Masters Programs in Interaction Design and Design Management at University of Kansas

18 Jan 2009 - 11:07pm
5 years ago
42 replies
6986 reads
Michael Eckersley
2007

Dear IXDA Members,

Last January, 2008 The University of Kansas launched two new
professional graduate programs: one in Interaction Design and another
in Design Management. The programs were years in the making and are
headed up by myself, Michael Eckersley and Richard Branham, with other
strong contributing faculty. More on Richard and myself below.
Beginning year two we have 24 active graduate students between the two
programs, many of them working professionals in the Kansas City area.

Both grad programs lead to a 31 credit hour MA degree, , with a 60
credit MFA degree program option. Sample course titles for Interaction
Design include: Interaction Design; Design Scenarios & Simulations;
Designing Business Services & Consumer Experiences; and, Advanced
Human Factors in Design. Sample Design Management courses include:
Design Management; Design Strategies & Methods; Strategic Design
Innovation; and, Branding and Design. Most required and elective
courses are taught evenings. Some courses are video conferenced
between KU campuses in Kansas City and Lawrence.

We are actively recruiting applicants for Fall 2009, with a deadline
of April 1. Below are some links for more information. The bottom of
each web page is a downloadable pdf program description.

Interaction Design link: www.arts.ku.edu/design/interaction
Design Management link: www.arts.ku.edu/design/management

I'll be happy to answer any questions you might have at mde at ku.edu.
Formal requests for application materials can be made to Professor
Gina Westergard (ginaw at ku.edu), Graduate Program Director.

Best Regards,

Michael Eckersley, PhD
Professor, Interaction Design & Design Management
University of Kansas
mde at ku.edu

Principal, HumanCentered

..................................................................................
Richard Branham is Professor of Industrial Design at KU, working in
areas of cognitive human factors and interaction design strategies,
methods and techniques, specializing in way-finding, navigation and
use models. He has over thirty years of professional experience
developing interfaces between people and technology, and twenty-five
years of teaching and research experience. He holds BFA and MFA
degrees from The University of Kansas and a MS degree from the
Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). Branham
founded the Information and Design Systems Division of Unimark
International. He founded Design Planning Group in Chicago. Major
clients have included Carlton Centre, Johannesburg, Gillette Company,
Marshall Field, J. C. Penney, New York, Volkswagen, and Westinghouse.

Michael Eckersley leads HumanCentered (www.humancentered.net), a team
of affiliated social scientists, designers and planners. With an MFA
in design and a PhD in cognitive science, Michael served as Design
Strategy Director for Sybase in their online financial services
business, and has led many strategic design innovation engagements to
consumer product, fast food, healthcare, publishing, financial
services and software companies. Clients include: Yum!brands; Black &
Decker; GMAC; Coca-Cola; St John's Mercy Health System; 3point5.com;
Banco Popular; and, Hakuhodo

Michael Eckersley, PhD | Principal
HumanCentered
michael at humancentered.net

Comments

19 Jan 2009 - 7:22pm
Ben Vaughan
2007

Michael,
It's super to hear that an IX program is getting started in the center
of the country. As a Dad who's we established in Colorado, are there
any plans for distance learning? If so, I would definitely be
interested in your program. Thanks for pushing IxD.

Regards,
Ben Vaughan

On Sun, Jan 18, 2009 at 9:07 PM, Michael Eckersley
<michael at humancentered.net> wrote:
> Dear IXDA Members,
>
> Last January, 2008 The University of Kansas launched two new professional
> graduate programs: one in Interaction Design and another in Design
> Management. The programs were years in the making and are headed up by
> myself, Michael Eckersley and Richard Branham, with other strong
> contributing faculty. More on Richard and myself below. Beginning year two
> we have 24 active graduate students between the two programs, many of them
> working professionals in the Kansas City area.
>
> Both grad programs lead to a 31 credit hour MA degree, , with a 60 credit
> MFA degree program option. Sample course titles for Interaction Design
> include: Interaction Design; Design Scenarios & Simulations; Designing
> Business Services & Consumer Experiences; and, Advanced Human Factors in
> Design. Sample Design Management courses include: Design Management; Design
> Strategies & Methods; Strategic Design Innovation; and, Branding and Design.
> Most required and elective courses are taught evenings. Some courses are
> video conferenced between KU campuses in Kansas City and Lawrence.
>
> We are actively recruiting applicants for Fall 2009, with a deadline of
> April 1. Below are some links for more information. The bottom of each web
> page is a downloadable pdf program description.
>
> Interaction Design link: www.arts.ku.edu/design/interaction
> Design Management link: www.arts.ku.edu/design/management
>
> I'll be happy to answer any questions you might have at mde at ku.edu. Formal
> requests for application materials can be made to Professor Gina Westergard
> (ginaw at ku.edu), Graduate Program Director.
>
> Best Regards,
>
> Michael Eckersley, PhD
> Professor, Interaction Design & Design Management
> University of Kansas
> mde at ku.edu
>
> Principal, HumanCentered
>
> ..................................................................................
> Richard Branham is Professor of Industrial Design at KU, working in areas of
> cognitive human factors and interaction design strategies, methods and
> techniques, specializing in way-finding, navigation and use models. He has
> over thirty years of professional experience developing interfaces between
> people and technology, and twenty-five years of teaching and research
> experience. He holds BFA and MFA degrees from The University of Kansas and a
> MS degree from the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology
> (IIT). Branham founded the Information and Design Systems Division of
> Unimark International. He founded Design Planning Group in Chicago. Major
> clients have included Carlton Centre, Johannesburg, Gillette Company,
> Marshall Field, J. C. Penney, New York, Volkswagen, and Westinghouse.
>
> Michael Eckersley leads HumanCentered (www.humancentered.net), a team of
> affiliated social scientists, designers and planners. With an MFA in design
> and a PhD in cognitive science, Michael served as Design Strategy Director
> for Sybase in their online financial services business, and has led many
> strategic design innovation engagements to consumer product, fast food,
> healthcare, publishing, financial services and software companies. Clients
> include: Yum!brands; Black & Decker; GMAC; Coca-Cola; St John's Mercy Health
> System; 3point5.com; Banco Popular; and, Hakuhodo
>
>
>
>
> Michael Eckersley, PhD | Principal
> HumanCentered
> michael at humancentered.net
>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

20 Jan 2009 - 7:53pm
Dan Saffer
2003

On Jan 19, 2009, at 4:22 PM, Ben Vaughan wrote:

> As a Dad who's we established in Colorado, are there
> any plans for distance learning?

I hope not.

While I understand the plight of people who aren't located near a good
(or any) interaction design program, I don't think it is a discipline
that can be taught effectively from afar. The studio nature of a
reputable design program almost requires the kind of high-touch, high-
bandwidth interactions that only face to face to can effectively
impart. There is also the interactions with other students, which can
be even more valuable over time than the professors. The bonding that
occurs in a design studio at 3 a.m. has yet to be replicated online.

And lest you think I'm unaware of the difficulties, I sold my house
and moved my family (including my 3-year-old daughter) to Pittsburgh
for two years to get my degree. Others in my program lived apart from
their families and commuted to distant cities in order to get their
degree. It was a sacrifice. But the barriers are there to show us how
much we really want something, to paraphrase Randy Pausch. There's
always an excuse not to do something.

Dan

21 Jan 2009 - 12:03am
Ben Vaughan
2007

Dan,
Thanks for you thoughts. Of course every opinion is welcome. I agree
that the studio experience is the most beneficial way to learn.
However, I must respectfully disagree that the only way to benefit
from a program is by personally attending. Further, as the sole
support of my family with a wife still recovering from the West Nile
virus, to leave a well paying, relatively secure job in this economy
to attend a program full time without any sort of viable income is not
just a sacrifice, it's well nigh insane. Further, I would ask what
about those people overseas wishing to enter the world of IxD. Remote
learning is perhaps the only option for them. In my opinion, for
those whose circumstances don't allow them to 'feel free to move about
the country', remote learning, while not the best choice, is still a
choice.

While I respect your opinion, I have to say that I reacted most
strongly to your sweeping characterization that the only way to find
success was the way you did. Perhaps that's not what you intended.
Regardless, I would invite you to perhaps consider that the
circumstances of others may not be as you perceive them.

With Respect,
Ben Vaughan

On Tue, Jan 20, 2009 at 5:53 PM, Dan Saffer <dan at odannyboy.com> wrote:
>
> On Jan 19, 2009, at 4:22 PM, Ben Vaughan wrote:
>
>> As a Dad who's we established in Colorado, are there
>> any plans for distance learning?
>
> I hope not.
>
> While I understand the plight of people who aren't located near a good (or
> any) interaction design program, I don't think it is a discipline that can
> be taught effectively from afar. The studio nature of a reputable design
> program almost requires the kind of high-touch, high-bandwidth interactions
> that only face to face to can effectively impart. There is also the
> interactions with other students, which can be even more valuable over time
> than the professors. The bonding that occurs in a design studio at 3 a.m.
> has yet to be replicated online.
>
> And lest you think I'm unaware of the difficulties, I sold my house and
> moved my family (including my 3-year-old daughter) to Pittsburgh for two
> years to get my degree. Others in my program lived apart from their families
> and commuted to distant cities in order to get their degree. It was a
> sacrifice. But the barriers are there to show us how much we really want
> something, to paraphrase Randy Pausch. There's always an excuse not to do
> something.
>
>
> Dan
>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

21 Jan 2009 - 2:58am
Dan Saffer
2003

On Jan 20, 2009, at 9:03 PM, Ben Vaughan wrote:

> However, I must respectfully disagree that the only way to benefit
> from a program is by personally attending.

Based on what exactly? Is there anyone on the list who has attended
design school who thinks it can be taught remotely? If so, that's an
opinion I've yet to hear.

> Further, as the sole
> support of my family with a wife still recovering from the West Nile
> virus, to leave a well paying, relatively secure job in this economy
> to attend a program full time without any sort of viable income is not
> just a sacrifice, it's well nigh insane.

Then perhaps a degree in IxD isn't your path. There are others.

Or you wait until your circumstances change.

> Further, I would ask what
> about those people overseas wishing to enter the world of IxD. Remote
> learning is perhaps the only option for them. In my opinion, for
> those whose circumstances don't allow them to 'feel free to move about
> the country', remote learning, while not the best choice, is still a
> choice.

You cannot remotely learn interaction design at a university level.
It's not a good choice. The quality of the education you will get will
not be good, and the importance of a degree is measured not only in
what you directly learn, but the opportunities it opens up for you. A
poor program will not only waste your time and money, but won't have
an effective network to help you find jobs later. The degree will be
nearly worthless.

> While I respect your opinion, I have to say that I reacted most
> strongly to your sweeping characterization that the only way to find
> success was the way you did. Perhaps that's not what you intended.

I've never said graduate school was the only way to success. There are
successful people on this list who never finished high school, much
less grad school. But if you want to attend grad school in interaction
design, my opinion is the only way to do it is in-person, on-site. The
curriculum cannot be effectively taught remotely.

Channeling Simon Cowell,

Dan

21 Jan 2009 - 4:53am
Angel Marquez
2008

I totally disagree. I've worked with a few interaction designers that had
reputable university degrees specific to interaction design and they were as
you say 'worthless'. I asked one what web sites applications etc..she
thought were well done and she said she didn't do that. Another had never
heard of Tufte. Those were just the 2 examples off the top of my head. I
would expect more from any breathing life form that had a pulse and the
nerve to throw the title around.
In my experience past and current never seeing the people and conveying the
message remote is ideal. I've seen more quality from 2 people in sync from a
far than entire teams holding 2 weekly whiteboard sessions.

I've learned more from reading your books than anyone ever taught me in
class or by example. I would never want to monopolize the work place with my
school crownies either.

Just my thoughts, nothing personal. I'm taking a relational database theory
class online right now and it is way better than any tech class I've ever
taken and had to sit and listen to the most often slanted political speech
of the instructors personal preferences accompanied by slides.

FYI, I was a high school continuation student; but, I was also
in geometry when I was in 6th grade. It was all down hill from there.

21 Jan 2009 - 5:06am
Renee Rosen-Wakeford
2008

On Wed, Jan 21, 2009 at 7:58 AM, Dan Saffer <dan at odannyboy.com> wrote:

>
> On Jan 20, 2009, at 9:03 PM, Ben Vaughan wrote:
>
> However, I must respectfully disagree that the only way to benefit
>> from a program is by personally attending.
>>
>
> Based on what exactly? Is there anyone on the list who has attended design
> school who thinks it can be taught remotely? If so, that's an opinion I've
> yet to hear.

It wasn't quite design school remotely, but I did take the postgraduate
module on user centred design from Open University which is a highly
respected institute of distance learning in the UK. It gave me a good
foundation in the basics of UCD, though it has a IS/engineering bias (lots
of use cases, etc.). I did that so that I could work full-time while
studying - none of the UK HCI or IxD postgraduate programmes in the UK have
evening classes. Even part time, they assume you will only work a few days a
week.

A few years later, I took a year off and completed an MSc in HCI from UCL.
Although I learned a lot from the OU course, the UCL one was much more
in-depth, partially because it was a whole MSc instead of just one module
that was part of another MSc, but another was the fact that it wasn't
distance learning and we had lots of design and other kinds of workshops.

On the other hand, the basics/foundations of the course could probably be
taught by distance learning. So maybe the solution is to create more
programs that combine distance learning with workshops later in the program
or more infrequently - i.e., 1-2 intensive weeks of workshopping that allow
students to use their holiday time to attend full-time but can more easily
keep their jobs while doing the rest of the study. It might take longer to
get the course done that way, but it always does if you're attending part
time.

As for getting a job without a degree or considerable experience, it's very
hard in the current market, at least in London. Before I had the MSc but
with the OU course and some experience (plus years of industry experience as
a producer/front-end developer), I got interviews. After the MSc, I got job
offers and now work as a User Experience Architect.

I think the KU course sounds like a good idea with evening classes for
professionals in Lawrence and Kansas City. If I still lived in the area and
didn't already have a degree, I'd seriously consider it, especially since
Masters programs are 2 years full time in the US instead of just 1. (KU is
my undergraduate alma mater, though I studied totally unrelated fields to
what I do today.)

--
Renée Rosen-Wakeford
reneerw at gmail.com
Twitter: @lilitu93

21 Jan 2009 - 7:00am
Mark Schraad
2006

I have to agree with Dan here. A remote learning program in
interaction is not a great solution regardless of its convenience.

You can certainly access texts and publications from nearly anywhere,
but immersion and social learning is an important component of the
experience. I am sure that you can learn the principles and
guidelines of the field from books, but the discourse, collaboration,
debates and even the arguments are what crystalize the foundations
for your passion and expertise. I will go a step further and say that
while having a source for direct application of what you learn (a
job) is great, the experience for me was optimal when I could devote
2/3 of my time in research, theory and classwork rather than 1/3. The
evening classes are a great option to expand reach of the discipline
and this program... but immersion is well worth the price of admission.

Mark

btw: I am amongst a couple of dozen masters graduates from the
University of Kansas that studied in this program prior to the formal
degree now offered. Of those graduates... most found employment
almost immediately at firms like adobe, microsoft, motorola, etc. I
highly recommend the program and am happy to discuss it offline.

On Jan 21, 2009, at 5:06 AM, Renee Rosen-Wakeford wrote:

> On Wed, Jan 21, 2009 at 7:58 AM, Dan Saffer <dan at odannyboy.com> wrote:
>
>>
>> On Jan 20, 2009, at 9:03 PM, Ben Vaughan wrote:
>>
>> However, I must respectfully disagree that the only way to benefit
>>> from a program is by personally attending.
>>>
>>
>> Based on what exactly? Is there anyone on the list who has
>> attended design
>> school who thinks it can be taught remotely? If so, that's an
>> opinion I've
>> yet to hear.
>
>
> It wasn't quite design school remotely, but I did take the
> postgraduate
> module on user centred design from Open University which is a highly
> respected institute of distance learning in the UK. It gave me a good
> foundation in the basics of UCD, though it has a IS/engineering
> bias (lots
> of use cases, etc.). I did that so that I could work full-time while
> studying - none of the UK HCI or IxD postgraduate programmes in the
> UK have
> evening classes. Even part time, they assume you will only work a
> few days a
> week.
>
> A few years later, I took a year off and completed an MSc in HCI
> from UCL.
> Although I learned a lot from the OU course, the UCL one was much more
> in-depth, partially because it was a whole MSc instead of just one
> module
> that was part of another MSc, but another was the fact that it wasn't
> distance learning and we had lots of design and other kinds of
> workshops.
>
> On the other hand, the basics/foundations of the course could
> probably be
> taught by distance learning. So maybe the solution is to create more
> programs that combine distance learning with workshops later in the
> program
> or more infrequently - i.e., 1-2 intensive weeks of workshopping
> that allow
> students to use their holiday time to attend full-time but can more
> easily
> keep their jobs while doing the rest of the study. It might take
> longer to
> get the course done that way, but it always does if you're
> attending part
> time.
>
> As for getting a job without a degree or considerable experience,
> it's very
> hard in the current market, at least in London. Before I had the
> MSc but
> with the OU course and some experience (plus years of industry
> experience as
> a producer/front-end developer), I got interviews. After the MSc, I
> got job
> offers and now work as a User Experience Architect.
>
> I think the KU course sounds like a good idea with evening classes for
> professionals in Lawrence and Kansas City. If I still lived in the
> area and
> didn't already have a degree, I'd seriously consider it, especially
> since
> Masters programs are 2 years full time in the US instead of just 1.
> (KU is
> my undergraduate alma mater, though I studied totally unrelated
> fields to
> what I do today.)
>
> --
> Renée Rosen-Wakeford
> reneerw at gmail.com
> Twitter: @lilitu93
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

21 Jan 2009 - 7:10am
Andy Polaine
2008

Yes, I have to disagree with the argument about remote design
education being worthless. I've been involved in online
collaborative design teaching for ten years via the Omnium project
(and platform) at the College of Fine Arts in Australia -
http://www.omnium.net.au. Australia has a long history and expertise
in distance education because of the size of the place in relation to
the population size.

I used to teach face-to-face at COFA when I was head of the school of
Media Arts and the Digital Media program there. I also taught online
for students who were either not in Sydney or Australia or on another
campus. Now I'm back in Germany I still teach online from here.

Teaching online requires a lot of preparation, which is a good thing
pedagogically speaking. It's far too easy to walk into a room and
wing it if you know your subject. Sometimes that is a good thing too,
but it doesn't structure the learning experience very well usually.

The 'low bandwidth' of communication also forces you to think about
what it is you are trying to teach and break it down and explain it
very carefully. Books are low bandwidth too - usually just text and
pictures - but deep content. As Angel mentioned, I have learned an
enormous amount from reading books, and that's without any direct
interaction with the authors (usually). Online learning and teaching
allows that interaction and discussion.

It also slows discussion down, which is an excellent way to get
students to consider different views and processes (it's not just
the loud ones that hog the floor) and allows for broader peer
feedback and collaboration in ways the often don't happen in real
life (because friends sit and work with friends, etc.). On top of
that you get an archive of the whole thing to refer back to.

COFA Online offers a Masters in Cross Disciplinary Art and Design
that also includes a sculpture course. Of course, it is different
from studio work, that's for sure, but not better or worse. A large
part of teaching sculpture students about form, light and shade,
volume, etc. is done through examples which are photographs anyway.
You can't drag all your students over to Europe to quickly look at a
Henry Moore, you show them a photograph and talk about it.

For interaction design, the online learning experience makes even
more sense because, at least for the digital versions, so many
examples are online to use, 'handle', critique, etc. So you're at
an advantage over some other traditional disciplines.

Most of the time I work remotely too for clients in the UK, often
with other people working on the projects in the USA. That's not
uncommon, so it's not a bad idea to teach students how to work this
way because it will play a large part in their futures. The only
thing I haven't really found a good online substitute for is
brainstorming. There are ways to come close, but it's not quite the
same process.

We've written and presented quite a bit about this -
http://omnium.net.au/research/papers/ %u2013 and I have some more
recent papers/examples if anyone is interested.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=37349

21 Jan 2009 - 7:46am
Dave Malouf
2005

Andy, I'd love to hear more about how you do design education online
and remotely.SCAD where I currently teach has a host of online
offerings that seem to be used more for supplementing scheduling
conflicts among in-person enrolled students than for replacing entire
degree programs.

Angel, I don't understand what your criticism is precisely. Are you
saying that studio education is bullshit b/c you met people who came
out of it who don't know who Tufte is? I would actually challenge
that as part of the "academic" side of the UX community who believe
that knowledge of information is more important than ones ability to
actually do craft.

In my short time here at SCAD I have noticed a few things. One is
that the design program teaches through doing, not through reading.
Reading is required for sure, don't get me wrong, but it is always
used as a means for supporting doing. Kinetic learning is the primary
form, and what that means is that students often internalize the
learnings of readings without afterward being able to reference them.
(THIS is is at the undergraduate level). It is only at the graduate
level well depth of knowledge and mastery of that information is
pressed. But still always against the mold of doing.

Let's get back to studio and to "design" education. There are a
host of HCI and UCD and UX and IA and even IA/IxD programs out there.
I would not consider any of these good "interaction design" programs
if they do not incorporate the foundations of design as a requirement
or use the studio method of education. They are learning environments
and what they teach can be quality and valuable, but without the core
principals of both foundation and studio and I'll throw in there art
history & criticism these are not design degrees.

I think this is at the crux of what Dan and Marc are speaking about.
That to continue not just as a UX discipline but as a DESIGN
discipline our educational system needs to be rooted in the same
foundations as all other design disciplines from architecture,
communication, and industrial.

Why is this so important? Because today's "other designers" are
much better equipped to move into IxD than most of us are able to
move into their domain, and the realities of the work ahead of us as
a society has less to do with websites and more to do with designing
entire situations and eco-systems which traverse all these
environments. So if we not only want to DO, but hopefully be
considered to lead (I mean why go for a grad degree if you don't
want to change your station; and notice I didn't say manage) you
need to be able to communicate & practice DESIGN across all these
disciplines.

Going back again to studio. Most people don't understand what studio
is and how it works. In my sketching workship I try to teach this
concept, but it is sorta difficult without living it. I think a
former colleague of mine in a discussion put it best. Jennifer Arden
(RISD grad) said studio gave her creativity endurance and stamina. It
taught her creative mind to keep working longer and harder. What I
would go further to say is that what I have experienced as an
outsider to studio world coming into it is that studio is a chamber
for behavior modification. Through this crucible we are re-taught
that which our parents and other adults beat out of us--that is our
creative spirits. The studio resuscitates our creativity and having
worked most of my life outside the studio world and recently thrown
into its frying pan in practice, I must say that when applied
properly it makes a HUGE difference not just to education but to the
ongoing design environment in which we currently practice.

But we are in a place in IxD where so many of us have not gone
through this fire and are hungry for learning and betterment and
advancement in our careers. I think it unreasonable to expect
everyone to have grad degrees to advance. What are we accountants
looking for MBAs? Please! Few if any Advertising creative directors
have grad degrees. They wouldn't have had the time. The only reason
we put special attention on it at all is b/c of our academic roots in
CHI where we feel that academic advancement is the true vehicle for
improvement. RUBBISH!

Practice is our greatest vehicle for improvement as designers and
hiring managers need to know this.

But we still are hungry and we need outlets for learning and exposure
to focused, dense, and deep learning opportunities. Online learning as
a mode of continuing education is totally cool for those that like
that type of structure. For others conferences with workshops, for
some just reading is good enough, and others they will want a degreed
education.

My call here is that we should not dilute interaction design
education with academic education principles and leave behind our
strong and I would argue needed connections to DESIGN education.

Again, I am really interested in how Andy P. is creating a space for
remote design education that maintains a deep connection to the
strong tradition of design education, that creates designers, and not
just design knowledge bearers.

-- dave

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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21 Jan 2009 - 10:08am
Kevin Doyle
2007

As someone who wants to pursue a graduate degree in interaction
design, I'd like to say that I could only imagine something like
design being taught in a studio/lecture environment. As a person with
an education background, in-person education is optimal.

Giving the concept some thought, while it's probably not the best
way to learn something as kinesthetic as interaction design, I think
to throw out the baby with the bathwater with the blanket statement
of "only in the classroom", imo, is unfair. I mean, isn't a large
part of what we do as interaction designers to make interactions
thought impossible on the web or computer possible? Perhaps, instead
of saying that it's just not possible and to forget about it, we
should be brainstorming ways to make learning something like
interaction design online a plausible (maybe even preferred)
experience...?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=37349

21 Jan 2009 - 10:12am
Benjamin Ho
2007

The fact is, people learn different ways:

1. Audio (listening)
2. Kinesthetic (touchy-feely)
3. Visual (reading, seeing)

As long as the curriculum accommodates for these different ways of
learning, and it's of great quality, it's worthwhile to take.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=37349

21 Jan 2009 - 10:34am
Dan Saffer
2003

On Jan 21, 2009, at 1:53 AM, Angel Marquez wrote:

> I totally disagree. I've worked with a few interaction designers
> that had reputable university degrees specific to interaction design
> and they were as you say 'worthless'. I asked one what web sites
> applications etc..she thought were well done and she said she didn't
> do that. Another had never heard of Tufte. Those were just the 2
> examples off the top of my head. I would expect more from any
> breathing life form that had a pulse and the nerve to throw the
> title around.

Design school doesn't necessarily make you a good designer: it only
increases the probability that you are.

> In my experience past and current never seeing the people and
> conveying the message remote is ideal. I've seen more quality from 2
> people in sync from a far than entire teams holding 2 weekly
> whiteboard sessions.

There is a big difference between getting trained (school) and working
on a project.

> I've learned more from reading your books than anyone ever taught me
> in class or by example. I would never want to monopolize the work
> place with my school crownies either.

You cannot learn interaction design from books alone. I say this as
the author of two of them and as someone who has taught design for
several years. You can have read every book in the field and still be
a lousy designer. The opposite is also true for a rare few.

Dan

21 Jan 2009 - 10:43am
Dan Saffer
2003

On Jan 21, 2009, at 7:08 AM, Kevin Doyle wrote:

> Giving the concept some thought, while it's probably not the best
> way to learn something as kinesthetic as interaction design, I think
> to throw out the baby with the bathwater with the blanket statement
> of "only in the classroom", imo, is unfair. I mean, isn't a large
> part of what we do as interaction designers to make interactions
> thought impossible on the web or computer possible? Perhaps, instead
> of saying that it's just not possible and to forget about it, we
> should be brainstorming ways to make learning something like
> interaction design online a plausible (maybe even preferred)
> experience...?

This is true. However, one of the things we should know as a designer
is what we can replace with a technology solution, and what we cannot
(or should not). The interactions with instructors (masters) and other
students (apprentices) on a day-to-day working level is invaluable,
and given our level of technology currently, I do not think it could
be replicated effectively. Critiques, for instance, which are such a
large part of a design education, would be difficult to conduct
remotely.

This is not just true of education, but of business as well. There's a
reason consultants fly all over the place to meet face to face with
clients or why distant teams occasionally still meet face to face:
because nothing yet technologically is as high-bandwidth as being
together in person. The nuance that happens via body language,
gesture, expression, tone of voice, physical location, etc. is nigh
impossible with our current technology.

Dan

21 Jan 2009 - 11:00am
Michael Williamson
2008

Dan,

I'm not usually very vocal on this site and I am a great admirer of yours. However, I must respectfully disagree with you on a few points.

1. Your position seems to be that distance design learning is not--and will never be possible. However, I think it is only currently impractical, not impossible. I believe Kevin has a good point, that we--as interaction designers--should be looking for ways to solve this problem. We live in a global community and travel is only an option for the few. We should be seeking to enrich everyone with design regardless of their means to commute their physical bodies to a single location on the planet. In my humble opinion, the reasons that consultants travel all over the world is attributed to two problems 1) people are accustomed to the former ways and naturally resist change, and 2) the design of replacement technology is not sufficient... yet.

2. We are all (or will be) working for companies with teams distributed all over the globe as I currently do. This poses a growing problem on how to make these teams more collaborative. I think the design community should lead the way in developing technology and services to make this easy. If an interaction design school cannot facilitate solving the problems of the future, then perhaps the program should be questioned. A good school will recognize the difficulty of physical location and provide an environment for students to innovate around this problem. This won't happen if we shut the door on the problem before it is ever considered.

I believe that Dr. Eckersley has a golden opportunity to create a truly world-class program that allows for global education and that rewards its students with the ability to survive in the future economy. He needs our support and input to do that and by saying that something "can't be done" we are limiting our opportunities.

With warm and admiring regards,
Michael Williamson

21 Jan 2009 - 10:50am
SemanticWill
2007

"There's a reason consultants fly all over the place to meet face to
face with clients or why distant teams occasionally still meet face to
face: because nothing yet technologically is as high-bandwidth as
being together in person"

I am presenting in front of stakeholders tomorrow. I could easily
present all the wireframes, visual designs, stories in the format of
an open narrative via WebEx and conference call - but I would miss the
most important thing - the looks on stakeholder's faces as they are
walked through the first iteration of the application - I can see
frustration, confusion, cluelessness as well as excitement and elation
- Without having videocams trained on every person and displayed in 10
different cam windows on my desktop could I get that most important of
feedback. Same thing with design critiques - I would not say it HAS to
be face to face - I just dont know if anything is available that
brings about that level of intimacy which is important.

~ will

"Where you innovate, how you innovate,
and what you innovate are design problems"

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Will Evans | User Experience Architect
tel: +1.617.281.1281 | will at semanticfoundry.com
http://blog.semanticfoundry.com
aim: semanticwill
gtalk: semanticwill
twitter: semanticwill
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

On Jan 21, 2009, at 10:43 AM, Dan Saffer wrote:

> There's a reason consultants fly all over the place to meet face to
> face with clients or why distant teams occasionally still meet face
> to face: because nothing yet technologically is as high-bandwidth as
> being together in person

21 Jan 2009 - 11:01am
mcaskey
2008

I like your description of "high-bandwidth" interactions. In what ways
are interaction designers incorporating this into their designs? Rich,
multi-media experiences? Video? Has anyone else tried out Adobe
Connectnow?

I'm thinking that the in-person and distance versions of these design
courses and workshops probably have their own distinct advantages over
the other.

Yes, learning styles should come into play when deciding on the best
route to take. I also wonder if another consideration might be what
kind of work you're looking to get into. Is there such a thing as a
telecommuting Interaction Designer? Why not! :) I think this could be
relevant, especially for web designers.

My personal preference is actually a mix of both distance and in-person
interaction, both for learning, and for working. I like the
"high-bandwidth" benefits, but also understand the value of distance and
loosely-coupled communication.

I bet a pint that a handful of curriculum designers are having this very
conversation, as we speak!

</derail>

Mike Caskey
Denver, Colorado

21 Jan 2009 - 11:44am
Michael Eckersley
2007

Interesting to see the various opinions.

Probably necessary to explain that our current graduate programs rely
on regular student-instructor and student-student group interaction.
The "co-located" courses are offered evenings simultaneously
between two campuses in KC and Lawrence, with the professor
alternating between locations every week. We currently rely on
Polycom systems. Not ideal, but a workable, fairly low cost solution
for now. Blackboard offers useful asynchronous course backup for
information sharing: readings, discussion boards, lecture material,
etc. Lecture material can be videotaped and archived for reference.

Ideally, we'd prefer having all students together at same
time/place, but we've found that the benefits of this delivery
channel outweigh most of the obvious limitations. This model
contrasts from conventional distance learning models in that there's
still plenty of face-to-face in a lecture/studio format. But it's
been surprising how adaptive the learning experience can be without
sacrificing qualities that make it meaningful and useful to people.

We are getting requests to make these programs available remotely in
a more conventional distance learning mode. It appears doable for the
Design Management MA, but not well suited to the serious study of
Interaction Design--at least with current commercially available
technology.

Hope this clarifies...

Michael

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=37349

21 Jan 2009 - 11:52am
mcaskey
2008

I like your mixed-media, multi-channel approach. I think you only
increase the richness
of your courses by using this approach.

I used to work at Regis University, where I evaluated and implemented
existing technologies
for things like distance learning.

One of the gems I found for course facilitation was Moodle. It was
quite nice for those loosely-
coupled interactions and collaborations. At the time it didn't carry
many features for live
collaboration, but it was a very nice piece of work. And.... <drumroll>
it's free & open-source.

Regis didn't end up using it officially, but a handful of professors
ended up with their own
instances of it for their own courses, since they preferred it (which
speaks to me).

Adobe ConnectNow is an interesting service for live presentation and
collaboration.

Mike Caskey
Denver, Colorado

Michael Eckersley wrote:
> Interesting to see the various opinions.
>
> Probably necessary to explain that our current graduate programs rely
> on regular student-instructor and student-student group interaction.
> The "co-located" courses are offered evenings simultaneously
> between two campuses in KC and Lawrence, with the professor
> alternating between locations every week. We currently rely on
> Polycom systems. Not ideal, but a workable, fairly low cost solution
> for now. Blackboard offers useful asynchronous course backup for
> information sharing: readings, discussion boards, lecture material,
> etc. Lecture material can be videotaped and archived for reference.
>
> Ideally, we'd prefer having all students together at same
> time/place, but we've found that the benefits of this delivery
> channel outweigh most of the obvious limitations. This model
> contrasts from conventional distance learning models in that there's
> still plenty of face-to-face in a lecture/studio format. But it's
> been surprising how adaptive the learning experience can be without
> sacrificing qualities that make it meaningful and useful to people.
>
> We are getting requests to make these programs available remotely in
> a more conventional distance learning mode. It appears doable for the
> Design Management MA, but not well suited to the serious study of
> Interaction Design--at least with current commercially available
> technology.
>
> Hope this clarifies...
>
> Michael
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=37349
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>
>

21 Jan 2009 - 12:02pm
Phil Chung
2007

Having attended design school, completed a doctorate in HCI, taught graduate students in design, and being currently in a part-time MBA program, I believe there are
few technical skills that you can't learn from books or
online nowadays with some self-discipline. Granted, putting yourself in a
classroom gains you access to a priceless
network of classmates and instructors and the nurturing
aspect of classroom collaboration as already mentioned. Yes, you can look forward to
getting great feedback during design critiques from talented peers along
with some motivation thrown in by grades and competition. These things cannot be replicated by an online program currently. But if they
don't matter to you and your primary goal is to improve your
technical skills or simply claim a graduate degree as a job qualification, then it'll probably make
more economic sense to seek self-learning options or a distance program. The proof is in the pudding -- there are many famous designers who did not have a traditional design education (e.g. David Carson). Disclaimer: this is coming from someone who loves school. :-)

________________________________
From: Will Evans <wkevans4 at gmail.com>
To: Dan Saffer <dan at odannyboy.com>
Cc: IxDA Discuss <discuss at ixda.org>
Sent: Wednesday, January 21, 2009 10:50:31 AM
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Masters Programs in Interaction Design and Design Management at University of Kansas

"There's a reason consultants fly all over the place to meet face to face with clients or why distant teams occasionally still meet face to face: because nothing yet technologically is as high-bandwidth as being together in person"

I am presenting in front of stakeholders tomorrow. I could easily present all the wireframes, visual designs, stories in the format of an open narrative via WebEx and conference call - but I would miss the most important thing - the looks on stakeholder's faces as they are walked through the first iteration of the application - I can see frustration, confusion, cluelessness as well as excitement and elation - Without having videocams trained on every person and displayed in 10 different cam windows on my desktop could I get that most important of feedback. Same thing with design critiques - I would not say it HAS to be face to face - I just dont know if anything is available that brings about that level of intimacy which is important.

~ will

"Where you innovate, how you innovate,
and what you innovate are design problems"

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Will Evans | User Experience Architect
tel: +1.617.281.1281 | will at semanticfoundry.com
http://blog.semanticfoundry.com
aim: semanticwill
gtalk: semanticwill
twitter: semanticwill
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

On Jan 21, 2009, at 10:43 AM, Dan Saffer wrote:

> There's a reason consultants fly all over the place to meet face to face with clients or why distant teams occasionally still meet face to face: because nothing yet technologically is as high-bandwidth as being together in person

________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

21 Jan 2009 - 1:28pm
Jack L. Moffett
2005

On Jan 21, 2009, at 12:02 PM, Phil Chung wrote:

> Having attended design school, completed a doctorate in HCI, taught
> graduate students in design, and being currently in a part-time MBA
> program, I believe there are few technical skills that you can't
> learn from books or online nowadays with some self-discipline.

Interaction Design is MORE than technical skills.

Technical skills/craft is extremely important, but do not a designer
make.

Best,
Jack

Jack L. Moffett
Interaction Designer
inmedius
412.459.0310 x219
http://www.inmedius.com

It's not about the world of design;
it's about the design of the world.

- Bruce Mau

21 Jan 2009 - 1:33pm
Phil Chung
2007

Agreed, but the point was that anyone with motivation can pursue alternative paths to become a good designer if the cost-benefit analysis makes sense for them.

To revisit the debate brought up by AIGA back in 2005:

http://www.aiga.org/content.cfm/myths-of-the-self-taught-designer-the-first-conversation-between

________________________________
From: Jack Moffett <jackmoffett at mac.com>
To: IxDA Discuss <discuss at ixda.org>
Sent: Wednesday, January 21, 2009 1:28:11 PM
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Masters Programs in Interaction Design and Design Management at University of Kansas

On Jan 21, 2009, at 12:02 PM, Phil Chung wrote:

> Having attended design school, completed a doctorate in HCI, taught graduate students in design, and being currently in a part-time MBA program, I believe there are few technical skills that you can't learn from books or online nowadays with some self-discipline.

Interaction Design is MORE than technical skills.

Technical skills/craft is extremely important, but do not a designer make.

Best,
Jack

Jack L. Moffett
Interaction Designer
inmedius
412.459.0310 x219
http://www.inmedius.com

It's not about the world of design;
it's about the design of the world.

- Bruce Mau

________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

21 Jan 2009 - 1:46pm
SemanticWill
2007

Here is the funny/ironical part of the whole discussion:
"Interaction Design is MORE than technical skills."

Technical skills/craft is extremely important, but do not a designer
make."

I would ad that design school is neither a sufficient nor necessary
requirement to be a designer, though the more pedagogically inclined
may disagree with me simply to be disagreeable.

Um - yes- a design studio work is good too, in addition, though I
don't necessarily believe the hype, I mean orthodoxy, that Only by
means of a formal design education with studio work/formal critical/
community of practice like mentor/apprentice structure can a great
IxDer emerge,
Further - those that would argue can only from a place of a false
premise based on Faith, for there is no substantiated research that
backs up their gut feeling)

But all that misses the point because very few people/very very few
- do all the things that they could possibly do that doesn't involved
formal/meatspace training in a school or design studio. We talk a bit
about all that can be learned from books, etc (and how key skills are
missing) - but the fact remains - most people don't even do that (read
all there is to read), which is of course the easiest way to at least
augment the day by day practice of actually doing it. I highly
recommend for many reasons getting formal design education, or
training in a studio environment, but if thats simply not possible -
are you doing everything else that really is possible first? Really?

~ will

"Where you innovate, how you innovate,
and what you innovate are design problems"

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Will Evans | User Experience Architect
tel: +1.617.281.1281 | will at semanticfoundry.com
http://blog.semanticfoundry.com
aim: semanticwill
gtalk: semanticwill
twitter: semanticwill
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

On Jan 21, 2009, at 1:33 PM, Phil Chung wrote:

> Interaction Design is MORE than technical skills.
>
> Technical skills/craft is extremely important, but do not a designer
> make.

21 Jan 2009 - 2:22pm
Ben Vaughan
2007

Will,
You raise a super point that I hadn't really thought about. Am I
really doing all I can? In the clear light of day, no. I'm not.
While a studio program isn't readily available to me, I'm also not
doing anything else to further my education on my own..
I'll go back through the IxDA archives to find suggestions for books,
tutorials, case studies, etc. I appreciate the intellectual kick in
the pants.

Ben Vaughan

On Wed, Jan 21, 2009 at 11:46 AM, Will Evans <wkevans4 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Here is the funny/ironical part of the whole discussion:
> "Interaction Design is MORE than technical skills."
>
> Technical skills/craft is extremely important, but do not a designer make."
>
> I would ad that design school is neither a sufficient nor necessary
> requirement to be a designer, though the more pedagogically inclined may
> disagree with me simply to be disagreeable.
>
> Um - yes- a design studio work is good too, in addition, though I don't
> necessarily believe the hype, I mean orthodoxy, that Only by means of a
> formal design education with studio work/formal critical/community of
> practice like mentor/apprentice structure can a great IxDer emerge,
> Further - those that would argue can only from a place of a false premise
> based on Faith, for there is no substantiated research that backs up their
> gut feeling)
>
> But all that misses the point because very few people/very very few - do
> all the things that they could possibly do that doesn't involved
> formal/meatspace training in a school or design studio. We talk a bit about
> all that can be learned from books, etc (and how key skills are missing) -
> but the fact remains - most people don't even do that (read all there is to
> read), which is of course the easiest way to at least augment the day by day
> practice of actually doing it. I highly recommend for many reasons getting
> formal design education, or training in a studio environment, but if thats
> simply not possible - are you doing everything else that really is possible
> first? Really?
>
> ~ will
>
> "Where you innovate, how you innovate,
> and what you innovate are design problems"
>
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Will Evans | User Experience Architect
> tel: +1.617.281.1281 | will at semanticfoundry.com
> http://blog.semanticfoundry.com
> aim: semanticwill
> gtalk: semanticwill
> twitter: semanticwill

21 Jan 2009 - 9:32am
Samantha LeVan
2009

I believe that at a graduate level, online design education should be
possible online. Many people will be going back for a masters degree
after several years working in the industry and already have a
foundation built. Yes, being able to collaborate in person is an
experience that cannot be replicated, however, that is something many
of us are used to at work as well. So many companies have teams
collaborating across cities, states, and across the globe. Learning
remotely supports the education of designing on a cross-cultural team
and collaborating with people via email, content management systems,
and video conferencing.

Several years back, I both attended and worked for SCAD. When they
introduced online learning, I signed up for a few courses and my
experience was only slightly different from the classroom experience.
Yes, there wasn't any face-time with students and professors, but I
actually spent more time communicating with them via email and AIM
and found the experience more positively challenging than in an
in-person class. Later I went to CMU and took an online course in the
software engineering department, and while not a design studio class,
I felt the same about that experience as I had about the SCAD
experience.

For people who are already experienced in the discipline, I'm all
for online education.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=37349

21 Jan 2009 - 12:01pm
Ray DeLaPena
2009

As a long time system designer/BA/PM/SA/generalist type guy trying to
transition my career to IxD/UX I've been struggling to find a remote
curriculum because there shockingly seems to be no program in New York
City (at least that I'm aware of) -- never mind a program for people
working full time.

While I see the benefits of studio design study and the apparent
inability of such a group activity to be available virtually, I have
a big problem with the idea that we can't find a way to use
technology to impart the necessary skills and education that qualify
someone to perform these design activities. Unfortunately I don't
yet have a solution to that problem, but I certainly resist the idea
that it is insurmountable.

Ray

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=37349

21 Jan 2009 - 2:44pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Will, it is never about absolutes, but about critical mass. There will
always be people who excel outside the directed path, but I'll take
100 years of education history that has gone through several
generations of critique to (still) evolve into what it has achieved
today towards creating designers, and use THAT as my model for
creating design education than blow it up and start from scratch due
to and i'll be blunt here: laziness, impatience, free market
bullshit and lack of passion.

1. if you don't have it in your neck of the woods, stop looking for
hacks, and build it or move. This is EXACTLY what China has done.
They saw that being a manufacturing giant left them exposed and what
did they do, put out a mission to have 400 design schools within the
near future.

2. Find REAL alternatives. When formal education doesn't make sense,
maybe it means you have to take a few steps backwards in your career
to move forward. This is a model that many people including myself
have done. I left the comfort of 2D design to work in an industrial
design studio and the last 2 years were better than going to
conferences, reading and remote learning for sure. Find your
alternatives and don't be afraid to move backwards for a spell.

To the educators. Don't pretend.
Let's see the portfolios that come out of UK's hybrid program and
then decide. In the end the proof is in the pudding and the portfolio
quality is all that matters to future recruiters. I'm pessimistic of
the program's ability to really transform people into designers with
creative stamina that comes out of a 24/7 studio environment, but hey!
let's see what happens.

Employers/Recruiters:
Get real about your expectations and hiring practices. Is the paper
what you are looking for, or are you looking for great designers? Can
you create programs and practices that build designers inside your
current institutions? or are you just creating a carousel factory
that people come in young, leave and new people come in at senior
levels. What about building from within? this isn't just about
tuition re-imbursement, but about moving past stupid rigid corporate
policies around "$2k limits" for conferences, not creating in-house
libraries, and having rigid requirements for management positions to
have masters level education.

The reason I point to the employers is that b/c of these stale
philosophies educators really can't innovate correctly. they create
"remote" education b/c of the lack of available market to support
better and more practical education alternatives due to corporate
rigidness and short-sightedness.

Just sayin'

Last point, it all depends on what you want to be when you grow up.
If you want to work with other design disciplines studio as a
language will be important. It was soooo hard for me culturally to
fall into an ID studio and still I'm learning more teaching within
an ID department at SCAD. Leaving behind my more rational and
analytic thoughts and linguistic modes of constructing the world
around me is taxing and wonderous. This won't happen for you unless
you dive into a true design environment.

Very few of us are going to be great, just b/c we are. We have to
earn it, and we have to be open to change to reach for it.

-- dave

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=37349

21 Jan 2009 - 4:21pm
Andy Polaine
2008

Dan wrote:

"However, one of the things we should know as a designer is what we
can replace with a technology solution, and what we cannot (or should
not). The interactions with instructors (masters) and other students
(apprentices) on a day-to-day working level is invaluable, and given
our level of technology currently, I do not think it could be
replicated effectively. Critiques, for instance, which are such a
large part of a design education, would be difficult to conduct
remotely."

I'm so surprised that you think this way Dan because it's exactly
looking at it from the wrong end of the telescope. The mistake is to
think about replacing one thing with another on a simple one-to-one
mapping basis. You have to look behind to the purpose of why anything
is being done (or taught, in this case) the way it is.

Certainly a face-to-face interaction between student and teacher is
different from an online one, but both have positives and negatives.
The reality of many programmes is that the student numbers have grown
enormously in relation to staffing levels. That means that a
student's face-to-face contact is often very minimal and, for some,
non-existent. Face-to-face can also be dominated by a few
enthusiastic or outgoing students, reducing the face time for the
others even more.

Online is much more even in that respect and the entire relationship
is much more one of mentoring and guidance on a journey as teacher
and student together than a top-down dynamic which, regardless of
your style and personality, standing up in front of a roomful of
students encourages.

Crits are, in fact, one of the easiest things to do online, but you
have to go back to basic principles and think what is the purpose of
it? Why are we doing crits at all and are they the right way to help
the student?

The answer is probably yes, they do help, but you can give critique
and guidance online very easily in text and/or voice (and video if
you really want, but it's probably less useful than people imagine).
The disadvantage is that it's not as speedy (see my previous post
about brainstorming), but that's an advantage too. Other students
can take time to think about their critique, harsh criticism is less
embarrassing than in a face-to-face context and that makes it both
easier for the student receiving it as well as easier for those
giving it to be more honest because the social borders are slightly
more distant.

Is it the same as a face-to-face crit? No. Some kind of group video
chat crit probably wouldn't work very well either because the
technology is still too much in the way. But written and/or audio
crits can work extremely well because they suit the online space much
more %u2013 and that's the key to using the appropriate approach to
the technology, which is why I was surprised at your take on all of
this.

It's easy to underestimate the amount of emotion a narrower
bandwidth medium can convey just as its easy to forget just how much
we miss in a face-to-face context.

When Will wrote about seeing the face of the stakeholders and how
critical that is, I agree. But I bet everyone on this list has also
had the experience of hearing the tone of their partner's or
friend's voice on the phone %u2013 or even in a text message - and
knowing something is up as well as having the experience of being
completely oblivious to the emotional state of someone even when
they're in the same room.

There are pros and cons to both face-to-face and online education
when the approach and learning and teaching structure is misaligned.
I've been to terribly dull face-to-face lectures and have read
tedious online lectures, just as I have experienced brilliance in
both. There are some approaches that I wouldn't use online just as I
wouldn't (probably) get divorced via SMS. But then I wouldn't have
as close a contact with my family (who live in another country) on a
daily/weekly basis without the intimacy that e-mail and text
messaging can bring.

There is a tendency for everyone who is an expert in their own area
to assume that their discipline is "different" and can't be taught
online. I've seen it time and time again across universities. It's
simply not true most of the time. The main problem is that we all are
too close to what we do to be able to step out of it enough to look at
the underlying principles of it and how we might teach them.

There is no doubt that someone who has learned to be a designer via
online education will be different from one who has learned on
campus, but I would hesitate to say they are better or worse. They
will, for example, be likely to be able to work independently and
remotely better, which I wager will be an ever more important skill.
In the end no design training really makes you ready for the pressure
of a professional studio (or freelance life from home). That only
comes when you actually have to do it - it's the pressure of the
stakes that makes the difference.

That said, there is a lot of terrible online education out there and
a lot of trying to use technology to replicate face-to-face
experiences (hence the use of video or other software). But that
usually doesn't work. Text messaging or e-mail or Twitter aren't
the same as any other face-to-face communication. They are similar,
but different and, crucially make the best of the medium they are
operating within rather than banging up against its limitations.
That's what is key when thinking about education - it has to be
designed as you would design anything else and that means going right
back to first principles.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=37349

21 Jan 2009 - 4:36pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

>
> Critiques, for instance, which are such a large part of a design education,
> would be difficult to conduct remotely.
>

Constraints are the drivers of great design. We can always find ways to
improve, but we first have to be willing to say it's possible.

-r-

21 Jan 2009 - 5:13pm
Jack L. Moffett
2005

On Jan 21, 2009, at 8:21 AM, Andy Polaine wrote:

> The reality of many programmes is that the student numbers have grown
> enormously in relation to staffing levels. That means that a
> student's face-to-face contact is often very minimal and, for some,
> non-existent.

That's an issue that should be addressed by administration (increase
staffing or don't accept so many students). Besides, I don't see how
distance learning fixes this issue. It takes more time and effort to
communicate remotely.

> Face-to-face can also be dominated by a few
> enthusiastic or outgoing students, reducing the face time for the
> others even more.

That's an issue that should be recognized and addressed by the teacher.

> Online is much more even in that respect and the entire relationship
> is much more one of mentoring and guidance on a journey as teacher
> and student together than a top-down dynamic which, regardless of
> your style and personality, standing up in front of a roomful of
> students encourages.

I disagree. This really comes down to the teacher. There is nothing
inherent in a studio classroom that disallows a mentoring journey as
you've described it, and nothing inherent in the distance-learning
technology to promote it.

> Crits are, in fact, one of the easiest things to do online, but you
> have to go back to basic principles and think what is the purpose of
> it? Why are we doing crits at all and are they the right way to help
> the student?
>
> The answer is probably yes, they do help,

No "probably" about it.

> but you can give critique
> and guidance online very easily in text and/or voice (and video if
> you really want, but it's probably less useful than people imagine).
> The disadvantage is that it's not as speedy (see my previous post
> about brainstorming), but that's an advantage too. Other students
> can take time to think about their critique, harsh criticism is less
> embarrassing than in a face-to-face context and that makes it both
> easier for the student receiving it as well as easier for those
> giving it to be more honest because the social borders are slightly
> more distant.

I'm sorry, but this sounds like you are saying it is okay for a design
student to be introverted, fragile, and lacking in self-confidence.
Critiques are DESIGNED to instill qualities in designers that will
prepare them for the realities of the industry.

> Is it the same as a face-to-face crit? No. Some kind of group video
> chat crit probably wouldn't work very well either because the
> technology is still too much in the way. But written and/or audio
> crits can work extremely well because they suit the online space much
> more %u2013 and that's the key to using the appropriate approach to
> the technology, which is why I was surprised at your take on all of
> this.

I would never say it is impossible to have a good, on-line critique.
However, in the short amount of time I've been thinking about it,
every solution that I know of or start to imagine is based on trying
to support the activities that are natural in-person. They are
substitutes. They are less effective.

> It's easy to underestimate the amount of emotion a narrower
> bandwidth medium can convey just as its easy to forget just how much
> we miss in a face-to-face context.
>
> When Will wrote about seeing the face of the stakeholders and how
> critical that is, I agree. But I bet everyone on this list has also
> had the experience of hearing the tone of their partner's or
> friend's voice on the phone %u2013 or even in a text message - and
> knowing something is up as well as having the experience of being
> completely oblivious to the emotional state of someone even when
> they're in the same room.

Are you trying to say that an audio-only communication, or a text-only
communication has an equal chance of being correctly interpreted as
face-to-face communication? I don't buy it.

> There is a tendency for everyone who is an expert in their own area
> to assume that their discipline is "different" and can't be taught
> online. I've seen it time and time again across universities. It's
> simply not true most of the time. The main problem is that we all are
> too close to what we do to be able to step out of it enough to look at
> the underlying principles of it and how we might teach them.

Again, I would never say that it can't be taught online. But I will
adamantly argue that it can't be done as effectively.

> There is no doubt that someone who has learned to be a designer via
> online education will be different from one who has learned on
> campus, but I would hesitate to say they are better or worse. They
> will, for example, be likely to be able to work independently and
> remotely better, which I wager will be an ever more important skill.

There are no absolutes, as has already been stated. Better or worse
depends on many more variables than the quality or presence of
education. Quality education, however, significantly ups your chances
for being on the "better" side of things. And, as I believe an in-
person, studio-based education is higher quality than remote learning,
it follows that it will provide better chances.

> In the end no design training really makes you ready for the pressure
> of a professional studio (or freelance life from home). That only
> comes when you actually have to do it - it's the pressure of the
> stakes that makes the difference.

Perhaps. But I bet a student that has participated in a studio program
that performs work for actual clients will be better prepared than one
who hasn't.

Best,
Jack

Jack L. Moffett
Interaction Designer
inmedius
412.459.0310 x219
http://www.inmedius.com

When I am working on a problem,
I never think about beauty.
I think only of how to solve the problem.

But when I have finished,
if the solution is not beautiful,
I know it is wrong.

- R. Buckminster Fuller

21 Jan 2009 - 10:14pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Andy, a few comments:

re: scale (# of students)
Education is not just a business. Yes, it IS a business. Or more
aptly, it has to deal with financial realities like every one/thing
else. But education is also a social contract. Keeping class sizes
reasonable and not degrading methods for the purpose of increasing
profits.

Further, I'm severely worried that the way we as educators are
responding to the new and heavy demands for post-graduate education.
How do we respond to it? I know I'm not being clear, but it seems to
me that the rush to "remote education" especially in the design
context where "knowledge" is but a piece of the total of the
education system.

Here's my thought. A person gets a masters degree remotely. They
have a diploma and a set of transcripts, but is that masters REALLY
1) a true "masterery" of the material, methods, practice, culture
and philosophy behind the degree? 2) the same value as the same
degree (in title) from another institution? Of course, we already
have secondary methods of evaluating degrees, right? I.e. we prefer
ivy league degrees over others, or we look at specific degree ranking
publications, etc. etc. But my concern is that we are actually in this
mad rush to educate ourselves and provide the service of education,
and not thinking about the long term ramifications of the services we
are offering.

re: Critique
Andy, my reading of what you suggest about critique doesn't make
sense to me. critique is not something you offer, but something you
facilitate as an instructor. Critique in the studio is about the
students more than it is about you. For me this requires 2 things to
work: 1) Real-time communication and 2) small groups. the reason is
that it requires manageability and relationship building. For
students to critique each other well they need to have that
relationship that comes from the camaraderie of small group studio.
This also takes time to develop.

Now one might argue, suggest that "studio" is for undergraduate
education. This is where design education teaches studio and critique
(as it well should) and thus it is not needed in the masters level. I
would love to think so, but way too many applying to interaction
design programs have never gone through foundation studio courses of
any kind, so the grad environment is where they'd be able to do just
that. For example the ID program at Pratt is 2 years for people who
have a design degree (bachelors) and 3 years for everyone else b/c
they require a full year of foundation before you continue into the
real degree program. At SCAD, I understand we do this based on
portfolio review. if your portfolio doesn't demonstrate
"undergraduate" abilities, we tell the student they have to do the
undergrad version of the courses before they can continue at the grad
level. (obviously, increasing their time in the program).

I think the MBA has killed education. Seriously, the MBA has been
crafted to be a cookie cutter degree, towards the purpose of going to
the next step in the bank or consultancy practice. B/c it is this
vocational requirement there is a mass economic system around MBAs
all over the world. It feels like to me that we are expecting the
same type of education system to take place in our design education
and career paths and I feel this is a shame.

-- dave

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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21 Jan 2009 - 3:50pm
Margaret Ann Schultz
2006

Interesting discussion. I'm really happy to see my undergraduate alma
mater offering these degrees!

Margaret

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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21 Jan 2009 - 6:35pm
Jeremy Johnson
2009

This sounds like an amazing program. My only concern is, how well will
KCU do in regards to keeping the curriculum relevant with an industry
that is changing on a daily basis? That is the main reason I dropped
out of college after I receiving my AS, the curriculum just was not
relevant anymore, it was all out dated. I discussed this with one of
my teachers and he told me "Jeremy, don't let college get in the
way of your education" and he was right.

I have often thought of going back but there just wasn't a degree I
was interested in because, first; I was afraid that the same thing
would happen again as far as the curriculum being out dated and
second; no schools really offered a degree like this.

I am willing to give it a shot though. Does anyone else share this
same fear?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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22 Jan 2009 - 9:46am
Andy Polaine
2008

Jack - Of course in an ideal situation staffing levels and student numbers should be better matched in face-to-face courses, but like I said, the reality of the situation is that this is not usually the case. I can only speak from my own, relatively long experience in online education, but I find I have more engagement and discussion with my online students than I am able to have in my face to face classes. I suspect I'm doing way more hours than I'm paid for that way, but spending a few minutes, daily and spread across a week is a more successful strategy than trying to cram in the contact with everyone in three hours per week. It's not that online takes less time, it's a different kind of effort.

I think you're misunderstanding what I am saying about the mentoring/collaborative experience of online teaching when you say it's all down to the teacher. It is, in the end, always down to the teacher, either way. But what is inherent in online teaching is the need to carefully structure the process because it is online in ways that often don't happen in face to face classes. The slowed-down, asynchronous nature of the interaction makes a big difference to the kind of collaboration and discussion that goes on and that is something inherent in online – or, indeed, text-heavy – learning and teaching.

I'm not saying it's okay for any student to be introverted and fragile with regards to crits. What I am saying is, in fact, that it is possible to give a much more critical crit that you might feel comfortable giving face-to-face. Online crits also allow for a record of the discussion and further discussion, which sometimes doesn't happen in a face-to-face crit. The distancing aspect of the online environment can be really useful in helping to engage in the critical analysis of work (and taking on that critique) from the emotions of being given a dressing down (in which it's often possible for the student to just concentrate on the unpleasant feeling and not take on board the critique).

I'm also not saying that "audio-only communication, or a text-only communication has an equal chance of being correctly interpreted as face-to-face communication". I'm saying that online or voice-only communication carries a great deal of emotion and inter-personal information that is easily enough and that if you genuinely examine your daily communication with loved ones and friends and colleagues via these media you'll see that to be the case. Otherwise we wouldn't even be having this discussion here.

--------
"Again, I would never say that it can't be taught online. But I will adamantly argue that it can't be done as effectively."
--------

And you wouldn't be alone in that argument, just wrong.

As I mentioned before, everyone thinks their own discipline area of expertise can't be taught online as well as other areas and it's constantly proved not to be the case. It is different and there are strengths and weaknesses to online and you need to play to the strengths of it for it to be an effective learning and teaching approach. But that's the same with any teaching modality - lectures are good for some things (not many, actually) and tutorials or workshops are suitable for others. Effective learning and teaching is about choosing the right approach and structure for the situation in hand.

--------
"I bet a student that has participated in a studio program that performs work for actual clients will be better prepared than one who hasn't."

--------

I bet that too, but that's to do with them working on client projects, not whether they did it remotely or not.

Dave -
Small groups do work for crits, that's true, but you don't need realtime communication to build those relationships. This list, our conversations on Twitter, etc., etc. are all good examples of that.

When you wrote
----
"here's my thought. A person gets a masters degree remotely. They have a diploma and a set of transcripts, but is that masters REALLY?"
---
I couldn't agree more, except the other way around.

Educational institutions were founded on the idea of being sources of knowledge and information. They have, up until recently, always been a secular priesthood of, as Charles Leadbeater put it "special places for special people". The piece of paper you get at the end of a degree from a university is meaningless beyond the reputation of that institution. Like bank notes, the diploma on your wall is a promise of something intangible, it's entirely based on reputation and the theory is that every knows that that piece of paper means you have completed certain activities to a certain standard. The problem is nobody outside of that program actually knows what that is, they just believe in the reputation. That works okay until things go awry in the faculty or in the student body.

I guarantee that, whilst a degree from a certain uni might help applicants get past the initial cull, nobody on this discussion list would employ someone solely based on the paper credentials. You'll look at their portfolio and past work (and assume them to be genuine too) and base your decision on that plus the personality of the person. In the end most people want to work with people that are good to work with. So the piece of paper is worthless - it's what the person has done that counts. Of course, ideally those two align and what that person did for student projects adds up to a good folio, but it's still not the paper that counts.

The point here is that the proof is in the pudding. It's irrelevant whether that person attained their degree remotely or not. What counts is what they achieve, what they make, how they think and manifest that thinking, especially in the area of design, which is so much more about tangible outcomes than grades on a marking sheet.

The problem for universities is that they are stuck in a broadcast model - you get a group of people in front of the content at a certain time each week. This completely limits the financials of what they can offer and to how many people. There is no possibility for niche and longtail education there because the economics of it don't stack up. You have to find enough students in your town, in your university, maybe even faculty who also have the time and interest to fill up a course enough to pay for the staff member running it. If not, the course gets axed.

Whilst my personal opinion is that education should have the budgets of the military and vice versa, that's not the case. The pressure is towards a kind of Top 20 of subjects, which is why the MBA is so rife.

That drift towards a mainstream selection of subjects has meant a great deal of small departments with great courses and knowledge to offer have been closed down. The net result is that every uni ends up offering the same stuff as every other uni, just like commercial radio stations. It's a problem because when you are trading on reputation, as universities are, there's no differentiation any more.

The potentially great thing about offering online subjects is that you can aggregate students from a much wider geographical area - the world, language skills permitting. That enables you to run niche courses and it also creates rich opportunities for cross-cultural critiques and examination of design and creative practices and that is what we have found in the international projects we have run.

So, think of it this way if we fast forward into the future. Would you take someone on who has cherry picked online courses from different universities around the world, each one taught by an eminent expert in the field or someone who took a course at their local degree but did it face to face with a lot of professors you've never heard of?

My guess is that the former person would be better qualified, but the only problem with that model right now is the administration between universities because they're stuck in that broadcast model for all sorts of reasons. Some to do with state funding, others of their own making.

There are enormous problems with education and, Dave, you've pointed out the nub of it, which is the pressure just to get the credentials. The thing that is waiting to happen - and that I'm pushing for - is for institutions to realise that this is a (service) design problem and that education needs to really have a designer's analysis rather than a government auditing committee's analysis applied to it to really think through how things could work radically differently.

State funding for education is like fossil fuels - it's always getting less and never coming back to how it used to be in the 60s and 70s. The only way to deal with that is to completely re-think the way we go about it, but at the moment most of the changes are nibbling at the edges of a way of thinking about education that dates back to the Victorians.

If anyone is interested, I've written and spoken about this issue quite a bit. There are some links here: http://www.polaine.com/playpen /2007 /08 /31 /creative -collaboration -the -future -of -education /

Best,

Andy

Andy Polaine

Research | Writing | Strategy
Interaction Concept Design
Education Futures

Twitter: apolaine
Skype: apolaine

http://playpen.polaine.com
http://www.designersreviewofbooks.com
http://www.omnium.net.au
http://www.antirom.com

22 Jan 2009 - 2:15pm
Christian Crumlish
2006

In practice, we should be learning from everyone we work with on every
project too.
"Just sayin'."

-x-

--
Christian Crumlish
I'm writing a book so please forgive any lag
http://designingsocialinterfaces.com

23 Jan 2009 - 7:59am
Andy Polaine
2008

I just noticed my quotes didn't turn up right on that post, so that
long rant looks like I'm arguing with myself. Sigh.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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23 Jan 2009 - 9:17am
Dave Malouf
2005

Andy, I got through the mud and to the point of your piece, no
worries.

In the end, it is OK to disagree and try different methods and learn
from those. Fail big, fail often, but you have to try to fail and who
knows someone's failure is another person's success.

Some of this debate is on the level of "religious belief". Either
you believe steadfastly in foundation and studio, or you are a
reformist, or don't even care. There has to be room for all modes,
and to be honest, to have those other programs out there to react to
better helps more orthodox programs differentiate themselves against
that.

But like all religions there are reasons for these beliefs and so the
discussion is not with each other but rather it is with those
listening to the conversation who will be making decisions about
their lives and their education.

I'd like to clarify my religious stance here though:
1. There is no substitute for in-person, small group, project-based,
studio design education.
a) 1 it mirrors the ideal working environment outside of the
education system (one must learn the ideal b4 they can move away from
it. you need to know what you are moving from)
b) real-time, in-person critique is a real-world requirement. Design
over distance will always be a compromise. Critique is not criticism.
2. Scale is a double-edged sword. Yes, it helps w/ $, but how does it
serve the greater good of design and more specifically interaction
design

All that being said, we have seen 1st and 2nd and even 3rd tier
education systems in business, law, accounting, computer arts, etc.
If we didn't have Phoenix University we might not appreciate Harvard
as much as we do. (Ok, we would but you get my point.)

Me? I'd rather just aim for Harvard, Cambridge, Sorboune or more
correctly towards RISD, Pratt, RCA, IIT/ID, CCA, Art Center/Pasadena,
Cincinnati then try to create something that will sell for its own
sake.

-- dave

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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23 Jan 2009 - 9:18am
SemanticWill
2007

Andy, I just fixed it the best I could.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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23 Jan 2009 - 9:21am
Dave Malouf
2005

1 last point about studio that wasn't said yet.
Studio is about craft (we all know that), but what we haven't said
is that studio education is not just master > apprentice, but it is
also apprentice < > apprentice. Your peers are probably 50-75% of the
source of your education in studio. They can do this b/c they are
THERE. They are with you. They see your sculptures/models as they
walk back and forth to their desks. They add impromptu critiques,
offer new skills and actually HELP you through it all.

Just having the ability to say, "Psst! come here, can you look at
this for a sec.?" or "Hey! I saw your model and you used X
material, how do you do that?" is a priceless part of the learning
process AND further adds to the relationship building that exists
within the studio that makes critique work.

Oh! ok, I've just got to to do this. No offense to all my twitter
friends, but ambient intimacy is a false god of relationships. Sure,
I like you all, but that is not a relationship built on trust and
experience and to even think that it is anyway related to real-world
relationships is delusional at best and well down right scary
otherwise.

-- dave

-- dave

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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23 Jan 2009 - 12:24pm
Andy Polaine
2008

It's a religious debate to a certain extent, except that there is
considerable research and evidence to back up the arguments on both
sides.

What I've been trying to say, really, is that online design
education can work perfectly well, albeit a different flavour. To say
it's impossible to teach design online is to place yourself in the
same basket as people who said the retail experience online would
never replace the physical experience. Amazon.com is different,
usually better and occasionally worse that going into a book store. I
like books (as you'll all know by now) and I love going into a
bookstore, but there are also real advantages to browsing and
shopping online, such as other people's opinions.

Whilst online doesn't/can't/shouldn't set out to replace studio,
studio isn't the only way to teach. You lose some things, but gain
others.

I've yet to hear a good argument and evidence to back up the claim
that crits can't be done online because my experience is that they
work very well indeed.

My guess is that most people who dismiss online education haven't
had any or a very good experience of it. There has been a lot of crap
put out there %u2013 throwing a wiki online and telling the students
to fill it isn't any kind of education much. But a well structured,
aligned and properly managed online course can be excellent, just as
a sloppily structure studio environment can be awful.

The point about scaling and dollars is slightly misunderstood. Online
teaching requires just as much, if not more, time and effort from the
teachers and it costs the same to the institution. My point is about
the longtail/niche aspect of that, which for bricks and mortar
institutions is governed and limited by physical location and the
numbers of interested students there. There has been an enormous loss
of diversity in education because of this (and a Cambrian explosion of
MBAs), which is a shame. I'd like to see institutions re-thinking
what education is and how it is structured much more radically than
they currently are.

If and when Omnium runs another global project, I'd love to invite
any interested folk on this list to take part as guests. One of the
big advantages of online courses is the ability to tap into experts
all over the world and the likes of Stefan Sagmeister and Steven
Heller have been guests on our projects with great success (and
thrilling for the students involved).

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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23 Jan 2009 - 4:25pm
Dave Malouf
2005

hmmm? I have not read in your messages any advantages of online other
than scale. The example you gave at the end of your last message
could EASILY be accomplished through online methods integrated into a
full studio environment and is very often. Further, we just prefer
bringing great minds into the school itself. I.e. Steve Baty is
coming to visit here soon. We also have Bill Moggridge coming too. My
point being is that there is nothing specificly advantageous there.

I also don't see the data you are seeing about non-studio teaching
methods used in design curriculum. My data comes from portfolio
review. EVERY graduate I have seen w/o studio education or experience
shows it in their portfolio. Now, the opposite is not true either. Not
everyone who goes through studio experience is a great designer or
even a better designer than those that haven't, but more are than
not by far.

Are there flaws in traditional design education? Yes SIR!
Are those flaws addressed in online modes of teaching. NO WAY! But
that's a completely different debate. Like I said, (and I think you
said) proof is in the pudding.

Christian suggested that we should be able to learn from everyone.
Nice sentiment, but not everyone is teaching you the right things you
need to learn.

So many "designers" don't even know what design is, and part of
this is our sloppy semantics and lack of rigor in our expectations
for hiring people which started through the 1st bubble and has
proceeded moving forward. Sometimes you need a good strong backlash
to set things right, instead of moving as if everything is hunky
dory.

-- dave

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=37349

24 Jan 2009 - 4:03pm
Andy Polaine
2008

I don't think I ever mentioned scale - or perhaps I'm
misunderstanding what you mean by that. Online scales the same as
face-to-face - the more students you have the more staff time you
need. The longtail advantage that I mentioned, which is maybe what
you're picking up on, is about aggregation of interested students
from all over the world who might be interested in niche subjects
that would otherwise not get the numbers and be axed. It's a
different line of conversation from the specific design one though.

On the great minds front - yes, of course, it's great to have them
there at the school if that is where the class is. It's also great
to have them online, if that is where the class is. Australia is a
long way away - the nearest neighbour is still a 4 -5 hour flight.
Distance education is often a necessity there.

My whole point here isn't to say online is better than studio, but
to say that design can be taught successfully online. Online
education is an addition to the options, not a replacement for any,
just in the same way as the Internet hasn't replaced books, radio,
TV or film.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=37349

24 Jan 2009 - 4:41pm
Angel Marquez
2008

One advantage for online would be the focus on effective electronic
communication while trying to reach a goal, while using the tools you might
be recreating in the future. This skill will be key.
I agree, neither way is better. I think my point in the contrast is when a
pile of resumes are on the desk of the hiring manager I think the more
formally educated make it to the top of the pile and the others get circular
filed. During my professional experience that is a bad metric.

As far as the studio portfolio way. I think it has no bearing. Your output
as a human resource is dependent on who you are providing the work for. If
something in a portfolio appears beautiful it is an artifact of
the relationship between the parties involved. It is not
some reproducible studio band sound.

On Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 1:25 PM, Dave Malouf <dave.ixd at gmail.com> wrote:

> hmmm? I have not read in your messages any advantages of online other
> than scale. The example you gave at the end of your last message
> could EASILY be accomplished through online methods integrated into a
> full studio environment and is very often. Further, we just prefer
> bringing great minds into the school itself. I.e. Steve Baty is
> coming to visit here soon. We also have Bill Moggridge coming too. My
> point being is that there is nothing specificly advantageous there.
>
> I also don't see the data you are seeing about non-studio teaching
> methods used in design curriculum. My data comes from portfolio
> review. EVERY graduate I have seen w/o studio education or experience
> shows it in their portfolio. Now, the opposite is not true either. Not
> everyone who goes through studio experience is a great designer or
> even a better designer than those that haven't, but more are than
> not by far.
>
> Are there flaws in traditional design education? Yes SIR!
> Are those flaws addressed in online modes of teaching. NO WAY! But
> that's a completely different debate. Like I said, (and I think you
> said) proof is in the pudding.
>
> Christian suggested that we should be able to learn from everyone.
> Nice sentiment, but not everyone is teaching you the right things you
> need to learn.
>
> So many "designers" don't even know what design is, and part of
> this is our sloppy semantics and lack of rigor in our expectations
> for hiring people which started through the 1st bubble and has
> proceeded moving forward. Sometimes you need a good strong backlash
> to set things right, instead of moving as if everything is hunky
> dory.
>
> -- dave
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=37349
>
>
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