You present an initial design brief to the students that ties the design tasks to the curriculum topics, but leaves some aspects open for refinement. During this lesson, you also provide the students with the motivation for and explain the responsibility they will carry for being involved. Students form teams, discuss, question and familiarize themselves with the brief. They refine their design brief context, particularly in relation of who/what they are designing for, initial design challenges and possible design results. Students record a reflection, set up a blog for their documentation, and start their documentation. Classroom time needed: 1 lesson
1. Getting started
- Prepare a design brief, by (1) choosing one design brief (italics part of a learning story) and (2) adjusting it to match the curriculum requirements and your course schedule.
- Familiarize yourself with all learning activities so you can introduce the process to the students.
- Locate concrete examples that present why it is important to design thoughtful outcomes and to take the process seriously. See list of examples for inspiration: http://bit.ly/design-inspiration.
- Prepare a list of assessment criteria that reflect the curriculum requirements. If you like, share them with others as comments here.
- Present the idea of the design process, your list of examples and the design brief. Give the students the design brief.
- Present all activities as 1-2 lesson “design workshops” and give the visualization of the design process (*.png) and your schedule to the students.
- Go through the assessment criteria with the students. Make sure they understand that their notes and final design need to show to you that they’ve completed the criteria. Give them your list of assessment criteria.
- Form teams of students. You may ask the students to define initial roles for each team member.
- Encourage students to question the brief! Ask them to answer questions such as (a) who is the design for? (b) how can you find out about with those you are designing for? e.g., place, time and type of activity “contextual inquiry”, (c) What is the challenge that you are tackling?, (d) How are you planning to address the challenge?, and (e) although everyone has to be involved with all steps, who is responsible for which area?
- Give students enough introductory information so they can make decisions on what they want to do in their design. You may want to give this material to students before the course starts so they can look at it as homework.
In teams, students discuss the design process, ideate what they will design, and refine the design brief.
Students record a reflection (see reflection activity).
Each team sets up a project blog using a suitable blogging platform and sends the URL of the blog to the teacher.
About page: Students describe their project team including their roles in the project. They may include a picture of themselves, a screenshot of TeamUp and contact information. The page can be called, e.g. “Design team”.
Design Brief blog post: Students add their first Design Brief to the blog. They label or tag the post with “design brief”.
Design Process blog post: Students use their reflection recording to write what they did, what challenges they had and what challenges they can foresee (use tag or label “design process” to describe the post).
In total, each team should have a blog with 1 page and 2 posts after this homework.
Tip 1: Initial confusion about the design brief is common, even among professional designers. There is no need to answer all questions right away. You will figure out the answers as you go along. This is part of the beauty of design.
Tip 2: Exercise your educational expertise! It is up to you to push students beyond their comfort zones, if you notice that they chose a topic that is not challenging enough for them to research.
Tip 3: Smaller teams often afford larger learning outcomes. Try to limit teams to no more than 4-5 people.
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