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?