional activity.


“Spotlight has made me more critical of my work and made me question my place and role in my chosen practice” (Spotlight Student)

“You don’t always get a chance to understand the thought process or research objectives behind the finished pieces or work at interim shows.” (Spotlight Student)

“When I was in Japan, it felt like I was in contact with the College world and part of a wider debate” (Spotlight student)