Evolving a university product design program: An approach for contemporary design practice

Publisher:
Technology Education New Zealand
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Citation:
Website proceedings of TENZ 2015 (Technology Education New Zealand), 2015, pp. 1 - 12
Issue Date:
2015-12-03
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This paper reports on the evolution of the product design degree at the University of Technology Sydney, in the Faculty of Design Architecture and Building, School of Design. The expanding nature of professional disciplines of product design has placed pressure on university product design programs to educate students across all potential aspects of the profession. A move to restructure all design courses in the School of Design from a four year degree, to a three year degree with a one year honours / two year master's extension presented the opportunity to set the identity and focus for the course more precisely within the scope of the product design discipline. Research into the contemporary and predictable future practice of product design given socio-cultural and technological change directed by the research strengths of the academic staff in the course provides the foundation. Further connecting these findings with the strategic goals of the faculty, provides the basis for establishing an identity for the course that can appropriately and effectively link research and teaching functions within the program. Through the lens of a new subject in the new degree, compared against the requirements and expectations of a compatible subject in the former degree serves to demonstrate a number of successful outcomes for the transition. Firstly, it demonstrates the way design theory can be translated through practice-orientated learning. Secondly it demonstrates ways of de-emphasising dated conventions and restrictions while importing new, contemporary priorities in design, to maintain discipline and integrity. And lastly, it proposes a strategic approach to managing a product design course that is driven by strong research directives that ensure the prosperity of the teaching program.
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