Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Greyhouse - Wednesday at 11:30

Hi all,

This is our final meet time - come with a one page (one object?) overview of your paper as a way to tell us what you did and what you got out of it. Remember, it doesn't need to say everything - it just needs to set up the conversation.

Everyone will have about 8 minutes to give us an overview and time to ask questions. This will be relatively informal. I will put some examples on blackboard - but don't feel constrained to these. The goal is to communicate what you've been doing and to "intrigue" us to ask questions to find out more.

Oh - and I'll buy the coffees / cocoas / teas and stuff to nibble :)

Don't forget to do course evaluations - and you can use the Blog to share it with the group. If you'd rather not be "open" about it - then at least do it for yourself as a placeholder of what you took away from the experience. I fully anticipate there is room for improvement and have very much enjoyed doing this class with you all.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Celebrating...and a question

By now you should have all received the email about course evaluations. Please take the 5 minutes to do these - I value your input and take it into account.

Also - respond to this particular post if you would like to move our "final" (which is essentially sharing an overview of our various final projects) to an evening event at my house with food and drinks (and big dog). I realize some of you have family and this may not work for you - but if we can get a sense of this by Wednesday we can make the right decision for all of us

Week 16 - Trajectories and Personas

Ok - the last chunk of reading - and hopefully an enjoyable set. Everyone should read the Crismond article and the Dorst/Lawson chapter on expertise that are already up on Blackboard. Crismond is speaking more to K-12 students, and the other chapter is speaking more to undergraduate and beyond. Read them from the perspective of trying to fill in some of the blanks from last week - about what changes as novices become experts. We had some hypotheses - how do these play out?

As for the last thing to read - you are to choose one of 2 chapters in Dorst/Lawson. One is speaking more to the "novice" (being a novice) end of the continuum, and one to the "professional end" (becoming a professional). Remember to tell each other which one you plan to read - and make sure that there are at least a couple people on each chapter. These are all easy reads :)

For our last class we're going to jump right into the idea of creating personas (there is an overview on Blackboard if you are interested). Personas are summaries of "typical" people - for us, typical design learners or designers. We'll work in pairs creating at least one persona of a typical learner or designer with a goal of using the persona as a way to synthesize what we understand about features of design knowing and learning - and then use the personas to imagine "if this person was in my classroom or workplace, what might I anticipate they would struggle with - and how might I help them learn or be a better designer?"

I should have the scanned pdf's of the last 2 chapters up on Blackboard soon - I have been having a problem with scanning them and should get it working soon.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Week 15 - Expert / Novice differeces

Thanks to Meagan these are our summaries and hypotheses from this week:

We have two more sets of readings - they represent a culmination of the two major parts of this course (e.g., the first weeks on "what is design knowledge or knowing" and the later weeks on "what is design cognition and learning").

This week it's all about exploring how novices and experts differ - one is a particular study that builds off of the data we've been using in class (Atman et al), one is an overview (Cross), and one is a focus on creative designers (Cross).

As you read these papers, reflect back on our prior readings and activities (such as analyzing design data last week). For example, what stands out as consistent themes that tell a story about how novices and experts differ? How can our past readings and activities help us understand why these differences might exist? Can you imagine a "typical" design student and what they might struggle with in terms of learning how to design (and ground it in these readings and others)? (This last question is a foreshadowing of our final synthesis activity - creating "personas" of typical design learners (K-12, undergraduate, graduate, practicing) to imagine ways to support their learning or more effective design practice. "Personas" are a strategy in human-centered design that helps designers understand "the problem" and evaluate potential solutions.)

As a heads up to the next week - the focus will be on thinking of expert-novice differences in terms of learning trajectories - how designers change over time in terms of what they know about design.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Preparation for Week 13 - analyzing design activity

In two weeks an analysis of design activity will be due in class. Respond to this post with what type of data you might like to analyze to "try out" the ideas we've been discussing in class. I've included some information on how much data there is (you will only have a subset - so that this is feasible!).
  • Drawings of design professionals' representations of design (typically 1 page - 18 cases)
  • Debriefs in response to a model of design (24 freshmen, 26 seniors, 18 professionals) (typically 2-5 pages)
  • Think alouds of individuals designing a playground (24 freshmen, 26 seniors, 18 professionals) (typically 15-25 pages, typically 1-3 hours of activity)
  • Videotapes (with transcripts) of 2 engineering design team meetings (7 professionals) (1.5 hour meetings, transcripts around 20 pages)
  • Videotapes (with transcripts) of 2 architect design team meetings (architect and 2 clients) (1.5 hour meetings, transcripts around 20 pages)
  • Design reports - defrief on "lessons learned" of engineering freshmen on a design team (18 teams, typically 1-2 pages)
  • "Cases" of design processes in industry from the Design Council
The data will be posted on Blackboard. I'll also try to put folks in teams so you can talk through what you observe and why.

    Week 12 - Situated Cognition and Sketching

    This marks our last week into theories of human learning and how design researchers draw on these to try to understand what designers do, what they know, and how they learn.

    The Fish and Scrivener article (9 pages!!!) is the "high level" read that describes how sketching and visual imagery helps us think. The Goldschmidt article (1991) is a well known paper that describes how design sketching and visual imagery supports design thinking. Everyone should read these two.

    Half the group should read the Blanco article and half the Goldschmidt and Smolkov article - as an example of applying these ideas to design activity. The Blanco article looks at how sketching is used in collaborative design. The other article looks at how visual stimuli influences designing.

    Thursday, October 29, 2009

    Week 11: Situated cognition view of design

    The readings for this week give:
    • An overview of situated cognition theory and how it relates to learning (Greeno) - a little tough as a read - keep in mind that he is talking across behaviorist, cognition, situated cognition views and trying to pull them together
    • An overview of design as situated cognition (Visser) - good stuff, not always the easiest person to read :)
    • Read ONE of the papers by Dony or Crilly et al as an example of what it looks like to use these theories to student design (use the blog to let others know which one you are reading)

    Down the road - next week I'll put up a post on the "analyzing design" Nov 18 project - to get a sense of what kinds of data people want to look at.

    To keep it fun: Explore this link - what does this say about design thinking?

    Sunday, October 25, 2009

    HOK Architects - listening to their views on design

    Hi all, this is the link Steve brought up in class where you can listen to people at a major architecture firm (HOK) talking about their views on design (click on Thought Leaders).

    This might be something that can be explored in the week where we "analyze data" rather than read :)

    Wednesday, October 21, 2009

    Week 10 - Cognition and design cognition

    The readings for this week have been modified. For an overview on cognitive theories we have Svinicki (not Hunt although Hunt goes into more detail on how memory works) and a chapter from the book How People Learn that gives an overview of what we understand about cognition. Everyone should read these 2 (they are enjoyable reads) and then pick one of the following as an example of a study of "design cognition". One of the things you may notice is that reflective practice won't be a focus of these papers, this is because this is an idea that falls under the theories of situated cognition (which will be the focus for week 11).

    Remember to use the blog comment box to identify which one of these you will read - and try to "pair up" so you have someone to talk through the paper with.

    • Huang - generating idea sketches through neural network systems
    • Ball and Christensen - analogical reasoning
    • Kim et al - creativity and limited commitment mode control strategy (e.g., Goel and Pirolli)
    • Jin and Cusilp - mental iteration
    • Kokovitch - mind mapping thinking tools
    • Purcell and Gero - fixation
    Key questions for discussion:
    • In general, what can cognitive theories tell us about how people learn?
    • What can they help us understand about how and why people design in the ways they do?
    • What are some implications for understanding and/or facilitating design learning?
    Oh yeah - the paper for the analysis we looked at in Week 9 (ping pong vs. streetcrossing) is in Blackboard for Week 9 (Adams-DTRS6).

    Friday, October 16, 2009

    Week 9 - Oct 21 - Design tasks engage design thinking

    So - we've been unpacking "design" - now we're going to look at design tasks to understand what makes design unique from "non-design" (if we can say that). This will also be our first foray into cognitive theories - here the idea is that the nature of design tasks engage particular kinds of thinking. All three readings speak to this idea:
    • Goel and Pirolli take a cognitive view - and test out their idea using verbal protocol analysis (this is the paper that can be a bit tough to read - focus on the the table/charts of 12 features)
    • Jonassen talks a continuum of more cognitive to situated cognition perspectives
    • Dorst brings in a summary of "wicked" problems to understand why we see differences in how people approach design

    Thursday, October 8, 2009

    Week 8 - Jigsaw on design philosophies

    Two reminders: (1) the assignment for next week (see below) and (2) a reminder to bring 3 copies of your "concept idea" for peer feedback and discussion. The goal of the concept paper is to get you formulating your ideas and get feedback early on how to focus your ideas or what you can do to develop your idea. It can be text, a picture, an outline - whatever gets your idea across so you can get useful feedback.

    Next week we are doing a jigsaw activity - this is a collaborative learning technique in which you first (1) work in one small group to learn about X, (2) then in a second group, teach others about what you learned about X, and then (3) in this second group discuss the intersection or relationships among the various ideas. For us, the X's are: sustainable design, participatory design, and human-centered design. Each of these represent a particular philosophy of design - and therefore each illustrates how a set of ideas can guide a set of design practices. Next week we'll go to Samara to see Frank Lloyd Wright's "philosophy in action".

    We assigned these on Wednesday (Andrew we put you in the human-centered group - I think). You only read the 2 papers for your group (not all 6-yikes) and the 1 short paper by Sanders.

    In your first group - discuss - and be prepared to teach others:

    • What is X (sustainable, participatory, human-centered design)?
    • How does this idea influence design activity (the designer, the design, the process)?
    • How does this idea fit within the concept maps we did last week? Or more broadly how does it fit in your world?

    Also - the sustainable design group is "missing" a paper - I'll send it out on email to all.

    Monday, October 5, 2009

    Week 7 - Oct 7 Thought Questions

    This week we are approaching the conclusion of our exploration into different ways of "unpacking" design (process, social process, philosophy, way of knowing, etc.). We started this way so that when we explore cognitive perspectives we have a language for describing different kinds of thinking, knowing, and learning.

    The Rowland paper is a synthesis and application of Nelson & Stolterman's book "The Design Way" to articulate an epistemology (theory of knowledge) of design. How does he characterize a theory of design knowledge? How might this be broadly applicable (other design fields such as architecture, mechanical design, construction engineering, etc.)?

    The other reading is a revisit of Dorst from the third week of class. In some ways we started here to open the space and we are ending here to map out the space of design knowledge. What would go on your "map"? How might some of these ideas be connected (think of a mind map)? Which of these ideas are central to your philosophy of design?

    Sunday, September 27, 2009

    Respond to Doodle poll for Samara tour

    Eric has created a Doodle poll to find a time for the Samara tour for the class. The available evenings the week of October 19 and 26 are Tuesdays and Thursdays.

    Please go to the doodle poll before class this week to post your availability. For those of you who have never used this tool, simply write in your name and click the boxes in which you are available to go.

    The link to more information on Samara is here.

    The link to Samara and class - it is an example of design philosophy (Frank Lloyd Wright's)!

    Wednesday, September 23, 2009

    Week 6 - Sept 30 Thought Questions

    This week's readings focus on design as a social process. As you will notice, exploring design as a social process often involves observation and ethnographic approaches. For some of you this may push even harder on your ideas of researcher bias - keep in mind that there is bias in all research - and that different methods allow different vantages point for investigation. Focus on how the method reveals something about design knowledge, and how the authors substantiate their findings.

    Next week we are going to do a "fishbowl" activity - where half the class will do a design project and the other half will be researchers studying them. Think about which role you want (observer or observee) - and come prepared to discuss:

    (1) How do the authors talk about design as a social process (and how can this help you make sense of what you observe for the fishbowl activity)?
    (2) What insights do they bring to our question "what do designers know and how do they come to know it"?
    (3) How do they study design? What are the strengths and weaknesses of their approaches?

    Sunday, September 20, 2009

    Interesting conversation on the PhD in Design Listserve

    Below is something shared on the PhD in design listserve...what do you think is going on?

    Date: Thu, 17 Sep 2009 09:24:40 -0400
    From: Charles Burnette <
    Subject: Re: exceeding the brief

    A similar experience. I presented a group problem solving technique at three different Universities. At the distinguished research university (The University of Pennsylvania) the student's questioned everything thoroughly and intelligently but never entered into the process. At the more vocationally focussed university (Drexel) the students required much more guidance, were more rule bound, and got to a solution much more tentatively. At the art based university (The University of the Arts) the students entered into the process readily, explored it creatively and came out with the best outcomes (in my judgment). Each group seemed to manifest the nature of their institution and education. Design education clearly biases students to
    seek creative solutions (hopefully with sensitivity, intelligence, rigour, etc.) It is no surprise that they behave as they do. Similarly, communication students seek to find an expression understood and acceptable to the communicants involved. But I have never met a "well behaved traditional art student" that manifested that view! Their own goals and understandings usually guide their behavior, or so I believe. Hopefully, as design education gains a seat in the University and becomes more user oriented it will become better at contextualized communication - yet still hang on to its creative edge.

    Monday, September 14, 2009

    Frank Lloyd Wright - Samara

    Eric has offered to put together a tour of the Samara House - take a peek and we'll discuss this Wednesday.

    Friday, September 11, 2009

    Some thought questions for Sept 16

    Craig talked about content analyses of process as one way to study and understand design. This week we have 2 studies (Atman et al, Mosborg et al) - one uses verbal protocol analysis to understand what designers do and how this relates to the quality of their final designs, the other explores the ways practicing professional designers think about design processes (one of the tasks should look very familiar!). The third paper is a meta-analysis around "good design".

    Some questions to get you thinking:
    What can you learn through studying design processes?
    What are some relationships between "good process" and "good final product"? How do these ideas relate to your perceptions of what distinguishes more novice and more expert designers?

    In class I'll bring some of the "hard data" from these studies for us to push on these ideas :)

    Click on the link for "comments" below to post your thoughts

    Thursday, September 3, 2009

    Some thought questions for Sept 9

    The topics of this week are "design knowledge" and "investigating design".

    Getting a landscape view: Niedderer provides a short overview of the ways people talk about knowledge and Dorst & Lawson provide an expansive picture of the ways we understand design and designing. If we connect the two - how can they help us understand the nature of design knowledge (feel free to connect to your own experiences as well)?

    Exploring methodologies before we read design studies: Craig provides an overview of common ways people have studied designers and designing; Matthews provides a more recent perspective (particularly, language and interaction). What are the many ways people study designers and designing, and what are their relative strengths and weaknesses? Which of the methods fit with your way of thinking or the kinds of things you might want to study about design?

    Thoughts on Sept 2 class experience

    What did you like about what we did? What do you wish we did?

    How might this class fit with your personal goals?

    Fall 2009!

    Hello all,

    This is our blog for the course - blog posts are due each week by Tuesday at 5pm.

    Each week there will be some guiding questions to focus class discussion - but you are welcome to share your thoughts on any aspect of the readings that "hit your button" or made you think.

    You may also continue a thought from an earlier post - it's open. Remember that the purpose of this is to help you think, let me know what you're thinking (or what questions you have about the readings/activities), and share your thoughts with your peers in this course.