Well that’s it then.

The final visual arts upload deadline was April 30 and it’s now May, so for most – if not all – May session DP visual arts teachers, it’s done for another year.

(If you are still struggling to do the deed, if IBIS is not co-operating, remember care and patience are the keys. Be gentle with IBIS otherwise it’ll never happen).

The 2013 visual arts digital upload

If anyone is interested, I have previously posted responses to the 2013 upload process (for the previous course) three years ago, in May 2013 and June 2013.1 OCC Forum screen 13 March

But what about 2016?


DP Coordinator vs the OCC

Many teachers did not find it easy to find the instructions, and if/when they did find them, many felt that these instructions were unclear or confusing.

Many also seemed to be unaware of the information that is sent to Coordinators: the first port of call in this process (answering the question “what should I do?”) would normally be your DP Coordinator.

Instructions are sent to DP Coordinators to pass on to relevant subject teachers.

Checking the information and posts on the OCC forum is of course important, but if your DP Coordinator is doing his/her job properly, it should not be necessary.2 OCC Forum screen p2 13 March

  • For example, I was made aware of the 6/VAPPF form in July/August 2015 – and my students had been working on it from August. So it was a little surprising to see a teacher asking “where did the 6/VAPPF come from?” in February 2016. Presumably the DP Coordinator in this case had not told the teacher about this (or the teacher had not understood).
  • Another teacher mentioned that her students’ exhibition was going up on April 8, only two days before the deadline for her exhibition marks. This is probably OK, if everything goes smoothly – but what if it doesn’t? This seems like a somewhat slim margin to leave, especially if you have a large group of students
  • Some teachers did not know about information that was readily available in the visual arts guide (e.g. “what files do I upload?”, “is the comparative study internally assessed?”) and used the OCC to ask  – had they read the guide?

Some teachers said that their DP Coordinator had not received any examination upload information. This may be the case – but it seems a little unlikely. If this did happen then that Coordinator should have immediately contacted the IB to get the missing information.

If you have visited the OCC forum you will have noticed a recurring theme. Back in March, when for many – including me – the upload process had hardly even started, I took a couple of screenshots of 2 forum screen, and again in April – all four shown here.

The message subjects tell a sorry tale. There was a sense of desperation in some posts, and in others the resignation of despair.3 OCC Forum screen 4 April

Some teachers provided us with a handy descriptive alert in the subject of their post, such as “Another exam disaster in the making” – not much optimism there, then.

Others were more direct with either subject or sub-heading description – “Need clarification”, “Problems with uploading work”, “Where do we upload the exhibition work?”, “6VAPPS what and where?“Exhibition text requirements?”, “how should we determine the predicted and internal assessment grade?” etc

All heartfelt, all written by perplexed or mystified – and probably frustrated – teachers.

Why were there so many questions? Why so many complaints?

In addition to the Coordinator, instructions are in the handbook of procedures (on the OCC) and also posted on the OCC in the form of guidance posts e.g. in the Assessment section

  • “May 2016 – eCoursework user guide (for candidates)” (pdf, 9 pages)
  • “May 2016 – eCoursework user guide (for teachers)” (pdf, 17 pages)

I sympathized with Jayson and Hazel trying to answer the same or similar questions over and over again! Thanks to both of them!4 OCC Forum screen p2 4 April


  • In my opinion the upload process itself seemed fairly straightforward.
  • I uploaded everything with no problems over a period of about a week.
  • Uploading the artworks was an easy ‘drag and drop’ process, and the documents for the comparative study and process portfolio were even quicker. Inputting title, medium, size and exhibition texts for each artwork was most time consuming.
  • Of course the more students you have, the longer it takes, but you can always ask your Coordinator to help (?)
  • (And of course you may disagree, especially if you did NOT find the upload process straightforward!)


What did we learn? We need to avoid a repeat of the bizarre confusion over what to do!

Well there could certainly be a better way to present the instructions. There are different guidance documents in different parts of the OCC, so if you don’t get information from your Coordinator it’s not easy working out what you should be doing and/or when you should be doing it

Perhaps in addition to sending the information to DP Coordinators, the IB should create a dedicated space on the OCC with a clear and simple set of upload instructions?

Either way, for now it’s over.