Design Education: Teaching in Crisis

Jones, Derek and Lotz, Nicole (2021). Design Education: Teaching in Crisis. Design and Technology Education: an International Journal, 26(4) pp. 4–9.



It is probably an obvious understatement to say that the past years have been turbulent and uncertain. The Covid-19 pandemic forced changes in many areas across all parts of society and its effects continue today and will undoubtedly do so for many years to come.
In education the impacts were significant. Design education is usually taught in a design studio setting and relies heavily on physically proximate and social mechanisms of learning and teaching. Changes to physical modes of teaching had to be made at speed, meaning the planning and preparation needed to successfully create learning materials was not always possible. Contingency teaching methods and material quickly appeared and, for many, responding and reacting, in what was effectively an emergency setting, became the reality of teaching (Winters, 2021).
There were exceptions, of course. Some institutions refused to abandon face to face methods: some on the basis of student expectation; others around beliefs about the purpose and politics of design education. Yet other institutions responded as they normally did, in the sense that emergency response teaching was already their way of working and the pandemic was another disruption requiring an emergent teaching response.
Like privilege, the effects of the pandemic have not been evenly distributed.

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