DS 123: Proceedings of the International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2023)

Year: 2023
Editor: Buck, Lyndon; Grierson, Hilary; Bohemia, Erik
Author: Moriarty, Sarah; Spruce, Jon; Mathai, Samson
Series: E&PDE
Institution: MMU, United Kingdom; MIT Institute of Design, Pune, India
Section: International, multi-sectorial or multispecies collaborations
DOI number: 10.35199/EPDE.2023.51
ISBN: 978-1-912254-19-4


As designers of all disciplines are increasingly expected to engage in complex problems, involving social, cultural, technological, and economic issues that reach beyond their own known boundaries, so our students’ educational experiences should evolve to better equip them for these challenges. Generating a meaningful response to global issues both big and small requires the knowledge and skills of diverse teams, harnessing the contribution of distinct disciplinary expertise within the context of multidisciplinary practice. Over recent years our department has embodied this ambition through delivering integrated cross-course projects within 1st and 2nd year Degree level study. In extending our multidisciplinary approach beyond existing cultural boundaries we aim to foster practices of more inclusive and responsible innovation through structured engagement via the Collaborative On-line International Learning (COIL) program, established with the aim of bringing together international partners to support shared students learning experiences from across diverse cultures. Specifically, this study reports on the delivery of a global partnership project between UK and Indian institutions, with the aim of engaging students in cultural exchange and the exploration of responsible innovation beyond their existing designing experiences. Referencing the UN Global Sustainability Goals as boundary objects between these two cultures the project enabled students to respond to design challenges in mixed teams, exploring and meeting the goals from different cultural standpoints. In evaluating the project’s success as a deep learning experience, a series of comparative studies were conducted with all participating students before and after the project’s delivery. In measuring the extent of the projects impact upon core design values the authors recorded student responses to prompt questions regarding (a) their awareness of global issues (b) the students’ sense of collective agency within their extended community (c) their confidence in applying methods that extend beyond existing reference points (d) their understanding of complex problems and the connectedness of decision making to broader issues. Results from the studies were gathered and thematically analysed to identify patterns and any defined changes in students core design values resulting from their engagement in the projects.

Keywords: remote collaboration, sustainability, global design, critical pedagogy


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