Abstract

This paper discusses the teaching of Design for All in a university based design school. It explains the approach taken to encourage engagement and learning with a subject that is as much a philosophy and an ethos as it is a field within design with specific knowledge sets, design processes and methods. Taking a hybrid approach, the Design for All course combines a traditional lecture/seminar format, with problem based learning centred in student project work. The rationale is to help the students to search to understand various dimensions of the problem space along with the current state of certain key issues, and to research ways to integrate all this information and move forward. In this way, they are indirectly guided to look at the bigger picture, to understand how people work around problems in order to try to combine small and incremental changes to product design alongside creatively moving forward and bypassing fundamentally inaccessible products and making systems accessible. That is, they move beyond re-design to innovative design. The authors hope that the approach taken here, of stimulating students to search and research may be useful to other educators who are engaged in teaching areas of design (sustainable design, transformational design) whose paradigms permeate the whole of the design endeavour, and require students to think beyond the apparent constraints to emergent properties. Our paper draws upon the experience of teaching Design for All to try to position the role of search (roughly, seeking to understand connections between the input and output in the problem space) and research (ways to integrate the information) and the place of design and of redesign. It is ‘in-progress research’ reflecting on how these activities aid critical thinking and analysis in underpinning the creativity and innovation of products and systems

Keywords

teaching design for all, problem based learning, project based learning, design ethos, creativity

COinS
 
Jul 1st, 12:00 AM

Design for All: Stimulating students to search and research

This paper discusses the teaching of Design for All in a university based design school. It explains the approach taken to encourage engagement and learning with a subject that is as much a philosophy and an ethos as it is a field within design with specific knowledge sets, design processes and methods. Taking a hybrid approach, the Design for All course combines a traditional lecture/seminar format, with problem based learning centred in student project work. The rationale is to help the students to search to understand various dimensions of the problem space along with the current state of certain key issues, and to research ways to integrate all this information and move forward. In this way, they are indirectly guided to look at the bigger picture, to understand how people work around problems in order to try to combine small and incremental changes to product design alongside creatively moving forward and bypassing fundamentally inaccessible products and making systems accessible. That is, they move beyond re-design to innovative design. The authors hope that the approach taken here, of stimulating students to search and research may be useful to other educators who are engaged in teaching areas of design (sustainable design, transformational design) whose paradigms permeate the whole of the design endeavour, and require students to think beyond the apparent constraints to emergent properties. Our paper draws upon the experience of teaching Design for All to try to position the role of search (roughly, seeking to understand connections between the input and output in the problem space) and research (ways to integrate the information) and the place of design and of redesign. It is ‘in-progress research’ reflecting on how these activities aid critical thinking and analysis in underpinning the creativity and innovation of products and systems

 

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