Design Education Strategy

Using SLOC as a co-design inquiry tool into nomadic pedagogy for a Design+Ecology project

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Design Education Strategy

Design educators have been trying for the past decades to frame real-world problems in the context of studio-based practices through the lens of economic design logic as the status quo. Such studio-based design pedagogy distances students from real-world problems, leading to poor problem definition resulting from poor understanding and not experiencing the problem firsthand. In order to counter such a conservative design problem-solving approach some design educators have adopted nomadic pedagogy, which promotes curious-emphatic design approach that embraces performative enactment to generate solutions based on a well-defined problem.

Creative correspondence: Leveraging design artefacts to generate shared plausible futures

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Design Education Strategy

Design anthropologists Gatt and Ingold's concept of correspondence describes a designed artefact's ability to appropriately represent a given community's perspectives. For design-researchers operating in co-design contexts, correspondence is helpful for ensuring that final outcomes are 'tuned' to the current and aspirational experiences of user-communities.

However, while design-researchers working in practice-led contexts share many concepts and techniques with their design anthropology colleagues, this paper argues that for Design approaches concerned with plausible, anticipatory perspectives, correspondence is a limited concept that can hamper the role of design imagination. In response to this claim, this paper contributes the following outcomes.

Exploring student perspectives and challenges in engaging with decolonization in a private higher education institution in South Africa

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Design Education Strategy
Interior & Furniture Design

Decolonisation has gained significant attention within South African public higher education, fuelled greatly by the Rhodes Must Fall and Fees Must Fall movements of 2015 and 2016, with many institutions looking to address historical biases and promote a more inclusive curriculum.

Envisioning an effective education system for Generation Alpha focused on skills development in the fashion design higher education sector

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Design Education Strategy
Fashion, Jewellery & Textile Design

The design higher education system of today will not be applicable to the demands and requirements of tomorrow (Munir & Nudin 2021). Furthermore, Generation Alpha introduces a new challenge to our current education systems, demanding a new approach to education. Accordingly, Karen Gross, the author of Breakaway learners, believes that universities should begin adapting to cater to Generation Alpha, suggesting that thinking ahead is crucial in planning and contemplating the future's implications (Hall 2017).

Makers space/space making: Understanding the role of a MakersLab in fostering new creative pathways

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Design Education Strategy

The MakersLab is a new creative space within a leading South African design education institution. The space encourages creative intersections to bridge the 4IR knowledge gap with sustainable development goals, 4IR and explorative making. Over the past year, the development and integration of the MakersLab have been integral in establishing educator/student relationships. The development of the MakersLab is seen as an ‘incubator’ for change whilst navigating current socio-economic and gender development gaps. Here, the space aims to foster user needs, develop new ways of thinking, and engage with the community. The fast development of technology means that educators learn from students as much as students learn from educators.

Speculative futures: Questioning nanotechnology and sustainable development through industrial design pedagogy

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Design Education Strategy
Product & Industrial Design

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is rapidly blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological worlds through advances in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and other technologies. While Industry 4.0 is transforming our future realities, it is essential not to lose sight of human needs and basic human rights. Development must balance social, economic, and environmental sustainability, which is why designers need to engage with ethical considerations and social realities. One example of a technology that has both potential benefits and ethical threats is nanotechnology. Nanobots, machine versions of bacteria or viruses, can perform pre-programmed tasks autonomously at the atomic level.

Fostering design students’ professional confidence for workplace success through transdisciplinary online collaborative problem-based learning

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Design Education Strategy

This paper builds on previous research and the insights gained from thematic analysis of reflections by students and educator panels on an online collaborative problem-based learning (CPBL) project across four campuses at a South African private higher education institution. The research found a strong connection between student and educator reflections and reveals that collaborative project-based learning (CPBL) is crucial to building students' confidence in transdisciplinary collaboration within a real-world online setting. Consequently, the researchers begin this paper with a proposed framework for fostering confident transdisciplinary CPBL online.

Design lecturers' pedagogical approach to practical studio sessions during the rapid transition to online learning

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Design Education Strategy
Learning & Interaction Design

Design education revolves around the effectiveness of face-to-face interactions in the design studio for design pedagogy to be effective (Hammershaimb 2018). During the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions in South Africa in 2020, design-specialised lecturers had to rapidly transition their practical-orientated contact classes to online classes. Design education lecturers had to come to terms with students distanced from themselves, the institutional studio, and their peers. Lecturers had to rethink their pedagogical choices while preserving their programmes' academic integrity.

Flipping the script: Using artificial intelligence to design authentic assessment rubrics

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Design Education Research
Design Education Strategy

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) is a key driver of innovation across all sectors and in education it has the power to optimise teaching and learning to benefit educators and students alike. However, the increasing prominence and influence of AI in domains previously exclusive to humans, such as design, raises urgent questions about the assessment of learning in design education. Recent writings in the field of design education agree that in the age of AI, educators need to revisit existing assessment practices. Conversations about AI and assessment practices appear to revolve around upholding academic integrity and defining what should be assessed when students can create design outcomes using generative AI.

Decolonising speculative design: A South African perspective on design and futures thinking

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Design Education Strategy
Software, UX & Game Design

Speculative design is being promoted as a critical approach to design. Speculative design does not attempt to predict the future. Instead, it attempts to create debate and discussion about preferable futures (Dunne & Raby 2013). Design educators and practitioners from the Global South have become increasingly critical of speculative design practices (Martins 2014). This paper provides an account of a speculative design project set for final-year students pursuing a degree in Digital Media Design at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. The paper describes the project brief, the purpose of the assignment and the intended outcomes. Three student designs are presented and explored using a textual analysis methodology.

Celebrating Afrikanness: Proposing a design approach that foregrounds Afrikan cultural identity and Afronowism

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Design Education Strategy

Starting in the 1990s in South Africa, according to Sauthoff, designers in general and graphic designers in particular have sought to create an inimitable design style that is imbued with a recognisable (South) Afrikan cultural identity. This is in reaction to the entrenched hegemonic influence of Euro-American design practices. Names like Saki Mafundikwa, Karabo Poppy, Garth Walker, and Sindiso Nyoni are on the influential list of designers bracketing a so-called African design aesthetic. How is this ‘aesthetic’ related to design that is culturally significant, according to Twigger Holroyd, and that lends authenticity to an artefact, positioning it as representative of Afrikanness?

Publish or parent: Reflective, creative work on the cost of parenting for female academics pre-, mid- and post- the COVID-19 pandemic

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Design Education Strategy

Despite the change over time in academia's gender profile, educationalists Bradley and Oldham (2020) challenge what they perceive to be the perpetuation of "gendered norms of productivity and the mythical notion of work-life balance". Bradley and Oldham (2020) argue that these concepts "endlessly complicate the conceptualisation and operationalisation of the female academic's success" and take the position that "[w]omen cannot give in to this concept of two separate worlds, which splinters the self". They propose a reflective practice that prompts female academics to "claim our entire personhood, professional and parent if we are to seek freedom from feeling 'torn' between these spheres".

Integrating design concepts learned in the classroom with real-life issues: A case study

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Design Education Strategy

Community service learning (CSL), generally known as service learning, is a method of teaching and learning in which specific needs in the community are combined with learning objectives and goals to stimulate meaningful learning experiences. CSL provides students with opportunities to relate and channel what they have learned in the classroom to real-life situations in the community. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in integrating CSL into higher education training programmes.

Who authors learning? Teaching design with intelligent technology

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Design Education Strategy

African philosophies of Ubuntu prioritise humanising the community of learning. Contextualising Ubuntu within the emerging Fifth Industrial Revolution (5IR) creates a tension between algorithms and the craft of design scholarship. The effect of the 5IR, while being more human-centred, is also unpredictable in terms of how technology replaces or automates human activity. This has led students to use technology tools to shortcut or circumvent activities that result in deep or transformative learning. Within the context of design education, this threatens the aptitudes and dispositions needed for engaging with the design process with the goal of establishing critical and creative authorship.

Humanising online education: A practical approach to teaching theory online

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Design Education Strategy

During 2020/1, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, education has had to adapt to a predominantly online learning environment as part of an emergency response strategy that replaced the conventional Face-to-Face (F2F) student interaction. Fuelled by the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), we are now steadily moving towards a hybrid-learning environment. The overall notion has been that within the crisis there are also opportunities to evolve, adapt, and make new pathways. However, most local institutions currently rely on a blended method of lecture delivery, which is not as radical.

Undergraduate design students’ experiences of decision making in the framing stage of a collaborative design project

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Design Education Strategy

Collaboration is recognised as essential in the process of solving large-scale complex problems and can therefore be observed in both the design industry and in design education. As part of design collaboration, design teams go through a process of framing the design problem, proposing potential solutions, and taking the steps required to produce an outcome. Framing, as originally defined by Schön (1999), provides a method to identify the decisions that a design team takes on their journey to establish potential design solutions. Ideally, for a collaboration to be successful design teams need to arrive at a share frame characterised by a common understanding of the problem, solution, and actions.

Exploring the potential of design thinking in the age of fourth industrial revolution in South Africa

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Design Education Strategy

Design thinking (DT) has recently re-emerged as an essential mindset and skillshift for modern organisations seeking to improve innovation performance in the fourth industrial revolution (4IR). However, despite recent popularity and success especially in the tech industry, DT has lacked critical academic engagement and scholarly enquiry especially in Africa. Hence, this paper sets out to provide empirical evidence on how DT can help create opportunities and innovation in an AI/Algorithm-driven 4IR era, and why the design curriculum in higher education should be updated to include DT competencies.

The influence of the fourth industrial revolution: A multi-discipline approach for design education

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Design Education Strategy

Klaus Schwab defines the word "revolution" to convey the "abrupt" and "radical" change, which brought about the first, second, third and fourth industrial revolutions. Schwab explains that the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) will transform the way humans communicate, socially connect, function day to day and operate their jobs. The 4IR is not only about technology; its fundamental difference is due to these technologies combining: as a result, the physical, digital and biological spheres overlap.

Developing an educational strategy for emerging technology in design: A case study of the FabLab at FADA, UJ

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Design Education Strategy

Emerging technology is developing at an exponential rate and has a direct impact on design education. This boom in innovation has been dubbed the fourth industrial revolution (4IR). This economic initiative was framed at the 2015 World Economic Forum by Klaus Schwab and has been echoed since 2016 by South African politicians as a government and education policy transformation catalyst to South Africa’s struggling economy. Academic scholars are critical about these objectives against the face of high unemployment, poor education and developing foundational skills in South Africa. Educators are confronted with very little support to address this technological development, often leaving design educators with scepticism.

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DEFSA conferences

DEFSA promotes relevant research with the focus on design + education through its biennial conferences, to promote professionalism, accountability and ethics in the education of young designers. Our next conference is a hybrid event. See above for details.

Critical skills endorsement

Professional Members in good standing can receive a certificate of membership, but DEFSA cannot provide confirmation or endorsement of skills whatsoever. DEFSA only confirm membership of DEFSA which is a NPO for Design Education in South Africa (https://www.defsa.org.za/imagine).