Constructing Courses to Enhance Learning: Course Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation Plan

Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation plan

Project Name: Introduction to Graphic Design

Overview and Background

Introduction to Graphic Design is a course that is planned to be taught at the Otago Polytechnic Dunedin campus with the scope for distance learners to contribute to this course through online portal.

This course will cover fundamental theories and skills required to carry out basic graphic design and visual communication for print and on screen communication. The course is designed for a wide range of students including first year design students, masters of design entrepreneurship students, and staff at Otago Polytechnic and to those who are interested in short courses from the public and the industries.

This course needs to be re-designed for the following reasons:

  1. To cater for students with various differing software capabilities
  2. To help students utilise self-directed time more efficiently.
  3. To allow students to carry out work at a their pace
  4. To design an entry level course that is organised and well documented so that different lecturers are able to deliver this course. This will allow flexibility in staffing
  5. To update course content to align with the most up to date industry standards

Main elements of the redesign will be to develop online portal and consolidate all teaching materials on to this portal.

Course content:

  1. Readability and understanding conventions
  2. Using Images
  3. Using text
  4. Using Type
  5. Composition

Aims and Objectives

To develop an online portal for students use for lecture contents, project based learning and for software learning. This online portal will be also supported by a lecturers’ online portal where teaching guidelines can be accessed for tutors and lecturers teaching this course.

Outcomes/Deliverables

  1. Online portal for the course including:
  • Course outline
  • Series of lectures
  • Project based learning instructions
  • Course Resources
  • Software tutorial portal
  • Online project sharing for students.
  1. Online portal for lecturers teaching this course

This portal will be designed for lecturers to help make the smooth running of this course for any lecturer who comes on board.

Stakeholders and Analysis of Learners

Stakeholders

  1. Product and Interior Design lecturers with understanding of industry standard presentation styles
  2. Communication Design Lecturers with experience and resources to teach introductory level graphic design.
  3. Industry advice: Currently practicing industry professional to suggest industry specific presentation styles and trends
  4. Current Students: Discuss what skills they bring to the class, areas of interest and what they want to get out of the class.

Learner Analysis:

  1. Design students commonly prefer Visual, Kinaesthetic and Multi Modal Learners (VARK) and respond less to audio and reader/writer learning styles
  2. First year students respond well to learning strategies described by Felder and Solomon as Global and Sequential learning strategies (Felder and Soloman). The Global strategy allow students to visualise and understand requirements for the final outcome while giving sequential prompts will help them reach the final outcome without getting lost in the process.
  3. Design students enjoy seeing design examples to aspire to, however in the current web environment with overwhelming amount of information it is easy for them to get lost in the process. Navigating students to find examples that meet as well as push the boundaries of the industry standard is important, especially for first year students.
  4. First year students often struggle to organise and resource self-directed study. Online portal that offer sequential exercises and prompts is important to help them use their self-directed time effectively.
  5. Some software learning is required in this course. Students of all software competencies are present in first year level. Online software tutorials to provide in both sequential and subject based topics would be useful. Some students, especially beginners prefer step-by-step tutorials to let them learn “all they need to know”. Other students, particularly those familiar with the software, may prefer subject-based tutorials to refer to as required through out their project.
  6. Many students prefer face to face teaching and tend to put off accessing the online learning portals. However, students’ interest can be sparked when online portal is used in combination with social media to reports on each individual’s progress. Developing an online portal for both resources as well as to connect students may be helpful to motivate students to use this site.

Design Overview and Justification

  1. Develop a portal and resources for online based learning including:
  • Short video lecture series and notes
  • Project based activities and instructions
  • Resources including examples, website links and list of textbooks and online resources
  • Assessment instructions – such as mini quiz and project assessments.
  1. Provide and create a portal for online software tutorial
  2. Suitable existing software, such as Linda.com, Adobe, and tutorials on YouTube. Offer different styles of tutorials to support varying learning styles such as sequential tutorials and topic by topic tutorials.

Justification

  • The student interaction for this course includes, both face-to-face studio class and online learning resources. Holden’s (www.slideshare.net/jtholden) assessment of blended learning strategy mentions that asynchronous approach is less suited to higher cognitive level of interaction and it is more useful for lower cognitive interaction, such as knowledge comprehension and drill practice. Therefore, the asynchronous online learning will be suitable for areas of learning such as software skill and knowledge comprehension for online quiz on conventions and language of graphic design. In contrast, some course content, such as composition and using image is highly nuanced and conceptual subject area that is difficult to be taught in linear step by step. Synchronous face-to-face studio would be effective for teaching this area of the course content.
  • Collis and Moonen discusses the importance of ”individualisation of learning experiences and flexibility in learning alternatives” In this course, individualisation of learning is particularly useful for software learning. Individualisation is required to cater for students with different skill levels and different learning styles. Offering online sequential tutorials and online subject based tutorials as well as face to face studio time where students can directly ask questions would help individualise learning experiences.
  • Zhang et al. (2006) highlights the benefits of video supported learning, such as providing flexibility for learners, and cost and staff saving for institutions. However, their study found that simply offering video support may not be sufficient for effective learning. Students involved in this study tended not to view the video for a second time if they did not understand the content. Therefore, video lectures for this course must be of high quality to help students understand the content and enjoy viewing the videos. Studying the trends of online videos such as YouTube videos for aspects such as lengths and presentation methods and applying some of these to the lecture video may help let us produce lecture videos that appeal to the students. An accompanying lecture notes may also be helpful.
  • Further, Collis and Moonen (2001) suggests the importance of sharing the responsibility with students to find resources. While it is important for the lecturer to select useful online tutorials for students to use, asking students to identify and share favourite online tutorials would help broaden the scope of resources both in tutorial subject matter and tutorial style. At the same time this may help motivate students to carry out deeper enquiry into their area of study. Students’ selection of online tutorials could be shared in the online portal for the course.
  • Letting students know that their work will be displayed can motivate students to develop work to a higher standard (Gibb 2009). This course asks students to post their weekly projects on the online portal for critique by lecturers and peers. As suggested by Gibb (2009), this assessment method would hopefully help motivate students to develop polished outcome and keep to deadlines.

Learning Strategies:

Activities 

  1. Weekly Project offers a platform for students to apply theory to practical projects. 5 weekly projects will be completed for 5 learning objectives. Each project will be completed in A4 format using Photoshop and or InDesign and saved into jpeg format for digital submission. Students will be asked to use online tutorials when required to learn software skills as they apply the skills to the projects.
  1. Reflective learning is encouraged through these projects as explained in b. content, communication and interaction.
  2. Final project is another practical activity that helps students consolidate all learning outcomes and course topics. Students will be asked to develop presentation document to communicate a design outcome from another course Students can use online portal to look back at previous lectures and course contents to ground their learning.
  3. Self Reflection: Students will be asked to write a short paragraph of self-reflection on their final project. Outlining their intentions, discussing graphic design conventions applied to the final presentation and self-reflection of how they could improve their presentation will be useful to enhance students’ learning and for assessors to gain insight into students’ thinking process. Hattie and Timperley cited in Spiller (2009) suggests that an effective feedback from a lecturer should include three main focus; “Where am I going; How am I doing and Where next.” Hattey and Timperley (2007), p86 cited in Spiller (2009). These prompts would also be helpful to give students to carry out self-evaluation.
  1. Content

Mini lecture

Mini lecture will be delivered initially as a conventional lecture and later as information videos broken in short segments.

Online resources

  1. Online tutorial – link to Linda.com and links to exemplar you tube video tutorials. Research will need to be carried out to find useful links as well as to find out which topics require video tutorials to be created.
  2. Portal of examples. Online, textbook and other printed examples will need formatting and organisation. This is not a one off exercise, but will require frequent updates to keep up with shifting trends and industry standards.
  3. Self explanatory lecture notes
  4. Brief and instruction for weekly projects and final presentation
  5. Online Short Quiz and Quiz contents.

Formats

  • Visual and video media formats – students seem to prefer these formats.
  • List of useful textbooks will also be made available online.

Communication/interaction

Interaction will be carried out in both synchronous and asynchronous approaches.

Synchronous

  • Studio workshop offers students a face-to-face learning with both lecturer and peers for discussions, and critique and learning skills.
  • Students’ projects submitted online will receive critique comments from the lecture and peers will be encouraged to also give constructive comments.
  • Mini Lecture helps students learn graphic design topics and give opportunity for questions and answers relating to the topic.

Asynchronous

  1. Self directed weekly project work
  2. Online software tutorials
  3. Online resources on graphic design topics
  4. Online Short Quiz

Required Technologies

  1. Adobe Photoshop, InDesign Software
  2. Facebook
  3. Web search
  4. Moodle or other educational online portal

Learning sequence per week

  1. 30 min Lecture on graphic design topic
  2. 2 x studio workshops – discussion on the design topic and work on weekly project. Peer Critique session to discuss each other’s work
  3. Receive informal feedback from lecturer for iteration
  4. Receive software help from lecturer
  5. Carryout online software tutorial where required.
  6. Submit the project in online portal such as class Facebook page
  7. Online feed backs from lecturers and students. Students are encouraged to team up with 2 – 3 students to give each other constructive feedback.

Assessment

Weekly project

Weekly project is a practical application of weekly lecture topics.

Online Quiz

Some knowledge required for graphic design, such as file types and sizes are fact based learning which is suited to online learning. After becoming familiar with graphic design terms and conventions, students will be asked to take online quiz to consolidate their learning.

Final Project

Create design posters and presentation PDF (PowerPoint type of presentation designed in InDesign software). Poster and presentation will be developed by consolidating all graphic design topics and skills learnt through the weekly projects. This will give students the opportunity to demonstrate their learning from this course. Students are able to carry out their design during studio workshop classes.

Informal comments and formative assessments will be carried out during the studio workshop classes.

Milestones and timeline for Objectives:

Objective 1 Online portal for the course including:

  • Course outline
  • Series of lectures
  • Project based learning instructions
  • Course Resources
  • Software tutorial portal
  • Online project sharing for students.

Milestone 1. Develop and source contents for the online portal – Approx. 6 weeks. The contents include developing lectures and filming into video format, gathering course resources and suitable software tutorials online and writing project and learning instructions.

Mile Stone 2 Proof and finalise the above contents

Mile Stone 3 Make the course contents available online.

Mile stone 4 Develop teaching guide and instructions for teaching staff and make them available on teaching portal

Resources

Teaching staff: Communication design staff to research currently available online resources and tutorials. A vast array of online tutorials for software is available. A staff will be required to define what tutorial contents are required, what tutorials are already available and what tutorials need to be developed.

Mini lecture is a part of this course that could be made online to enhance flexibility of this course. Short online lecture videos needs to be created that are current, attractive and informative.

Online Quiz: Technical language and aspects of graphic design will be taught in self-directed learning online. Online tutorial is required to teach technical language and aspects, such as file formats and size. Online quiz is required to test students understanding. Both tutorials and quiz need to be developed and up laded onto digital portal for students to access in self-directed time.

Teaching Manual Because this course covers fundamentals of graphic design, ideally it would be taught by any communication design lecturer. Developing teaching hand-book will be useful for this course to gain flexibility in staffing.

Evaluation:

Formative feedback

Invite students for an informal focus group to discuss how they are finding the course. Make a list of minor changes that can be made immediately and implement for the rest of the course. Note minor and major changes that could be evaluated for future course delivery

Summative Feedback

Students: Ask interested students to come to focus group to discuss the course. Bring prompts to ensure all areas of interest are covered during the discussions. Also ask to complete an anonymous survey and sprite a summary of their view of their course.

Staff: Invite stakeholders identified above for pin up critique session. Pin up a range of student outcomes to discuss areas for improvement, elements to add or alter in the course. Develop and implement areas for improvement in the following delivery of this course.

References

Collis, B. & Moonen, J. (2001). Flexible learning in a digital world. Open and Distance Series. London: Kogan page Ltd

Felder, R. M. & Soloman, B.A. Learning Styles And Strategies. http://www4.ncsu.edu/unity/lockers/users/f/felder/public/ILSdir/styles.htmretrieved 15 November 2014

Gibbs, G. (2010). Using assessment to support student learning. UK: University of East Anglia.

Holdern, J. Develping a blended learning strategy. Powerpoint http://www.slideshare.net/jtholden/developing-a-blended-learning-strategy-instructional-media-pedagogical-considerations Retrieved 15 November, 2014.

Zhang, D., Zhou, L., Briggs, R., Nunamaker, J.,(2006). Instructional video in e-learning: Assessing the impact of interactive video on learning effectiveness. Information & Management 43, 15–27.

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Constructing Courses to Enhance Learning: Theory of Design

Step 2 Application of components of ADDIE to learning theory and Flexible Learning

Background and Rational

What are you doing now?

Currently some graphic design is embedded within other courses that are delivered in Product and Interior design. Further improvement in the graphic design understanding and skills are apparent in students’ project outcome.

More comprehensive course to teach both theory and practical aspects of graphic design is required. In particular it would be beneficial for students to be taught industry standard language to increase the standard of presentation across the design school.

Who are your learners

Previous VARK tests carried out by students indicated that most students prefer visual, kinaesthetic and multi modal styles while many students struggle with aural and reader writer styles.

Felder and Soloman’s learning styles and strategies are useful tool to analyse students’ learning style preferences. Unlike the VARK test which gives a seemingly clear differentiations between the learning styles, Felder and Soloman offers more nuanced strategies and styles required for learning that is applicable also to design process. These strategies can be used to identify ideal ways that design students carry out their projects. Further, the course can be developed to navigate students to use helpful learning strategies as applicable throughout the course.

For further analysis on characteristics of students learning styles, please refer to Felder and Solomon’s learning styles https://machikosflexiblelearning.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/activity-4/

What is not working?

Currently class modules on visualisation put emphasis on computer software skills. However, software skill needs to be supported by fundamental graphic design theories, rules, and examples so that they can apply this knowledge to the software use.

Aims and Objectives:

To construct a new course on introduction to graphic design

This course will enable students to present their work in formats and visual language that are compatible with the current industry standard.

Designing

What does the project look like?

Course Structure and Assessment

Weekly project

Students may be inclined to prioritise their core design studio projects with larger design outcomes and put this graphic design course to the side. Offering weekly self-directed projects may allow them to stay on task and gain good understanding of the course topics.

Final Project

Similarly helping students understand the importance of this course in practical way would be important. Students could be asked to create a poster and presentation for projects carried out in another course.

Student Engagement and communication

Face to Face Support, and Facebook Page

The self-directed projects will be supported with online materials. Students will be able to work at their own pace during the week and submit weekly. The submission may be posted on class Facebook group page or other online media. This helps self govern deadlines while making projects public encourages students to polish their outcomes. Showing design outcomes and learning to receive and give feedback is important aspect of studying design. Encouraging online feedbacks on projects would be one of the ways students can learn to do this. Students will also have some face to face feedback from a lecturer at the studio workshop to encourage them to feel confident about their projects they pos.

Blended learning

Short Lecture, Studio Class, and Online Tutorial

Blended learning is an important part of teaching this practical course. Short presentation/lecture on theory of graphic design is important to frame the design theory. This will be followed up by face to face studio class to carry out their weekly project. In their self directed time, online resources including the lecture and examples can be used to improve their understanding in the subject area.

An important aspect of this course is for students to learn to use graphic design computer software. Online software tutorial will be provided for students to use and they are also able to ask lecturers for software skill advice during their studio class time.

Students also often learn software skills through working with each other. Organising specific times when computer suit is available for students to come and use the software may give students an opportunity to interact and work together on the studio projects.

Learning Theory

This course will be taught using practical project based learning which would require careful reflective and iterative process for designing. Projects can be carried out in self-paced way with online resources to guide students.

Resources and Content

Fundamental Rules and guidelines

Exemplar examples of practical application of the design theory

Software tutorial

Links to relevant websites

Link to Class Facebook Page

Online Video Lecture:  Weekly lectures will be made available Online. In time, online video lectures could replace conventional lectures. However, Video lectures that are films of lecturers standing and talking can be dull and unattractive to students. In order to design a highly competitive course that students will enjoy, short, up to date and informative forms of video is required.

Constructing Course to Enhance Learning: Theory of Design

Assessment 2; Theory of Design

ADDIE Design Model

ADDIE, an acronym for design stages that are Analysing; Designing; Developing; Implementing; and Evaluating. ADDIE is a useful design model for developing flexible learning course. Analysing, designing and evaluation phases are particularly helpful to design a course that supports flexible learning.

Analysing needs of learners is an important first step to developing a course. Mapping out the characteristics, needs and interests of students can help develop various teaching strategies that are well suited for the particular group of students. Identifying specific needs of the students helps to list various flexible learning strategies that can be utilised in the design of the course.

Designing phase of ADDIE model is a process to define learning objectives and outline course content. Having this phase in the process is useful to consolidate and map out how and where flexible learning can be embedded in the course before developing the course content.

Evaluation is an important aspect of developing courses for both students and lecturer. It is our objective that this course can be to develop into a well organised and resourced course, so that any lecturer who is an expert in the communication design field will be able to teach this course. The iteration processes outlined in ADDIE model will be useful for ongoing improvement of this course.

 

 

Constructing Courses to Enhance Learning Assessment 1

Assessment 1 Analysis of learners and context

Describe the learners and their context for the course which you wish to design

Course Context: Introduction to graphic design

Graphic Design is a skill and understanding that is useful for a broad range of students and professionals. Gaining the fundamental understanding and skills to carry out graphic design allows design students and students of wider polytechnic to compile and present their work in professional way. In this assessment I will explore ways of designing a course for introducing graphic design to wide audience.

 

Organisational Vision

Interdisciplinary Teaching and Income diversification

Recently, tertiary institutions have seen a great shift in teaching approach to one that is more interdisciplinary. The interdisciplinary can be seen in students choosing to add a second major or minor to their degree. However, more recently broader interdisciplinary topics can be seen within a degree programme. Students studying in diverse areas of disciplines would benefit from introduction to graphic design and presentation skills. Taking this opportunity to offer an introductory course in graphic design will open up the opportunity for design students, students in the wider Otago Polytechnic campus as well as professional in the industry who are motivated to take interest papers.

 

LEARNER DIVERSITY

In applying the Vark learning style theory to Design Schoool Students, a large number of students learning styles lean on the spectrum of visual, kinesthetic or multi modal styles, rather than aural or reader writer style. Because of this trend much of the teaching uses visual teaching aids, such as diagrams, videos and infographics. Similarly students prefer to learn by doing in more kinesthetic approach to apply the theory and course content to practical projects.

When opening this course to a wider audience who may prefer read/write or aural learning styles, additional teaching strategies will need to be introduced. In considering the wider audience,Felder and Soloman’s learning styles to think of the learning styles as a spectrum is useful. In particular 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.

Lerner Diversity: 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 using software and typographical layout.. 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.

 

Lerner Diversity: Sensing to Intuitive  and  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. For example, to design a presentation for a design competition, students in this course will not be able to comprehend every possible theory and rules about presentation, but instead, intuitive and global learning style is required to identify most relevant visual aesthetics and strategy that the competition associates itself with.

For students who are on prefer the spectrum of Sensing and Sequential learning, expecting them to carry out their project in Global and Intuitive learning style may be a barrier. For instance, Sequential learners are often the students who ask for the definitive graphic design how to text book, which in reality does not exist. For these students, it may be beneficial for a lecturer to use Intuitive and Global style themselves to suggest a strategy in more Sequential way with examples from competition entry. Prompting a few areas for consideration in identifying graphic design aesthetics and strategies for the project may be helpful. On the other hand, there are a number of dos and do not’s in graphic design industry. Teaching these fundamental rules will be useful for sequential learners as well as preparing the students for the industry.

learners

Goals for the design phase

Consider a number of learning objectives useful for the course

Search and design various strategies to teach presentation skills to wide audience

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.

Image

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 (eg.one 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.

Reference

Jelley, R. (2013) “Open Education Practice : A User Guide for ORganisations/ OER literature review.”http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Open_Education_Practices:_A_User_Guide_for_Organisations/OER_Literature_Review#cite_note-PawlowskiBick-4   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.

Image

 

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

sustainability2

 

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

Context

“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, www.mfe.gvt.nz/issues/waste

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.

Brief

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.