Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wordle is my friend

OK. That was fun!

These are the links to the "wordles" we created in class today - remember to follow their procedures for referencing them. Also, if you look in the Forum link you'll see people asking questions about how to print these on t-shirts and stuff.

If you want to play with this and add your own - use the link to share it. The one I just did is "designpurdue5"

Open Blog - Sharing frameworks for final project

There is a lot (A LOT) of crossover on people's projects! Use this link to share ideas and frameworks or ask questions of each other :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Week 16 - Design Assessment and Course Synthesis

Using our personas (Bill, Chris, and Camille are on Blackboard for last week) we will continue to explore the relationship between research on design cognition and learning WITH how people teach or assess design.

Thanks to Denny we will be experiencing a focus group situation around a set of design assessment tools (short overview is uploaded on Blackboard). This is based on the focus groups he is currently running in a variety of settings - and so it is very "real" and our contributions will be a big help to Denny's team as they continue to improve their assessment tools.

In the last part of class - we'll revisit the representations of design we created on the first day and take a step back and ask "what changed and what stayed the same?"

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Week 16 - Dec 3

There will be no more assigned readings --- except one! I have posted articles on personas on Blackboard that gives background and use information (thanks Monica for your help!). Because it took so long to post them, you are not responsible for reading them - they are provided as an fyi. I hope that this will free up time for some well thought out final projects (hint hint).

We will use the last two weeks of class to explore the persona idea as a way of synthesizing our discussions and exploring implications for design education. For December 3rd the focus will be on creating personas of instructors and students and using these to "design" educational experiences. For December 10th the focus will be on using personas of instructors and students to assess or validate a set of assessment tools from Denny Davis (see TIDEE).

To prepare for class on the 3rd:
  • Imagine a "typical" design student - think of information that may be useful to understand the needs of this student in terms of what they already know or do, and what they need to learn or be able to do. Remember to ground your ideas in what we've discussed in class (or perhaps something in another class). See if you can create a story about this student with this in mind.
  • Imagine a "typical" design education instructor - think of information that may be useful to understand the needs of this instructor in terms of helping his/her students learn. Remember to ground your ideas in what we've discussed in class or perhaps something in another class). See if you can create a story about this instructor with this in mind. Remember, don't assume that an instructor is a design expert! Be willing to explore the full expert-novice space!

Getting feedback for your final project:
  • December 3rd bring a brief overview of your ideas (e.g., a storyboard, an outline, a 1-2 page description) I'll give feedback on these by December 5th.
  • December 10-12th I will set aside time for people to have one-on-one sessions with me about your project (we'll do sign ups December 3rd).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sharing observations on design education / assessment

Use this blog to share your observations for next week - remember to tell us "what" you observed!

Working toward the final project!

Use this blog post to share your current thoughts on what you would like to do for your final project in this course.  Post this by next week so I can set up a process for providing feedback.

You may also use this post to tell me what kind of feedback you would like for this final project.  For example, it might be useful to bring an outline of your idea to class next week for peer feedback.  Or, you may want to send it to me to provide feedback.  Similarly, you may want to share a draft and get feedback.  Remember, though, if you want feedback on something more developed you need to provide time for someone to read it and respond :)

Week 14 - Nov 19 - learning trajectories

We're continuing the conversation from this week by looking at two papers.  We're also going to use these papers to connect to what we "observed" about design education and assessment (so don't forget to bring your notes!).

The paper by Crismond synthesizes research on design to identify learner differences and potential education remedies - with a particular focus on young learners. The paper by Dall'Alba and Sandberg is outside of the design research field but provides a view on learning trajectories - with a particular focus on learning professional practices. 

As you read these:
  • Connecting to "observations":  How do these readings relate to your "observations"?  
  • Working towards personas:  
    • How do these readings build on our work from this week on problem scoping, fixation, and process (e.g., new "dimensions" of design learning and how they develop or compare across differences in "expertise")?
    • Think of a "typical" engineering freshman during their fall term. Create a a story about this student (who they are, likes/dislikes, what they really like or hate about design, the kinds of design experiences they may have from the past, what they might believe about design, and what might be easy or difficult for them to learn about design). You can look at the examples here to think about the kinds of information you think is important to understand about this person. Come prepared to think about what "personas" are and how we can use them to synthesize and apply knowledge from this course to "design" design education.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Week 12: Design expertise

We'll be revisiting the "design knowledge" space with a focus on expertise. We're also transitioning to a instructional approach where the focus is on creating personas (short example, long example, wikipedia example) that help link past discussions and readings to a goal of understanding design learning (and of course, supporting design learning).

A persona is an "archetypal" person that represents the needs of larger group of people in terms of their goals and personal characteristics. Although they are fictitious they are based on knowledge of real people. Personas are a technique used in design (particularly user-centered design) to explore user motivations, expectations, and goals. We are using them in this class as a way to relate research on design knowing and learning to the practice of educating design learners. By seeking to understand design learners we can better understand needs for design education. In other words, it's a way to identify learning goals and learning challenges that might be anticipated.

The readings are:

  • An overview: Cross, N. (2001). “Design cognition: Results from protocol and other empirical studies of design activity.” In C.M. Eastman, W.M. McCracken & W. Newstetter (eds.), Design Learning and Knowing: Cognition in Design Education. New York: Elsevier Press. How do novices and expert designers differ? Going back to the first weeks of school, what does this say about the nature of design knowledge?

  • An example from the design data we've been using all term long: Atman, C.J., Adams, R.S., Mosborg, S., Cardella, M. E., Turns, J. and J. Saleem (2008). “Engineering Design Processes: A Comparison of Students and Expert Practitioners.” Journal of Engineering Education.

Drawing on either of these: imagine a particular design learner (e.g., freshman, senior, graduate in industry for a couple of years, etc.):

  • Who is this learner? What's their story (age, background, kinds of experiences related to design, likes and dislikes about design, motivations, beliefs about design)? Feel free to be creative here - provided you can answer the next question!
  • What do the readings suggest about what this learner might know about (or need to know about) design? Why (draw on past readings and discussion)?

Week 11: Follow up to evocative objects and environments

For those interested in Turkle's work follow this link.

For those interested in expanding the idea from evocative objects (things that help you think) to evocative spaces (spaces that help you think) follow this link.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Week 11: Cognitive artifacts and visual reasoning

Moving to a more situated cognition perspective - we are going to delve into what people call "cognitive artifacts" - e.g., artifacts through which people create meaning or interact with a situations "back-talk". While there are many ways to imagine a role for cognitive artifacts in design situations, we're going to primarily focus on the use of representations in design. The Fish and Scrivener piece delves into visual cognition, while the Cardella et al and Blanco papers give two examples in design settings. I added a very short reading on the idea of "evocative objects" as something to help you experience the idea of objects as...cognitive.
  • Fish, J and Scrivener, S. A. (1990) Amplifying the mind’s eye: Sketching and visual cognition. Leonardo, 23, 117-126. What are the "special attributes of sketching" as it relates to cognition (memory, reasoning, invention, etc.)? How might this play out in design situations?
  • Cardella, M., Atman, C.J. and Adams, R. (2006). Mapping between design activities and external representations for engineering student designers. Design Studies, 27, pp. 5-24. How are representations used in design? How does this relate to behaviors we associate with "high quality" designs?
  • Blanco, E. (2003). "Rough Drafts: Revealing and Mediating Design.” In D. Vinck (ed), Everyday Engineering: An Ethnography of Design and Innovation. Cambridge: MIT Press. What kinds of representations do designers create to help them design, and how do they use them (for what purpose)? How does Blanco make sense of this through a "cognitive artifact" lens?
  • Turkle, S. (2007). Evocative Objects: Things We Think With. Cambridge: MIT Press. Think of a particular object that has significance for you. For example, it may be something you use everday or something you reference as an important memory or "way of thinking". What is that object and what meaning does it hold for you? How does this help you imagine the role of cognitive artifacts in design?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Design as X Book on Blackboard

All the annotated bibliographies and overviews have been compiled into a Design as X resource book. You can get it off of Blackboard (in the Design as X folder). This is a group resource - but remember if you choose to cite any of this give full acknowledgement to the person who put together the summary :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Week 10: Design as situated (situated cognition and reflective practice)

The readings for this week introduce the idea of situativity (or situated cognition) and then explore this in the context of design (via reflective practice and two examples of studies).

Everyone should read Greeno and Schön (preferably read Greeno then Schon) and consider the guiding questions below:
  • Greeno, J. (1998). “The situativity of knowing, learning, and research.” American Psychologist, 53, pp. 5-26. Questions: What is situated cognition and how does it relate to cognition? What are some of the implications of situated cognition (as compared to cognition) in terms of kinds of knowledge, kinds of learning environments, and kinds of research?
  • Schön, D. A. (1993). The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action Basic Books, New York. Question: What is reflective practice and how is it an example of situated cognition? How does it related to some of the ideas we've discussed in class?

Respond to the blog by choosing one of the papers below. Adams et al focus on reflective practice as seen in individual designers, Valkenburg focuses on a team of designers. For both, consider: what are the implications of a "reflective practice" lens for understanding design knowing and learning?

  • Adams, R. S., Turns, J. and Atman, C. J. (2003). “Educating effective engineering designers: The role of reflective practice”. Design Studies, Special Issue on Designing in Context, 24(3), pp. 275-294.
  • Valkenburg, R. (1998). The Reflective Practice of Design Teams. Design Studies, 19, 3, pp. 249-271.

Week 9: Design as X Discussion

Explorations into Design as:
  • Ensemble
  • Wicked
  • Culture/Sustainability
  • Innovation
  • Communication
  • User-Centered

Go to Blackboard to print out your own copy of our "book"!

Share your reflections on your experience by following the link below. Me, personally, reallly enjoyed it!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Snapshots from "analyzing design"

Hi all,

Here are snapshots from our "analyzing design" activity - Thanks George!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Week 8 - Cognition and Design

The readings for this week (Hunt and HPL) give an overview of cognition and early approaches to articulating design as cognition (Simon Chp5). This is a fair amount of reading, but they are written for a broad audience and so should be "easier" to read than say, Goel and Pirolli. The first chapter of Simon is provided as a "for your information" and provides an in depth analysis of what he means by a "science of the artificial".

Simply put - as you read these consider:
(1) What is cognition? What does it have to do with how people process information, store and retrieve from memory, organize their knowledge, and reason?
(2) How can you relate these ideas to how people design and what they know about design? Feel free trying to connect these ideas to what we did this last week!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Linking into the Design Community

If you follow this link you go to my research website where there is a list of communities I follow - most of these are in design.

The PhD in design listserve is the one where there has lately been an active conversation that includes Klaus Krippendorff and Harold Nelson (readings from last week).


Week 7 - Analyzing design

Your assignment for this week is to analyze some data of experts designing (or their thoughts on design). All the data files are posted on Blackboard for this week - please do not share these data files with anyone - they are not for public use. Each file has the full collection (debrief, protocol, and representation). The idea is for each person to come to class and discuss their observations with their partner, then with the whole class. It is not expected that you work together outside of class.

The groups are:
- Aidsa and James are looking at the debriefs - pick 5 "meaty" ones that both of you will analyze
- Celia and George are looking at the protocols - pick 2 that both of you will analyze
- CJ and Junqiu are looking at the representations - pick 10 that both of you will analyze

Your goal:
- Analyze this data and present next week (1) your top 3 observations and (2) evidence in the data that supports your observations.
- Draw on the ideas we've been discussing in class to find a way of talking about design knowledge and thinking
- Since you are working in pairs, an additional goal is to explore two (potentially different) takes on the same set of data!

We will also discuss the paper by Craig (below) - which gives an overview of the ways people study design (as well as the strengths of these approaches and their limitations). For those of you who are working towards a final project on studying design, this is a good start place to formulate those ideas.

Craig, D.L. (2001). “Stalking Homo Faber: A Comparison of Research Strategies for Studying Design Behavior.” In C.M. Eastman, W.M. McCracken & W. Newstetter (eds.), Design Learning and Knowing: Cognition in Design Education. New York: Elsevier Press. Read for general ideas – and language.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Week 6 - Oct 1

This is our last section of readings on "what is design?". This last week focuses on the nature of design situations - how design compares to a general model of problem solving, how features of design tasks relate to design practices, and ways to characterize broad features of design situations.
  • Jonassen, D.H. (2000). “Toward a Design Theory of Problem Solving.” Educational Technology: Research & Development, 48 (4), pp. 63-85.
  • Goel, V. & Pirolli, P. (1992). “The Structure of Design Problem Spaces.” Cognitive Science 16, pp. 395-429.
  • Rittel, H., & Webber, M. (1973). Dilemmas in a general theory of planning. Policy Sciences, 4(2), 155-169.

Some guiding questions:

  • How do they characterize "design situations"? In what ways does this speak to "design knowledge", "design processes" or "design thinking"?
  • How do they distinguish design from other activities (e.g., problem solving, non-design)? Do you find their arguments persuasive?
  • How do these ideas connect to our prior discussions / readings?

Open thread week of Sept 24

Hi all,

Good work on delving into some really complex and slightly (ha ha) abstract ideas. I wanted to capture the open questions and put them here - if you want to continue adding questions (I think I missed a few) or chat...this is the place!

Application: How do you USE these ideas?
Agent of change: How do you bring forth a design culture?
Recency: These are new ideas and conversations - how do they relate to prior work - what should we hold onto (are they incommensurate or is there a way to connect them)?
Defining "design": Tension between a concrete (potentially universal) definition and an abstract (potentially situational) definition - how to enable room for change?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Open Thread - Sept 17

Here's a place where you can continue and start conversations.

What are your ideas for analyzing an "instance" of design education

November 19 you are expected to turn in and discuss an analysis of an "instance" of design education through a lenss of "design knowledge and cognition". This can be a textbook, an assessment tool, a syllabus, an observation of a class period, etc.

Because this project may require some "up front" time so that you can access your "instance" - it would be good to share opportunities with the group (e.g., people you know who would let a student sit in class for a session). Use the comment button below to get discussion happening on the kinds of opportunities that exist on campus - the sooner you do this, the more you'll get out of it!

What are your ideas for Design as X project

October 22 you will turn in and discuss in class what you found through your own exploration of an area of design knowledge (e.g., design for emotion, sustainability, lifecycle; design as innovation, mathematical thinking. analogical reasoning, design fixation, etc.).

To focus your exploration and find 3 quality sources to review - you need to start thinking about this now. Using the comment box below - send me some ideas on what you are thinking so I can provide some guidance on where to look.

To get you thinking - here are some links to design communities.

Week 5 - Sept 24 - Design Philosophies

Recently, philosophies of design have entered into the conversation. These involve taking a philosophical approach to articulate the goals-aims-purpose of design. In the process they highlight design skills, knowledge, and values.

The readings for this week provide two views:

  • Nelson and Stolterman articulate “the design way” – where design involves intention and judgment and the outcome of design emerges from systems thinking. Nelson, H. & Stolterman, E. (2003). The Design Way: Intentional Change in an Unpredictable World. New Jersey: Educational Technology Publications. Chapters: Desiderata, Judgment (skim "The First Tradition" to get a sense of where they are coming from)
  • Krippendorf takes a semantics view to articulate a view of “human-centered design” – that designers design for “meaning”. Krippendorf, K. (2006). The Semantic Turn: A New Foundation for Design. Boca Raton: Taylor and Francis. Chapter Two: Basic Concepts of Human-Centered Design

Some of you will enjoy these readings, some of you will struggle with them – they are included because they are representative of current conversations about the nature of design (and to some extent they are seeking to “redraw the boundaries of design”). At the same time they provide interesting connections to design as process, designerly ways of thinking, and design as negotiation.

We will use a jigsaw technique this week – while I will assign groups don’t feel that you can’t argue for a different group!

George, James, Aidsa – try out Krippendorf: what does he argue about the goals, aims, or process of design, and what does “semantics” have to do with design?

Celia, CJ, Junqiu, and Roy – try out Nelson and Stolterman: what do they argue about the goals, aims, or process of design, and what is “the design way”?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Week 4 - Sept 17 - Design as a social process

Thank you Aidsa - for the fabulous snacks!

This week we will use what is called a "jigsaw technique" to delve into the readings. Since the topic this week is "design as a social process" it seemed fitting to use an approach that focuses on "social learning". For this jigsaw, one group will read the Bucciarelli chapteres (Celia, CJ, James, Roy); the other group will read the Stumpf and Brereton articles (Junqiu, Aidsa, George). This roughly works out to be a similar reading load. When you come to class, each group will first discuss their reading - and then change groups where they will educate others on the main points in the readings.

To help you "educate your peers" on the readings - here are some guiding questions:
(1) How does each talk about design as a social process (similarly, how does each study design as a social process)?
(2) What new insights do these authors bring to the question "what is it that designers know and how do they know it?"

The readings for this week are:
  • Bucciarelli, L. L. (1996). Designing engineers. Cambridge: MIT Press. Chapter 1-2, 6. Chapters 1-2 provide an overview of his approach while Chapter 6 is a case study. Chapter 2 is provided as an "fyi".
  • Brereton, M. F., Cannon, D. M., Mabogunje, A., & Leifer, L. J. (1996). Collaboration in design teams: How social interaction shapes the product. In H. C. N. Cross, K. Dorst (Ed.), Analysing design activity . Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Stumpf, S.C. & McDonnel, J.T. (2001). Talking about team framing: Using argumentation to analyse and support experimental learning in early design. Design Studies, 23 (1), pp. 5-23.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Discussion for Week 3 - Sept 10 - Design thinking and experiencing

For this week we begin to make the transition from what designers do to how they think and experience design.

Guiding questions:

  • What is distinctive about designerly ways of thinking? Can you think of other professions that might be similar?
  • What can studies of how people experience design tell you about what designers know?
    What do the Mann et al and Daly et al studies suggest about what designers know about design and how they know it? How do the ideas in these two papers compare to Cross?
  • In Daly et al an overview is provided of a study on ways of experiencing design – how do these categories (and their relationships) relate to your own experiences (including your observations of students, etc.)?

The readings are:

  • Cross, N. (2006). Designerly Ways of Knowing. London: Springer-Verlag. Chapter 1-2
  • Mann,L., Radcliffe, D. and G. Dall’Alba (2007). “Experiences of sustainable design among practicing engineers: Implications for engineering education.” Proceedings of the annual ASEE Conference, Hawaii, June.
  • Daly, S., Mann, L., and Adams, R. (2008). “A new Direction for Engineering Education Research: Unique Phenomenographic Results that Impact Big Picture Understandings.” To be published in the Proceedings of the Annual Australasian Engineering Education Conference, Australia. THIS IS A DRAFT - DO NOT CIRCULATE :)

Read the Daly et al piece after reading Mann et al - to get a deeper understanding of the research method and process.

Addition to Week 2 assignments

Thanks to everyone for being patient with schedules this week.

To catch up on time lost this week we will use the first hour of class to revisit the readings from Sept. 3 (Atman et al, Adams, Dorst & Cross, Mehalik & Schunn). To prepare for this - you have an assigment that should be posted to the blog by Monday evening. There will also be an assignment on Week 3 readings but that is in a separate comment.

On Blackboard for Wk 2 - Sept. 3 are three files to help you synthesize ideas from the readings.
1. Download the file "process model activity".

2. On the first page is a diagram of a process model - this is a diagram a design educator uses in his design class to help students think about "what is a good process, and why?" For this diagram - what do you think is "good" about this process and what are opportunities for improvement? Think about these ideas as you move onto the next step.

3. On the remaining pages are "design step" diagrams for some of the experts we talked about last week. The codes on the left (PD, Gath, etc.) are the same codes used by Atman et al that represent steps in a design process. The tickmarks represent time spent in those activities over the duration of the time they spent designing a playground. Based on what you understand of the readings - which timelines would you anticipate would be examples of "effective" processes (i.e., high quality solutions) and which would be examples of "ineffective" processes? Why?

4. How do your ideas of “good process” relate to process models of design (yours, those described in design texts, the experts you discussed last week)? Some of you might find that there are contradictions, some of you might see them as the same.

5. If you want to think ahead, there is a file on Blackboard called "least-most expert analysis". this is an overview of what the experts consider least important and most important about a set of ideas people associate with design activity. What do you see? Any surprises?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Discussion for Week 2 - September 4 - Design process knowledge

The papers for this week focus on what designers do from a process perspective. To guide discussion, consider the following questions (click on the link at the bottom to post your reflections):

- What do designers "do"? What does this suggest about what they "know" (in other words, what might be reasons for the ways they "do" design)?

- How does this relate to ideas about "good design"?

- How does this compare to what you know about design or to the representations of design we discussed today?

The readings:

  • Adams, R. S. (2002). “Understanding design iteration: Representations from an empirical study,” Proceedings of the International Conference of the Design Research Society, September, London.
  • Atman, C. J., Chimka, J. R., Bursic, K. M., & Nachtman, H. L. (1999). A Comparison of freshman and senior engineering design processes. Design Studies, 20 (2), 131-152.
  • Dorst, K. & Cross, N. (2001). “Creativity in the design process: co-evolution of problem-solution.” Design Studies, 22 (5), pp. 425-437.
  • Mehalik, M.M. & C. Schunn (2006). “What constitutes good design? A review of empirical studies of design processes.” International Journal of Engineering Education, 22 (3), Special Issue on Learning and Engineering Design.

Sign up for snacks

Hi all,

If you are interested in bringing snacks for class - please respond to this blog - and let us know which week you want.

Snacks can be super simple and cheap :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Welcome to Design Cognition & Learning

This is a blog to support online conversations for the Fall 2008 Design Cognition & Learning course offered through the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. Class members will be invited to post comments to discussion topics here, and other members of the design research or engineering education research community are invited to participate or lurk as they see fit.