This blog has now moved…

Dear faithful readers,
this blog has now permanently moved to:

www.designteaching.com

Please re-set your bookmarks and feeds and I hope to hear from you on the other side.

Best,
Roberto

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Reflection on what I wrote a day ago…

The other day, my supervisor sent me an article from Andrew McAfee’s blog (http://bit.ly/1iPv0r) called ‘How Beautiful it is, and How easily it can be broken.’ It had a profound effect on how I think about teaching design and what I wrote about earlier in my reflection. McAfee discusses an Enterprise 2.0 conference where two presenters from Lockheed Martin detailed their successes in the employment of Enterprise 2.0 in the company structure. Mr. McAfee goes on to say that the presentation was ‘articulate and clear and well-informed,’ and the presenters gave the impression that social software platforms are now part of major sectors of the company. He (McAfee) then states how this situation is very rare and most of the time it takes a certain amount of key success factors to be achieved in unison, in order for this change to occur. This made me start to think about my current situation in design teaching and my research. Surprisingly, the situation is very similar.

As the author suggested in his case, that ‘…rare that situation really is… and that even with great presentations and advocates that have this knowledge to give, it takes ‘the right place and the right time…’ as well as a list of success factors to be followed. This is quite surprisingly the same in what I have been dealing with in education. What this article made me realise is that I need to chill out a bit with my ‘evangelistic preaching’ and perhaps to find other ways to engage those ‘factors of success’ in order to achieve what I am looking to do in some private institutes. Just as the author stated that if any of these success factors were not in place, the overall effort would be damaged. I think this is again similar to effectively introducing the aligned curricula in private design institutions. If some factors are not in place, for example, management perceptions of the learning environment, then being able to create a deep teaching and learning environment becomes very, very difficult if not impossible. I spoke about this briefly in my exegesis but I guess I never really understood its implications to degree of experiencing it right now. Amazing.

I think what I should do is take a closer look at this aligned curricula and perhaps pin-point and develop new success factors for private design institutions. Perhaps I will need to think of these key factors where the structure can be integrated into different teaching contexts and goals in order to keep flexibility and translation. It would be good continuation in any case of my research.

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Miscommunication: Understanding my current teaching practice

It seems very ironic and strange that after working during so hard during my Masters at discovering, understanding and developing knowledge of teaching in graphic design I am currently in a teaching within an institutional environment that is in antithesis of my own research. Ahh…the revelations of real life practice. I mentioned all these warning signs in my exegesis of how and why graphic design teachers might find themselves in an institutional environment, which inhibits any sort of good teaching and learning practices. Let’s see…what did I mention? Oh yes. A teacher is less likely to engage students to help develop a deep learning environment if the institution makes this impossible. “To help build an aligned curriculum…you must understand the forces that affect its design…forces include institutional criteria, teaching and learning support and departmental perceptions of the learning environment.”

So how come I am in this situation? Just as other teachers, I find myself in a place where economic circumstances have brought me to teaching 28 hours a week of technology related courses. They are not even courses I am interested in but management has forced a situation where I had no choice to accept or lose much work. I have spoken to management and coordinators but I feel I have exhausted my voice. I don’t feel I need to mention here why 28 hours of face-to-face teaching is impossible, done well. Or how what effects on learning can an unaligned curriculum have on the students because I have already spoke all about this before. The only thing I can think about now is what am I learning from this situation.

I am starting to understand now, actually how powerful are those ‘forces’ within a learning environment. Primarily, I now feel that a teacher can study all the pedagogical literature they can, finish a degree in graphic design teaching, try to insert aspects of an aligned curriculum into their teaching and learning activities but its pretty much inconsequential if there is no institutional support. I have realised that the departmental perceptions and institutional agendas and pressure can really make or break a learning environment. This is really unfortunate because I am sure there are many other teachers in a similar position that are quite capable of developing deep teaching and learning experiences in graphic design. Are you one of them?

So what is one to do next in this situation? Give up and carry on? I think not! When I got into design education, I knew the road was not going to be easy. I also understood at some point I would have to make some important decisions and have the ability to negotiate with the ‘higher powers’ within a design department. I think it is part of my duty as a researcher and design teacher, especially in respect for what I have done over these years. So, I think it is about time I see if I can organise a meeting with these ‘institutional forces’ and see if I can present my findings. Who knows, maybe something will change or maybe not, but at least I can say I have tried. This is really important to me as a design educator because now I think I have the ability and knowledge to confront such an issue, which is not an easy one to tackle as a new teacher.

Maybe we can start some sort of online group. Are you a new/sessional teacher who is teaching in a private institution with similar circumstances? Please contact me through my blog. Let us see if we can start some sort of global conversation on the topic.

Wish me luck.

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It’s here!

Until I am able to embed this file, you may now view my exegesis: Teaching Teachers: Learning through Graphic Literacy at: http://issuu.com/designteachers/docs/gdt?viewMode=magazine

Enjoy!
Updates will now occur in my page: GDT (Graphic Design Teachers)

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Stop the presses!

Hello avid followers. It’s time to get back at reading my blog posts. It’s been a hairy ride with my Masters and all but it is all coming to a close. I passed my examination and next week will be submitting my final amendments. So stay tuned! I will be posting my exegesis magazine for all to read! That’s right, my research plus comic series in a easy to read format. Design educators get ready!

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Poynor

Heard Rick give a presentation this evening about design—or some trendy words that some people like to label design Design thinking and Critical design. It’s funny though, the crowd was very tight lipped about the whole thing. I guess Melbourne designers are much like the Canadian mentality—try not to disturb the peace. I think Rick raised an interesting issue that many (graphic) designers are not ready to deal with yet. He describes that possibly some (graphic) design needs to go back to its roots lets say and discover and accept visual aesthetics as viable communication methods. He states that it is necessary for graphic designers to reclaim their “input” and definition of design thinking towards something that is whole and human-centered. It sounds like a lot of practice based research to me. What I do agree with is how graphic designers, lately on the research band wagon seem to need to classify, label, structure everything and if it’s not within a classifiable research method it demeans what we do and are trying to communicate. The element of discovery+research+visualisation might just be lost in order to gain control of our practice. At what cost though?

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Examination

Dear Faithful readers. As you might understand by now, I haven’t been adding any posts lately. Please excuse the laziness. I have been preparing for my final examination for my Master of Communication Design degree. This coming Friday, May 29th I will either come out of the presentation with tears of joy or happiness. I’m pretty sure it will be the later but you never know. In any case, I will be giving this blog fresh input soon after. Perhaps, I will be able to expand my number of readers from 4 to millions. Unfortunately, at the moment, I will not go through my discoveries of these two years of research but stay tuned! I will also update you on my presentation.

Until next week.

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