Posts from the ‘5papers’ Category
February 10, 2016
The software design studio: An exploration
by Sarah Kuhn
In the late 1990’s, software design and development was rising to greater prominence. Educational institutions were looking for ways to teach software development in a more holistic, agile manner and–inspired by the discipline of architecture–tried out studio pedagogy as a potential new methodology. The overall feel was that studio pedagogy, with it’s strong focus on real-world application, iterations, and feedback cycle, would benefit software design students because it would help them become more aware of their user needs and more agile in their design process.
Why It is Interesting to Me:
Before reading this article, I never considered the correlation between architectural spaces and designed interfaces. The more I pushed against the metaphor, the more I liked its feel because I do think that architecture and interface design share many of the same end goals (user comfort, ease, intuition, etc.) though one uses physical materials to achieve these ends and the other uses lines of code.
This article laid next to a video I watched last week by Alan Stearns calling on web designers to basically be more mindful of their end user and process and web users themselves to assert their voice and rights as co-creators of the internet made for some interesting learning sparks. Stearns called for a sort of co-habitation within web designed spaces that seems very akin to co-habitation within a physical space.
Early in this article the architect Christopher Alexander was referenced. Though I had no prior knowledge, I found a great short documentary all about his life and architectural philosophy which to me seemed to be basically: make intentional design choices so that every element in a space or building is considered, purposeful, balanced and brings a sense of “wholeness in every moment” to the end user experience as they travel through your space. Alexander is the antithesis of streamlined modern architecture and is hyper aware of space and connection. Though Alexander’s words were about buildings and physical spaces, I think his ethos could just as easily be applied to interface design, LMS design, etc.
Added to the delightful rambling that was assimilating ideas from this article into my brain, this afternoon I attended a lunchtime webinar from Athabasca (called a CIDER session) where George Siemens presented about using learning analytics to improve learning (or improve learning about how learning happens.) George outlined the history of learning analytics, how the process is taking off, and the potential successes and pitfalls that he sees in the future. For me his main takeaway was that as educators we must be proactive in engaging in conversations about learner data because there are many many companies looking to privatize and monetize data that in all actuality belongs to students first and foremost. It’s easy for learning analytics to be used to further dehumanize students as data points become numbers or dot points or warning lights but…learning analytics should first and foremost be to aid in learners learning and thus must remain human-focused first and foremost.
Though they’re in different disciplines and spoke in different places/centuries (though ironically were both mediated by my computer screen…perhaps that really is the great equalizer!) I think Alexander and Siemens have a lot in common when it comes to space design in a broad sense as they both are staunch advocates of the human in the midst of all the materials/construction/structures/outcomes, etc.
Circling back to where I originally began with studio pedagogy and the article I set out to read…I wonder if because studio pedagogy is so client/end user focused it tends to form more human attuned professionals? Are people who are the product of disciplines that have a heavy studio focus better at navigating the fuzzy-gray spaces of life because they have not been schooled in a system of right answers and wrong but instead have been taught to explore where a myriad of “right” exists? I’d love to say yes but…I know from very personal experience studios are just as gamed as any other structures and studio practitioners are just as full of themselves as any other “expert” might be.
That said, it’s interesting to think about and I do think that as we tend to inhabit interfaces and Internet spaces with the same consistency we once only inhabited physical buildings…there may well be something to the idea that even as we’re so keen to teach code we would be well served to teach space design, physical awareness, and an attention to creating spaces that serve all of what it means to be human.
Kuhn, S. (1998). The software design studio: An exploration. Software, IEEE, 15(2), 65-71.
February 9, 2016
Digital Spaces for Learning and Assessment in Art and Design
by: Ian Pirie, Stewart Cordiner and Jenny Triggs
Identifying a need for greater communication and transparency in the art + design critique process, in 2010 Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) created an online digital space to aid feedback and help support engagement in the critique process. They still continue to meet face to face in studio spaces but critique is largely conducted in an online interface.
What they did:
ECA created their own custom LMS where students upload their work in progress and completed work. Along with their image files, students complete a series of reflective questions describing their process journey and rating themselves on a series of skills acquired. Instructors also complete critique using a series of reflective questions and comments and rate the students on skills shown. When both parties have completed their responses, they are shared and an online dialogue begins about the work.
Why it is interesting to me:
A fully face-to-face, traditional design program identifies what I think is a key positive to online art + design learning: the ability to move critique from the often nerve-wracking dog and pony show within a studio to a space where people can reflect and receive comments and feedback and engage in a dialogue on a more personal basis.
When analyzed, data showed that students identified value in feedback that was mutually constructed and dialogical which the online interface easily supported. Instructors too found value in seeing projects progress through various stages and reading the students’ backstory in creating them. That said like any time feedback is given…it varies based on writing ability and overall engagement with the process. Some students were frustrated with lack of communication from the instructor and vice versa.
Overall, it’s an interesting look at how the internet is bleeding into a fully face-to-face art and design program and I’m curious how the program has progressed these past six years.
Pirie, I., Cordiner, S., & Triggs, J. (2011). Digital Spaces for Learning and Assessment in Art and Design. future learning spaces, p. 43-67. Retrieved from: http://www2.uef.fi/documents/976466/1020676/Future+Learning+Spaces.pdf/1d6c8b89-1bf0-4512-b646-85f656006c34#page=44
February 1, 2016
And here we are back to Monday. Apparently if I were going all quantified self, between this Monday and last there’s been shockingly little data recorded via blog. Last Monday I waxed poetic about landing planes and pounding down posts and then disappeared completely into an abyss.
This past week illustrates why defining yourself and your learning by only one output is tricky business. Though I don’t have the pixels to back me up, in reality last week was a flurry of productivity as I met my supervisor face-to-face for the first time + had some very profitable time with him, wrote an obscene number of potential research questions via analog methods (and may have fallen a tiny bit in love with them all), had a tough-love chat with a fellow design educator who is deeply enmeshed in these ideas, rethought everything, and am now back to circling with another landing strip in sight.
Last week I learned a bunch but it was definitely of a highly rambling, meandering, not-easily-quantified-nature. I have do doubt it will manifest itself sooner than later and yet for right now I very honestly have nothing to distill into words.
This week, once more, my intention is to land my research questions and continue to be uncomfortably transparent with my process and highly intentional about inviting others (who legitimately have experience/investment) into my process. Basically, if I want my dissertation to be an open dialogue there’s no better time to begin building that practice than to be less hoard-y and more open even in its conception…which is deeply scary because I’ve only just begun to feel modestly legit in an academic sphere.
Will this week land my questions for real, for real? Probably not but…I think it can be for real, for now. Maybe.
A few things I do know is that my dissertation will:
1. Focus primarily on instructors
2. Focus primarily on graphic design
3. Focus on experience exploration/baseline discovery
4. Be a connection point/dialogue builder amongst all design educators as opposed to an exotic gaze into a far off world (i.e. present online integration within the context of studio learning continuum not isolate online as a world onto itself)
And now for images of the past week to assuage my own latent guilt at being silent in one venue even as I’ve been quite active in others. And bonus: at some point when all this is over I’ll be able to smile as I remember the hyper reality that marks these days of living in the dissertation tension that is both the now and the not-yet of being a doctoral student.
Photo 1: Meeting the supervisor for the first time. Turns out he’s pretty cool.
Photo 2: Artfully composed post-it notes after meeting the supervisor for the first time…because he told me in pretty definitive terms that research questions weren’t likely to come via sky writing.
Photo 3: Slightly less artfully composed questions + ideas after two days of occasional writing + iteration.
Photo 4: Even less artfully composed questions and ideas after two days of writing + iteration following a meeting where one question amongst many was “So…help me understand. Why are you choosing to ask questions that seem to fetishize online art + design learning? Do you want your dissertation to further separate online + face to face studios?” Oops.
January 25, 2016
It’s Monday once more, which means it’s back to writing and back to intention setting. Last week my intention was to engage with materials that explore the relationship between the academy and the art education world, with a particular emphasis on the fuzzy place that is training in vocations that once were considered “craft” and thus outside of formalized academic learning but for the last almost 100 years or so have moved into institutions of higher learning.
What that ended up meaning—which feels somewhat appropriate retroactively—is that I did equal parts reading articles and spending time with people actively engaged in these fuzzy spaces learning about their experience of learning and teaching. I spent an evening with fellow designers/design educators breaking down design real life versus academic real life (I wish there wasn’t an binary but I think there still might be…), talked hair styling pedagogy whilst I got a wicked fade from my stylist (what if graphic design had gone the route of hair cutting/color/styling and stayed true to its trade roots rather than jumped ship and become “academic”? So many questions about identity and where you plant your disciplinary silo!) and read lots I didn’t record because I just ran out of both time and words.
My intention for this week is: for real, for real begin landing the plane of my dissertation topic. Though I’m all about serendipity and chance encounters and staying open to new ideas…I know at this point I’ve put enough time and probing into this beast that the next step is not to jump down another rabbit hole, rather it is to set a few posts in the ground, declare some things in a more formal way, and begin building.
When I’m working on a design project there’s a key moment every time where I have to take all the inspiration I’ve gathered and all the ideas I’ve dreamed up to a blank page in front of me and begin making. I’d love to say it’s this beautiful romantic moment of creation and eventually it is but…at that single start moment it’s scary and so hard. Moving from head to heart to hand to page is uncomfortable and awkward and difficult and revealing because what comes out is both completely me and no longer me. The words or ideas or images I create are both all mine and begin to live a life of their own the moment I write them. I set them free and I hope the relationship is reciprocal.
I think I’m at that place with this whole business. I’ve thought and researched and tried and failed and learned in an iterative cycle over the past two years, which has grown me in profound ways as a researcher and as a human. Now comes the time to begin making.
I know who I am. I know what I want. And it’s scary stuff but…I also know that I am strong enough to see it through and bring it into the world.
So this week begins that process of declaration and statements—of signals and foundations—of stepping out and stepping into and seeing what might happen next.
January 22, 2016
(my research process illustrated)
January 19, 2016
This weekend I came across the work of Dr. Daniel Rubinstein, a philosopher, photographer, artist, and researcher. Rubinstein is writing, researching, and curating work on the place of the image in contemporary culture, studying how the fundamental shift in photography from film to digital can be seen as a lens through which to understand larger societal shifts from the industrial age to the technology age.
After doing some internet investigating, I found a video recorded titled “Five Untimely Meditations” recorded in July 2015 in honor of the opening of the NEW WEAPONS exhibit (a collaborative exhibit between Central Saint Martins and the BLITZ art space in Malta.)
NEW WEAPONS explores, “the proliferation of the networked image in the online environment” with particular focus on the idea that “an image can exist in many different areas simultaneously – across technological, geographical and social borders.”
In the past, photos were somewhat (relatively) scarce and were about capturing particular moments. Today with the proliferation of technology, photos are more a continuous stream that people are producing at all times and distributing widely via networks. Thus, today photos becomes less about the actual captured image and more about the time/atmosphere from which it was created as well as the ways/networks through which it is distributed.
Rubinstein advocates moving beyond the whole Plato’s cave idea where images (or things you can perceive visually) are merely surfaces and the actual substance/truth is found in its core/essence. His feeling is that the world as being constructed now is all surface and essence simultaneously and to try and divide, distill, or otherwise find binaries only degrades the experience. When we’re working in an online environment, there isn’t a distinction between the appearance and the essence because the new scheme of logic under which we’re working is one that does not abide by binaries. Surfaces beget surfaces beget surfaces and that is actually alright because within the surface itself there is depth and essence.
Regarding images produced by, distributed by, and mediated by technology, Rubinstein says: “When the surface is produced by the code, the surface is an essence.”
As a designer, these ideas deeply resonate with me as it means that every time I make an illustration or an invitation or a set of digital slides for my students the manner and choices with which I make what I’m making matters and convey a message just as much as the end piece matters and conveys a message. The surface is just as valuable as the essence because they’re fundamentally intertwined.
It’s interesting stuff to think about particularly when you insert an actor-network filter (which I think lends itself seamlessly). The talk ended with Rubinstein saying that he thinks we’re currently creating what will be the cave paintings of the digital age.
Kind of wonderful and mind-blowing, eh? Though the work is admittedly quite heady, the ideas are fascinating to think about particularly in light of how they might also speak to online arts education, networked learning, and the larger philosophical underpinnings of what is played out day to day in art/design education.
January 18, 2016
It’s Monday which means it is back to reading, reflecting, and writing. After my travels, birthday, and general back-to-work logistics hiatus, writing feels both wonderful and intimidating. All the people who say writing is a habit even more than a flash of genius and the best way to write better is to write poorly with great frequency…are correct. Writing allows me to get ideas in my head out into a visual space and in so doing begin to untangle, sort out, admire, critique and generally sense make. It’s hard at times because doing all of the above requires slowing down sufficiently to be mindful.
But now, I’ve climbed back aboard the #5papers train which means I’m back to not only writing more regularly but also reading, reflecting, and generally structuring my week so that I can be more mindful.
Today being Monday means it’s time to set the week’s intention. Last round I was all about exploring narrative inquiry as a potential methodology and design educators currently teaching hybrid/online courses as my research subjects. Though this larger idea and I only been together a short time, I’m totally in love and ready to commit and may be fantasizing about our long-term future together. As every good love story must have conflict, my supervisor still doesn’t know and I should probably clue him in sooner than later. But…that’s a conversation for another day.
My intention for this week is to engage with materials that explore the relationship between the academy and the art education world, with a particular emphasis on the fuzzy place that is training in vocations that once were considered “craft” and thus outside of formalized academic learning but for the last almost 100 years or so have moved into institutions of higher learning.
Last week I had an interesting discussion with a friend (who is a design educator) and he brought up the tension that he sees regarding identity and legitimacy for arts educators. He said he thinks that because we as a field tend to be outside so much of traditional academic structure, we in many ways are more willing to dilute our pedagogy to fit into the larger structures (to gain legitimacy) than to view our place on the fringe as a privilege for the unique vision it provides. Things like online studio pedagogy and online learning in general for art and design education can be seen not as a good, progressive, step but rather as a threat because we’ve only “just” convinced everyone that the studio needs to be on college campuses and is legit so suddenly denying the need for geographic presence or even calling for a new twist on things can threaten everything.
I think he has something there.
With these things in mind, what would it look like for my dissertation to be part of more a reconciling than anything between two very different ways of thinking? Could my dissertation be an artifact that begins to open the door for people who think very differently to come together in commonality, seeing that human connection / online methods of delivery are not binary?
So, it’s with these questions that this week begins! It will be interesting to see where the meandering takes me.
January 9, 2016
Today’s post is a nod to Martin Weller’s A Year in Books, with Pointless Charts (which in itself is a nod to Jane Rawson’s post) with a few small remixes…like a week instead of a year, articles instead of books, and no pointless charts….basically today’s post is nothing like Weller’s except in the fuzzy way that everything manages to bleed into everything else when the internet is mediated by a human brain. What is completely like Weller is that what follows is admittedly self-indulgent and most likely of little interest but as Weller says, “hey, blogging!” : )
What I read:
I wasn’t really sure I’d made a good choice with the whole #5Papers thing thus bided my time by writing some stuff about life + research under the guise of “setting the intention for the week.” Looking back…though I know posting was more of a guilt reliever than anything, I like the idea and think Mondays will be intention days.
What I read:
Caine, V., Estefan, A., & Clandinin, D. J. (2013). A return to methodological commitment: Reflections on narrative inquiry. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 57(6), 574-586.
This was a banner article for me as it deconstructed narrative inquiry in a way that revealed its depth and grounding. Narrative inquiry is about stories but like any methodology…it’s also got a whole host of other supporting elements (i.e. ontology + epistemology) which if ignored makes research shallow. I became curious about narrative inquiry because I thought hearing people’s stories would be a bit like having reality television as my research methodology. I now see that choosing to engage in narrative inquiry is not something you should enter lightly because you’re not just a passive vessel who watches—you’re a co-participant and co-constructor as the story itself weaves through and forms something larger….which you then try to untangle and understand and the whole process begins again.
What I read:
Trahar, Sheila (2009). Beyond the Story Itself: Narrative Inquiry and Autoethnography in Intercultural Research in Higher Education [41 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 10(1), Art. 30, http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0901308
This article expanded on Tuesday’s article as Trahar both summarized the high points of narrative inquiry and described her own use of it in researching international student experience of Higher Ed in the UK. She included many passages from one of her research conversations and was transparent in explaining her process of sense making. Reading this piece helped me flesh out and make sense of out many of the ideas I’d read earlier.
January 8, 2016
Dayter, D. (2014). Self-praise in microblogging. Journal of Pragmatics, 61, 91-102.
Today’s article focuses on “self-praise in micro blogging” which is basically a fancy way to say Tweeting good stuff about yourself. The author did an in depth study of the speech acts on Twitter of ten ballet students and discovered that self praise formed an important category of communication. She was intrigued by just how self-praise is enacted within a community of practice, particularly how it might be used in constructing a “dancer image” amidst the community.
Apparently there is a whole area of study called “compliment research” which grapples with, among other things, politeness across cultures, what counts as boasting, and reactions to receiving compliments. As self-praise is essentially complimenting yourself, the author compared Pomerantz’s six common ways to reconcile a compliment with how the dancer’s expressed self-praise. The goal was to see if indeed self-praise followed a similar route to compliment response.
After coding all tweets, three main categories of self-praise emerged amongst the dancers:
- Explicit self-praise without modification
- Explicit self-praise with modification
- Disclaim the face-threat
- Shift focus away from self
- Refer to hard work
- Self-praise followed by a complaint
- Self-praise framed as a third party complaint
The article concludes with the assertion that self-praise somewhat overlaps with compliment response but serves many purposes all its own including: positive identity construction, self/autobiographic narrative construction, and group membership reinforcement.
Overall it was an interesting article particularly because I am such an avid micro-blog user and I enjoy thinking about how the identity we construct in online spaces relates to the identity we construct in face-to-face spaces.
In order to take my article engagement one step further and test the categories Dayter distilled (and check my own level of self-praise via Twitter) I did a little DIY coding on my own Twitter feed. I wasn’t able to hit all the categories Dayter identified (I skew heavy on alcohol and light on complaints…hmm…maybe a correlation there?) I did hit many of them.
Study Limitation: I only went back to fall 2015, which is barely scratching the surface of my 5,000+ tweets.
Re-reading tweets outside of the moment/context/emotion in which I wrote them gives them a weird out-of-body feel. I know I wrote them, I can mostly remember the context and yet reading my own words from afar and analyzing them still feels odd. I think this act was a good one to get me thinking more about coding, speech acts, and narrative analysis. I like the reflexivity of this exercise and I think that looking through this form of self-recording, one does get a pretty true picture of who I am. There may be something to this whole narrative analysis thing…..
Lisa’s Self-Praise Analysis
Explicit self-praise without modification
Explicit self-praise with modification
Shift focus away from self
Refer to hard work
Self-praise followed by a complaint
Compliment Research Resource:
Pomerantz, Anita, 1978. Compliment responses. In: Schenkein, Jim (Ed.), Studies in the Organization of Conversational Interaction. Academic Press, New York, pp. 79–112.
January 7, 2016
Upper Quote from: Andrews, Molly; Squire, Corinne & Tambokou, Maria (Eds.) (2008). Doing narrative research. London: Sage.
Lower Quote from: Riessman, Catherine Kohler & Speedy, Jane (2007). Narrative inquiry in the psychotherapy professions: A critical review. In D. Jean Clandinin (Ed.), Handbook of narrative inquiry: Mapping a methodology (pp.426-456). Thousand Oaks, Ca.: Sage.