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89106 Researching Contexts

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2020 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Design, Architecture and Building: Design
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:

Postgraduate

Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.

Description

This subject focuses on re-imagining everyday designed objects in ways that thoughtfully reconnects us with our everyday experiences. Students learn how to design objects that are not just 'useful' but that are also intrinsically meaningful both philosophically and emotionally. It is an ideal basis for designers of all levels of experience and disciplinary expertise who want to gain a better understanding of what constitutes meaningful and pleasurable experience with regard to designed objects. Objects ideally touch on multiple discipline areas, including product design, visual communication, fashion and interaction design.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

1. Understand the process of researching and responding to an area of interest.
2. Develop an understanding of the skills required for successful design.
3. Develop an understanding of practical design techniques relevant to discipline.
4. Develop the ability to produce a final design outcome through a conceptual research process

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes to the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes:

  • Professional attitude to clarity, accuracy and effectiveness of communication (C.1)
  • Ability to adapt communication style to context (C.3)
  • Capacity for perceptive concept development (I.1)
  • Ability to critically appraise, develop or redirect design ideas (I.2)
  • Ability to actively and independently develop new skills, knowledge and understanding (P.1)
  • Possession of a developed aesthetic sensibility (P.2)
  • Possession of craft skills appropriate to the discipline (P.3)
  • A disposition to adopt practices and approaches that embed critical reflection (R.3)

Teaching and learning strategies

This subject is delivered through block workshop intensive over a period of several weeks. There will be both design and technical tutorials, workshops and demonstrations. The activities for the subject are focused on self-initiated learning and students will be expected to conduct independent research and attend all workshop days.

Formal feedback will be given through ReView for assessments and informal feedback will also be given by the tutor and peers through the group presentations and discussions in the workshop.

Content (topics)

In this subject you will deeply consider the nature of simple, everyday interactions. You will explore how designers can thoughtfully re-imagine these interactions to create unexpected moments of discovery in everyday life. You will consider how everyday interactions can become richer by more fully responding to our needs—not only our immediate needs, but our needs for discovery, play, expression and belonging. In doing so, you will learn how to design interactions not for users, but for people.

Assessment

Assessment task 1: Design Analysis

Intent:

In this assessment you will read a number of selected texts and examples of design projects and prepare a 200-300 word response to each that answers a specific set of criteria which you will be given in class.

Objective(s):

This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 2 and 3

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

C.1, I.1, P.3 and R.3

Type: Exercises
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 10%
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Attentiveness to the materials and methods chosen by the designer and the reasons for these choices. 20 1 P.3
Attentiveness to the interactions engendered by the design 20 2 P.3
Demonstrated understanding of how interactions surprise, challenge or affect people. (this may include thoughts, feelings or behaviours) 20 1 I.1
Demonstrated understanding of how the design interactions balance the needs for efficiency and for discovery 20 3 C.1
Understanding of the overall aims of the project 20 2 R.3
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 2: Group Design Project

Intent:

Thoughtfully consider a common everyday experience, action, activity or context (from here on described as ‘your focus’).

Design a response to your focus that both: interacts with a person, with people or with the environment, and: expresses something unexpected, meaningful and pleasing about your focus.

Depending on the nature of your design response, you could realised it completely or as a prototype. The interactions inherent to your design response should arise organically from the consideration of its context and should not be arbitrary. Critically challenge conventional or standardised forms of interaction. While you may ultimately incorporate many of these standards and conventions, you should do so mindfully. Equally, you should be mindful of your reasons for introducing novel forms of interaction and of the effects they have. Your design response should balance users’ needs for efficiency and for discovery.

Apart from creating a design for the immediate audience in situ, you are also documenting your design in a way that allows other designers to see the value in your design philosophy.

You will present you work as a group interim presentation and a final design display which can take the form of: a video; or a collection of photographs/images; or the component parts (completed or prototyped).

Objective(s):

This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 2 and 4

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

C.1, C.3, I.1, I.2, P.1 and P.2

Type: Project
Groupwork: Group, individually assessed
Weight: 40%
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Quality of your critical thinking. 17 1 I.2
Degree of creative interpretation. 17 4 I.1
Depth and quality of project planning. 17 1 P.1
Clarity of expression (in all aspects of the presentation/PDF). 17 2 C.3
Quality of production of the outcome evident in the video/photographs/images/component parts. 17 2 P.2
Quality of writing evident in the short text. 15 2 C.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 3: Reflective Summary

Intent:

Throughout the subject, keep a journal of your thoughts and ideas. The format of your journal is up to you. You should choose a format that is convenient and suitable. The format you choose should be one that encourages you to use it and one that helps you to generate interesting and valuable ideas. You could use any combination of: a sketchbook, a notebook, digital text files, voice or video recordings or other media.

As you undertake the subject, you should use your journal to critically reflect on your design process and your learning. Regularly take time to think about what you find exciting, engaging or challenging. Think about how the subject has challenged or reinforced your understanding of design or your view of yourself as a designer. Document new questions that the subject raises for you, or new directions you’d like to take in your future practice.

In the time after the last lesson, review your journal and select material to include in an edited and annotated reflective summary. This reflective summary should show the key moments in your design process and in your learning. Annotate content in your reflective summary to explain what it is and why you’ve chosen to include it. Remember that this is a reflective summary and critical reflection is key. There is no page limit to your summary, but be selective about what you include. Conclude your summary with a 300~350 word reflection on the subject. The aim of this written reflection is to summarise the most relevant and meaningful things you’ve taken from the subject.

You will submit your reflective summary as a PDF. Email your PDF to <mrchrisgaul@gmail.com> by 6pm Sunday 23 December.

Objective(s):

This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1 and 2

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

C.1 and I.2

Type: Reflection
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 50%
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Clarity and quality of presentation 33 2 C.1
Quality of written expression 33 2 C.1
Depth of critical reflection 34 1 I.2
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes