Activity 7

Open Education Practice (OEP)  and Open Education Resources (OER)

Open Education Practice and Resources are an interesting area of discussion. On one hand the technology improvement should allow for a greater flexibility in education online. In an ideal case, knowledge should be accessible and shared freely to all. On the other hand we face declining number of students entering tertiary institutions which are funded based on bums on seats in class. It is no surprise that the fast paced change in the education can instil uncertainty in staff to not to want to openly share knowledge. After all, our knowledge is what lets us earn our bread and butter.

However, the opportunity here is how we can utilised OER to make ourselves even more valuable both in our discipline and to our institution. By offering a smart balance of both OER and contact time may improve our teaching practice and let us tap into teaching new groups of learners.


OER to cater for wider learning opportunities

In the recent years, the scope for the content of teaching has vastly broadend to cater for the needs and expectations of students, industry partners and shift in the disciplines. See fig 1.


Fig 1: Requirements and expectations from students, discipline and industries.

As Jelley (2013) suggests,OERs can be useful part of inquiry based learning for motivated students. However,I believe that some of the barriers to lsoley earning online OER are issues such as

  • not knowing whether the sources are useful, reliable or relavant at a glance.
  • self-motivation or not having deadline to work towards
  • lack of personalised information and feedback

In the current online landscape where we are bombarded with too much information, and it is increasing becoming the educators role to direct learners to the most suitable information and learning tools. Therefore, giving some suggestions for various OERs for specific learning objectives and outcomes as a part of a course would be helpful.


OER for industry partners and their individual development.

If designed well ,OER could become a powerful tool for those in the industry to refresh their knowledge and skills. For example, some design studios show interest in relatively new area of design thinking such as, “Design Service Thinking” and “Design Methods for Innovation”, however, have little time to explore the ideas, let alone apply to their business practice.

OER may be used as a part of short a workshop catered for businesses in the following ways:

  1. Provide OER in the form of short video or infographics to introduce industry relevant topics.
  2. Organise a short ( day) workshop introducing the topics further and discuss how the topics may be applied to enhance the business
  3. Provide suggestions of OER for each business that are relevant, reliable, useful and personalised to the specific business or industry.

The educators of these industry courses would need to becomes familiar with OERs and at the same time, contribute and participate in the database. Helping encourage a critical mass of contents and participant would be a key to well connected and peer reviewed OER as indicated by Jelley (2003). Another useful suggestion by Jelley (2013) to encourage active participation and reduce technological barrier to OER would be for the institution to support by providing user friendly software platforms to make the OER available.


Jelley, R. (2013) “Open Education Practice : A User Guide for ORganisations/ OER literature review.”   Retrieved 18 April 2013


Activity 6 Sustainability

Q: How can you become a more sustainable practitioner? What does this mean for you?

A: Using Elkinton’s (1998) Triple Bottom Line for sustainable practice, broad areas to consider for more sustainable practice are indicated below.



Q: What sort of learning and teaching strategies can you introduce to support your philosophy of sustainability?

A: My philosophy of teaching sustainability are indicated below along with the teaching strategies



Q: What are your organisation’s priorities for sustainability?

A: Otago Polytechnic includes Sustainability as a part of their institutional strategy. The priorities include:

  • Community engagement – Local iwi, various local community groups and industry partners
  • Encourage lecturers to instill sustainability values to students so that they are nurtured to be sustainable practitioners,
  • Review the use of resources such as audit of electricity use and waste management.

The polytechnic also addresses sustainability through a number of sustainability initiatives, such as the Living Campus, the Center for Sustainability as well as employing sustainability consultants to improve current practices.

Q: How can you design strategies that fit with the concepts of effective pedagogy?

Assessment Example: Year 1 Product Design

People and Sustainability 30% of Whole year’s Work


“Every year, New Zealanders send around 2.5 million tons of waste to landfill that is over a ton of rubbish per household. The majority of this waste is not reprocessed or recycled, and doesn’t break down over time.  Disposing of waste at landfills is a sign that we’re not using our resources efficiently, and are contributing directly to pollution. To improve the environmental future of New Zealand, we need to start taking responsibility for the waste we produce by finding more effective and efficient ways to reduce, reuse, recycle or reprocess it.”

Ministry for the Environment, New Zealand Government, Retrieved 20 February 2014,

Product designers are responsible for designing and producing waste that ends up in the landfill. At the same time, product designers are in the position to make a significant difference to this problem through designing more sustainable alternatives.


Identify an everyday product that makes a large contribution to the landfill.

Analyse user behaviour and user interaction surrounding this product – redesign the product with consideration to the user behaviour.

Assess the material makeup of the product and identify areas for improvement.

Redesign the product using sustainability strategies

Cooperative Learning Activity

Scarfie Army Volunteer Activity for Keep NZ Clean to collect rubbish from Castle Street, Dunedin. The students in this class volunteered to collect rubbish from the street. The individuals were responsible for waste separation and weighing the waste at the end of the collection.

This activity carried out at the start of Year 1 gave the class an opportunity to carry out a practical work get to know each other. Cleaning Castle Street was a big job, therefore, this activity gave the class a shared purpose that would have been difficult to achieve by themselves.


Experiential Learning Activities

a)      Ideo Cards are set of 51 cards to prompt design research and prototyping.

Assess personal waste through using “A Day in the Life” Ideo Card: Catalogue your activities and products you threw out throughout an entire day.

Using this data identify a product that you could redesign to reduce the impact to landfill.


b)      Waste Audit

Ask students to participate in waste audit of public waste. In the previous years, students were involved in auditing public waste from the farmers market. The farmers market has three centralised waste bins which ask visitors to separate recyclable, organic and non-recyclable rubbish. Students looked at the contamination in each of the waste bins, separated the waste correctly and weighed each category of waste. Students could then use this data to identify areas of possibility for design intervention towards waste minimisation.


These two are examples of experiential learning that are important aspect of learning for both sustainability issues as well as for students to consider the end users of their design projects. These activities can make the projects more real while also highlight areas of priority for design intervention.


Inquiry Learning Activity

Having done some activities in experiential learning, students can now investigate opportunities for waste minimisation. Students are asked to frame their own design problem and design brief for waste minimisation.


This is an important aspect of instilling sustainable value to students. At times students become overwhelmed by the enormity of sustainability issues at stake. Considering various issues and deciding on a manageably sized design brief allows a good level of thinking for students.


Reflective Learning

As a part of the assessment, students are asked to write a reflective summary on both reflection in action that has been documented during their product and reflection on the outcome of their project.


Some prompts given for this activity are:

a)      What was your brief and how have you met your own brief?

b)      What are the areas for future improvement?

c)      Which sustainability strategies did you apply and how were they useful?


Reflective writing has become an important part of our assessment in the recent years. Students are usually acutely aware of areas that they can improve, some to the extent that their reflection mirrors the assessors’ comments for the assessment. The reflective writing is also a useful tool to tie the learning and design studio work together. For example in the sustainability module, we teach several practical strategies for developing more sustainable product. For example Dematerialisation prompts a product to be made with less material and design for use asks to design products that encourage longevity of use. Asking students to reflect on which of the strategies they used and the usefulness of the application ties the practical and the theoretical work together.



Design Outcomes

This project is run over 4 weeks in the first semester of year 1 and in some ways does not give step by step guide to design glamorous outcomes. Instead, students are asked to consider a vast range of issues relating to product design and waste minimisation. As a result the outcomes are often early concepts of range of possibilities for future development. Some students consider re-design systems to reduce waste while others resign products towards more sustainable counterpart. I believe that the value of teaching sustainability for design is in engaging students to think, make meaningful decisions and to understand the complexities involved in design for sustainability.

Task 5 Trends for Learning


  • Choose one trend technology and pedagogy and design a learning activity based on this.
  • Describe or demonstrate the learning activity to the class via your blog.
  • Make sure that you indicate how the technology used in the activity is likely to encourage flexible learning.


Various trends in are found in the current education landscape to help offer more flexibility learning opportunities. This activity explored online learning resources and learning portfolios blogs with relevance to design education.


Online learning resources, such as Lynda and those presented in Youtube videos are helpful tools for students to learn software and technical skills such as design drawing techniques, model making and 3D Computer Aided Design.

Online tutorials offer flexile learning as students are able to learn in their own time and be directed to carry out the task away from a classroom setting.  The linear learning activity offered by online resources are especially useful for undergraduate students who struggle to plan an effective use of self-directed learning time. Further, online tutorials are useful to be introduced to class of students with a range of skills in areas such as software.  Students are able to catch up on their own time  while contact time can be used activities that require face to face teaching time.


A useful diagram by Zubizaretta of main objectives for learning portfolio was introduced in Hegarty’s online presentation of Learning Portfolio.

Learning Portfolio1

Adding the questions for each of the three objectives make this a useful resource for teaching.

Learning Portfolio2

Online blog is a growing area for design students and graduates to present design processes and outcomes. Students and graduates are using blogs to document and present their design process as a part of self-promotion to seek employment or gain contract jobs or to sell their ideas.

Post Graduate Level

The best scenario is when students are able to build an effective blog and initiate conversations with a wider international community of practioners in the similar field. An example of this can be seen in the blog “ I think I design” by Stefanie Di Russo, a PhD Candidate from Swinburne University.


The author uses this blog to present her study findings, reflections and personal views. The blog is used to documents various phases of her study as well as external workshops that she has attended. The purposes of the workshops are explained along with a reflection of the relevance of the workshops to her area of study. External comments from her peers are published which encourages collaboration or mentoring aspects of the learning portfolio objective.


Undergraduate Level

At an undergraduate level, it is ideal for lecturers to introduce blog practice as a part course project and are most effective when students buy into the blogs and are able to make them their own.


Stephen Reay and his team at Industrial Design at AUT encourage blog practice for all year groups. Some students seem to become very engaged in developing a well presented blog which address reflection, documentation and self-promotion. On the other hand some students are using the blog only to discuss personal reflection, which may have been prompted as a part of the course from the lecturers.


Flexible Learning and Learning Portfolio Blog     

Learning Portfolio Blog offers flexible learning as the students are able to up-load their projects in their own time. Making the blog public will also allow flexibility to ask feedback from various mentors including, lecturers, peers, project client, expert panel and the public. This blog will potentially be helpful for blended learning during the face to face learning time as lecturers will be able to assess the students’ progress on the blog prior to face to face supervision and give considered feedback to students. At the same time, it is difficult in a given supervision time for students to present all of their work to date. Using the blog effectively may help lecturers be more informed about students’ progress.


In her presentation Conole explains that e-learning are useful for both learning skills  as well as learning for life. Students are able to learn skills in communication, difital literacy and collaboration while for life, this may improve employability and prepares students to be adaptable. In the same way, the blog will help students consider course specific contens as well as prepare them for graduation and seeking employment.




Develop a design blog for Year 3 Product Design Course to showcase your design process throughout one specific project. Consider your audience and purpose of this blog. Design and communicate the blog accordingly.



  • Develop a rich design process portfolio that would help progress your project while it could be used as a part of your larger graduation portfolio.
  • Improve skill in design communication to a wider audience
  • Enhance photography skill for both process work and complete work to present in the blog
  • Improve the use of both visual and written design language.



Document your design process and summarise your progress at least once a week.

The blog should help be self-reflective, document your progress thoroughly and communicate with your mentor team as well as your project stakeholders. See the diagram below.

Learning Portfolio3





Activity 4

Activity Four: Reflect on factors associated with diversity in your context.

1. Explore how Universal Design can be used in learning environments to ensure inclusiveness. Universal Design for Learning: A framework for access and equity.
Universal Design is an approach to make learning accessible for all students spanning broad range of diversity including various cultural groups, socioeconomic backgrounds and disability. Accessibility for learning is considered in wide areas, such as physical environment, for example wheel chair access to learning materials, for instance, subtitles on videos.
In product design, the principles of Universal Design reflects the approach, Inclusive Design. Inclusive Design aims to “design mainstream products and or services that are accessible to and usable by as many people as reasonably possible… without the need for special adaptation or specialised design.” Coleman Retrieved March April 2014) Designing for the small percentile of the population can lead to products that are accessible for many. An Inclusive Design example often discussed is the Oxo Good Grip kitchen utensils. The utensil range began when noticing a need for a better design of vegetable peeler for arthritic hands. As a result an ideal grip of a peeler for this user group, in fact gives a better grip for majority of users. Focusing the design for low percentile of the population can develop products that are more useful for a wider population.
The principles of Universal Design extend to teaching strategies. Designing teaching methods to accommodate the extremes of students in both capabilities, learning styles, cultural needs can result in a better learning environment for a wider group of students. This has been the experience at the School of Design in processes for catering to both Maori and Pacifica students. The benefits of implementing both formal and informal processes for pastoral care for these students have also extended to most students.
Further, taking into account various means of expression and engagement discussed in Universal Design offers a wider variety of assessment methods that suits different learners. A majority of students in product design tend to not enjoy reading and writing with a small number of them displaying dyslexia. Rather than the conventional reports, asking students to report their design in the forms of movies and multi media may give them a better media to express their ideas. This is a timely change, as more and more designers are asked to present their projects through movies in the fast changing landscape on the internet.
2. Describe an example of teaching and learning in your context where you believe that access to learning may be compromised or inequitable.
For the past two years, Product design programme has been enjoying a closer relationship with the Innovation Workspace. Students are given a small workshop space within the Innovation Workspace and are also able to be trained to use some larger machinery. In theory, this gives students more and access to better tools and machinery as well as a social dimension of students being able to work alongside staff working in the industry. However, the cultural differences between the education programme and commercial enterprise of Innovation Workspace has had to be brokered. For the students they often felt uncomfortable and out of place to walk into the Innovation Workspace to utilise the workshop. This hindered their projects especially in model making, prototyping and conceptualisation phases. Similarly, the Innovation Workspace staffs were weary of student accessing the facility for the safety reasons and students taking up their valuable time.
More recently a number of staff from the Innovation Workspace has been contracted to teach the product design courses. Teaching is often carried out in the Innovation Workspace environment, which allows students to become more familiar with the space and build a sense of belonging. At the same time, these staff have been expressed a clear protocol around the use of the space and a boundary for when they can be contracted to teach and when they carry out client work. These staffs have been instrumental in bridging the cultural differences between the educational programme and commercial entity. Further improvements are necessary in the areas including clarity in charging process for cost bearing machinery, machine licencing and supervision processes and internships. In time students will benefit from being immersed in the culture of design consultancy, which will help prepare them to be better work ready graduate.

3. Discuss what your learners might need to access the learning environment more fully, and what you can provide. Identify barriers and support needed.

Felder and Soloman’s learning styles and strategies were useful in identifying barriers for students. In general most design students are visual learners, rather than verbal or reader, writer learners. The limited diversity in this area of learning style allows for teaching to be similar across all students. However, a diversity of learning styles is found in the scale of Active to Reflective, Sensing to Intuitive and Sequential and Global learning styles. These learning styles offer a platform to investigate barriers for learning for students and the suitability of learning style for the design discipline.

Felder and Soloman

Active to Reflective.
Design requires students to flexibly shift between the two areas of active and reflective practice. Student benefits from “trying out” activities such as prototyping and pulling apart a product in question. On the other hand, students need to make plans and be reflective about their concepts. Students often find it difficult to gauge the right timing for when to be an active or reflective learner. Prompting students to move between the two scales of learning styles during the class and addressing these issues will be a good start for students to gaining a balance in the application of the two approaches in their design practice.

Sensing  to Intuitive + Sequential to Global
As a discipline, designers are required to be Intuitive and Global in the way they learn as well as in the way they carry out the design process. Design projects often deal with issues that are complex for sequential and sensing learning. For example, to design a surgical tool, designer cannot sequentially learn every aspect of medical science and surgical procedures. In stead, intuitive and global learning style is required to identify and collect the most relevant information to design the surgical tool. Buchannan (1992) calls this “sense making” where the designer is asked to make sense of a large topic to help solve the design problem.

The Global and Intuitive nature of design is also reflected in a number of design methods text books and prompts, such as 101 Design Methods (2013) and Ideo Method cards (2003). These methods and strategies deal with assessing “the big-picture” and act as prompts to enrich the design process. The methods and are not intended to be followed in sequence.

The expectation for students to process design content in Global and Intuitive learning style is a barrier for some students who lean towards the Sensing and Sequential learning styles. For instance, Sequential learners seem to feel overwhelmed to being given 101 Design methods and even when they know to apply the strategies as suitable, some students feel learning is incomplete without comprehending each of the methods. For these students, it may be beneficial for a lecturer to select a few methods that work well together for a specific design context to sequentially trial a few methods as a trial. This may help them understand the benefit of selecting a few methods and that they do not need to master all the methods.

In the similar way to Active and Reflective learning styles, design requires students to swing between Sensing learning style and Intuitive learning style. Sensing learning style is beneficial in the research phase where facts and established models can strengthen their design concept, however, Intuitive learning style is also necessary to establish possible relationships in their findings to develop concepts.

While it is beneficial for designers to be able to swing between the spectrums of learning styles to develop a innovative design intervention, some specialty areas of product design are better suited to those with specific learning preferences. For example sensing and sequential learners may be well suited to computer aided 3D graphic design where factual reasoning and sequential steps are useful. Identifying personal learning style and strength so that students can be matched with suitable areas of product design would help them carve their personal path in the discipline.


Buchanan, R. 1992. “Wicked problems in design thinking.” Design Issues no. 8 (2):5-21.

Coleman, R., Clarkson, J., Hosking, I., Waller, S. “Inclusive Design Toolkit”. Retrieved 04 April 2014

Gravel, J., Ralabate, P., Thomas, L., “Universal Design for Learning. A framework for access and equity” Lecture notes retrieved 04 April 2014

Ideo. 2003. Ideo Method Cards: 51 Ways to Inspire Design Palo Alto: Ideo.

Kumar, V. (2012) 101 Design Methods: A Structured Approach for Driving Innovation in Your Organization: John Wiley and Sons, Inc
Soloman, B., & Felder, R. Index of Learning Styles Retrieved 04, April 2014 from