With Nancy Snow and Saskia van Kampen
Studying the benefits of reflective studio practice in the early stages of design education.
Beginning design students regularly struggle to articulate their intent and decision-making regarding the work they produce. This is often demonstrated through students’ naive engagement in iterative processes, simplistic articulation of concept, and ingenuous criticality when critiquing the work of their peers. Can a more holistic inclusion of writing into design process help students engage more critically with work they make and help them to engage in more purposeful critiquing of their peers’ work? Using Writing Across the Curriculum/Writing in the Discipline methods this paper presents the framework for a study being conducted at OCAD University where writing is actively engaged in the design process. The purpose of the study is to help identify students’ knowledge gaps and support the evolution of design pedagogy. The identification of skills, approaches, and understanding of the beginning design student can aid in developing more relevant and specific curriculum.
On Tuesday, February 17th 2015, OCAD U Faculty of Design members Nancy Snow (Lecturer) and Saskia van Kampen (Assistant Professor and WAC Fellow) presented a paper at the Designing Critical Messages Symposium, held at Plymouth University, in the UK. The symposium was presented in connection with Writing-PAD (Writing Purposefully in Art and Design), a UK-based organization that fosters collaboration between artists, designers, and writing instructors, with the aim of better understanding the writing needs of students in the creative disciplines. Nancy and Saskia represented OCAD U and Canadian design education at the symposium; other speakers came from a variety of design institutions, including the University of Cambridge, the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, and Parsons The New School for Design. The keynote was given by leading design researcher Lucy Kimbell, and among the attendees was prominent design educator and Writing-PAD co-founder John Wood.
Titled Learning Through and From Process: Studying the Benefits of Reflective Studio Practice, Nancy and Saskia’s paper presented a framework developed for a study currently underway at OCAD U in Communication Design 2 on the effects of writing assignments on students’ processes of design and critique. The study, a collaboration between Nancy, Saskia, and Emilie Brancato (ELL Specialist, Writing & Learning Centre), examines whether a more holistic inclusion of writing into the design process can help students engage more critically with their making and help them to engage in more purposeful critiquing of their peers’ work. The study documents students’ perceptions of themselves as writers and makers as they embark upon theoretical and empirical research, peer-to-peer criticism, and self-reflection. The assignment framework employs a pedagogical model that both draws upon Writing in the Disciplines (WID) approaches to writing instruction and honours the synergy between words/visuals, theory/practice, and practice/intent. This study is being undertaken as part of the Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) Initiative at OCAD U, which aims to improve undergraduate student writing through the integration of discipline-specific writing practice at all year levels of all programs.
Nancy and Saskia will be sharing their talk as well as the responses of other conference participants with the OCAD U community on Thursday March 19, from noon to 1 p.m. in room 530, 100 McCaul.