CfP: A classroom exercise which helps make our research more accessible...

3 Oct 2008 - 9:18am
628 reads
Mads Soegaard
2008

For those of you who are involved with teaching....

I'd like to propose a classroom exercise, which is both fun and which
helps our community make its research more accessible:

I call it "a misDesign" - a rhetorical vehicle, which aims to tie
research themes to short, simple, and funny examples of defective
designs.

I've written two examples of 'misDesigns' to provide inspiration. You
can have a look at:
http://www.interaction-design.org/misdesigns/adobe_pdf_writer_wants_my_help_but_makes_it_hard_for_me.html

It's similar to what 37signals had on their site some years back
("design not found" or something to that effect), only misDesigns aim
to *make research accessible*.

I believe the "format" of misDesigns (described further at
http://www.interaction-design.org/misdesigns/contribute.html ) - are
ideal for classroom exercises: It's *fun* to ridicule a defective
design and it's *worthwile* to sum up the reasons *why* it's
defective!

Upon completion, the students may send their 'misDesigns' to our
editors, which will adobt the best of these into the misDesign
collection (through a Creative Commons licence). We could even make it
a competition and let our editors vote for their favourite one (the
authors of which would then get a small prize). I'm open for ideas.

------------- Conclusion --------------
- misDesigns are fun to write while at the same time require precise
knowledge of the involved research themes
- *concrete* misDesigns help ground more abstract discussions on research
- misDesigns help make our own research more accessible: The point is
to tie research themes (hard to understand, narrow audience) to
misDesigns (easy to understand, wide audience). A misDesign becomes a
path into research.
- Students contribute to an *open-content* information source (as we
use the Creative Commons licences). Thus, they help us researchers
make our research accessible to other newcomers to the field.
- If a misDesign is published, the student's work is very visible and
"real", and thus more rewarding than completing a normal classroom
exercise.

--------- Why should you care about making your research accessible? ---------
Many of us concentrate on research and give less priority to making
our research accessible to newcomers. However, there is a large
potential in putting some work in making your research accessible. For
example, the last encyclopedia entry we published to our encyclopedia
had app 3000 readers on its first week of publication and that number
has slowly dropped to an average of 30 readers a day (this number only
includes actual human visitors, visiting the page for a period of 3-12
minutes). Compare this to how many readers your own research has had
in ACM's digital library of "actual" research articles.

I hope some of you will participate!

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions!

--

Best regards / Venlig hilsen

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Mads Soegaard
Editor-in-Chief
Interaction-Design.org

Address: Chr. Molbechs Vej 4, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
Mobile : +45 2629 5505
Email : mads at acm.org
Web : http://www.interaction-design.org/references/authors/mads_soegaard.html
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