Design Studio Education in the Online Paradigm: Introducing Online Educational Tools and Practices to an Undergraduate Design Studio Course

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Abstract— the architectural design studio, the prevailing form of design education, has resisted opening up to online educational tools and practices. Yet its affinities to the newest theories of learning such as connectivism are many. This paper describes an experimental configuration of multiple learning environments in diverse mediums for an undergraduate design studio at the School of Architecture of the National Technical University of Athens. The aim of the studio’s layout transformation has been to explore its physical boundaries and to create a collaborative milieu between peers that facilitated communication and thus, the exchange of information and knowledge.

Keywords—design studio; design research; collaborative design; online education; complexity theory; connectivism

10 characteristics of good design research

DESIGN RESEARCH

  1. Disruptive: viewing the world in alternative futures/new perspectives
  2. Useful: it must serve a defined purpose
  3. Messy: good design makes you think and this is inherently messy/ it requires untangling using approaches that do not oversimplify
  4. Political: it must clarify its stance on the world’s significant challenges
  5. Impactful: it must create an affect on, a change or a benefit
  6. Critical: it must challenge perspectives
  7. Enduring: it should provide us with a profound revolution in viewing the world not just hot topics
  8. Does not need qualification: the importance of design research lies in its rigor, relevance, quality and impact not in its particular types of design
  9. Thoughtful: it should address difficult issues
  10. Clear: it must be self-explanatory

 

References

Paul Rodgers, Joyce S.R. Yee, 2016. Design Research is Alive and Kicking… In Proceedings of DRS 2016: Design + Research + Society Future–Focused Thinking, (eds Peter Lloyd and Erik Bohemia), Published by the Design Research Society, pp.

Image available here

About the image:

The design research map is defined and described by two intersecting dimensions. One is defined by approach and the other is defined by mind-set. Approaches to design research have come from a research-led perspective (shown at the bottom of the map) and from a design-led perspective (shown at the top of the map). The research-led perspective has the longest history and has been driven by applied psychologists, anthropologists, sociologists and engineers. The design-led perspective, on the other hand, has come into view more recently.

There are two opposing mindsets evident in the practice of design research today. The left side of the map describes a culture characterized by an expert mind-set. Design researchers here are involved with designing FOR people. These design researchers consider themselves to be the experts and they see and refer to people as “subjects”, users”, “consumers”, etc. The right side of the map describes a culture characterized by a participatory mind-set. Design researchers on this side design WITH people. They see the people as the true experts in domains of experience such as living, learning, working, etc. Design researchers who have a participatory mind-set value people as co-creators in the design process. It is difficult for many people to move from the left to the right side of the map (or vice versa) as this shift entails a significant cultural change. (Richard Anderson, 2011)

1962- Conference on Design Methods

1962_CONF DESIGN METHODS

The event determined the parameters of a collective agenda/ it enabled discussions that would catalyze future developments in design methods work. It launched design methodology as a filed of inquiry.

The origins of design research as a discrete area denoting a more systematic and rational
approach to design that emphasizes teamwork predates the DRS (design research society); its emergence in Britain and North America is closely related to the professionalization of design practice/ the Design Research community in Britain were:

  • Herbert Read: critic and design historian, need for research within the design process
  • Marcus Brumwell: advertising executive, Design Research Unit (DRU), emerged in 1943, bringing ‘design’ and ‘research’ into an enduring relationship
  • Milner Gray: The Design Profession 1946
  • John Gloag: director of an advertising agency, discussed the need for Design Research Committees to direct design teams
  • Misha Black: DRU’s Director seized the opportunity to disseminate design thinking to a new generation of designers becoming the RCA’s first Professor of Industrial Design Engineering in 1959
  • Dorothy Goslett: Professional Practice for Designers

 

References

Dr Harriet Atkinson, Dr Maya Rae Oppenheimer, 2016. Design Research-History, theory, practice: histories for future-focused thinking. In Proceedings of DRS 2016: Design + Research + Society Future–Focused Thinking, (eds Peter Lloyd and Erik Bohemia), Published by the Design Research Society, pp. 2585-2592

Nigel Cross, 1993. A history of Design Methodology. In Design Methodology and Relationships with Science, pp. 15-27, Kluwer Academic Publishers

Additional resources:

Image available here

 

Design studio education in the online paradigm

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This is my paper from Athens EDUCON2017. It presents the reader with an understanding of the affinities between the traditional design studio education and connectivism. It also offers insight on the synergy of in-class and online sessions through the presentation of a hybrid urban design studio undergraduate course that ran in NTUA during 2016-2017 winter semester.

Full paper available here

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