Design at a distance

Holden, G. (2009). Design at a distance. In: Engineering and Product Design Education Conference, 10-11 Sep 2009, Brighton, UK.



The Open University has been teaching design at a distance for three decades. In this time delivery mechanisms have changed from non-interactive broadcasts to interactive media. A new generation of courses is emerging taught entirely online. This offers many challenges and opportunities
This paper describes three tools that will be used in a new, level 1 course. Knowledge mapping, animated screen capture and an online studio space, OpenDesignStudio, which is a development of the Flickr photo-sharing interface. The advantage of the almost ubiquitous use of Web2 technologies is that students are communicating more and the potential for these technologies to support collaborative work in a learning environment is growing. The paper also discusses how assessment strategies might be re-considered to recognise and credit students who are increasingly using web resources to aid and augment their learning. The use of knowledge maps offers a way for students to bring together the materials they find for assessment tasks in one place and to relate and link those materials together. The use of animated screen capture offers the opportunity to present ideas and reflect upon process at a distance and hone communication and presentation skills. The online studio allows for peer support and review in text and audio-visually and also provides an arena in which the tutor can check on progress and offer individual advice at a distance.

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