Design Educators Workshop: Applying the Flipped Classroom Pedagogy to Design Courses

October 21, 2018 12:37 PM

Peter Scupelli taught a workshop for 25 university design educators at Tsinghua University October 21, 2018 as part of the Design 3.0 International Forum held in Beijing, China. The workshop focused on how design educators might use the flipped classroom pedagogy to teach design courses. Dr Scupelli used the Dexign Futures course as a case study. Dexign Futures is a required course he developed for third year undergraduate design students at the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University.

Dexign Futures Case Study
How might design educators address new challenges in design education? Currently, design educators are caught between challenges: first, teaching well-established design traditions based on craft and making; and second, training students to situate their artifact making within transitional times in a volatile and exponentially changing world. The tension design educators navigate involves teaching the core of a discipline in relation to an expanding periphery where multiple disciplines interact. The epistemic challenge is how to initiate students into the field’s crystallized knowledge at the same time as fluid, emergent knowledge. Some design educators may yearn for simpler times focusing on mastery of the deep disciplinary cores. Others may discount their own core disciplinary teaching in favor of exploration of the rapidly shifting disciplinary peripheries to meet new challenges and opportunities. We acknowledge both perspectives and further posits that students need exposure to both the core and periphery of design. This introduces an interesting learning challenge: an implicit contradiction for students of design where the core/making tends to reinforce short time horizon thinking; and the disciplinary periphery requires long time horizon visioning. We try to address this challenge by aligning short-term design opportunities with sustainable development plans for long time horizons. We merge design thinking and futures thinking to create “deXign” thinking. A flipped classroom pedagogy integrates design studio with an online component. The course described is called Dexign Futures. Dexign Futures is a required design studies class for all third year undergraduate students in the products, communications, and environments tracks in the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University. Because traditional design pedagogy poorly equips designers to integrate current human-centered design methods with long-range strategic thinking, a challenge we explore through the class is how to teach designing for the long time horizon. The term deXign indicates an experimental type of design that integrates Futures Thinking with Design Thinking.

For more information on the Dexign Futures class go to: https://dexignfutures.com/

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