Studio use in Distance Design Education

Jones, Derek (2022). Studio use in Distance Design Education. PhD thesis The Open University.



This Portfolio of Work presents research from eleven publications and a covering paper on the subject of studio use in distance design education. The covering paper describes recent history, traditions and contexts of design education, outlining major theories and thinking that continue to influence scholarship, research and practice in the area. The publications build on this body of work and reflect contemporary scholarship and technologies, focusing on how these have affected studio learning and teaching in distance and online settings. The themes that emerge are themselves rich areas of emerging scholarship in design education, including: social comparison and learning, design presence and online learning interactions, extended and conceptual models of studio, and the importance of acknowledging the invisible and hidden learning that takes place in design studios of all kinds. Appropriate to these themes are the range of methodologies applied in the publications that demonstrate a similar breadth of approach to knowledge acquisition and construction, ranging from phenomenology and critical theory to pragmatic and empirical statistical analyses. Key to exploring both themes and methods is how this knowledge is utilised pragmatically and appropriately in a complex educational setting such as the design studio and the thesis demonstrates that, like design practice itself, both the activity and outcome of research are inseparably linked as part of the process of constructing knowledge of the phenomenon of studio. As a whole, the thesis offers a broader perspective of studio as a socio-complex educational praxis, framing studio as a conception in itself: a shared, persistent, and emergent idea that enables and supports the learning ecology that is the design education studio.

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