In support of authentic research practice by students in design education

Design and Technology Teacher’s Association Research Conference jointly with Swinburne University of Technology 2018
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Fostering Design-Led Innovation Capabilities: Proceedings of the 10th Biennial International Design and Technology Teacher's Association Research Conference, 2019, 10 pp. 10 - 19 (10)
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apo-nid269186-1400301.pdfPublished version3.72 MB
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Cameron_&_Nemme_In Support_of_Authentic_Research_Practice_by_Students_in Design_Education.pdfAccepted Manuscript version3.07 MB
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Both the Animation and Product design programmes at the University of Technology Sydney share a common goal, with the early teaching focus being engagement with traditional analogue skills. We deem observational drawing and analysis from life an authentic research tool as it creates a clear and tangible experience between the observer and the subject in three-dimensional space. It also provides the opportunity for a physical and empathetic response to occur. Where students have not been directed to observe from life, we find they rely on the collection of images and video from online sources. The experience of pre-formatted, screen-based observation restricts the possibility of authentic engagement as the chosen subject matter is already pre-designed by a third party. In order to understand if students identify the benefits of an authentic research experience an experiment with two separate tasks was conducted. In the first task, students were asked to undertake a drawing exercise inside a computer lab with a computer terminal being the only research tool available. We call this the ‘screen-based studio’ (SBS). The second task directed the students to undertake a studio exercise where they drew from life, which we call the ‘drawing from life studio’ (DFLS). The goal of these studio exercises was to investigate ways for students to understand that producing innovative work requires stepping out of their comfort zones and engaging in a more challenging and authentic information gathering experience. This paper discusses the results of this experiment.
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