Skip to content

Posts from the ‘new design pedagogy’ Category

being brave. being open. 67 days.

June 4, 2015

lisa hammershaimb

Back in late winter, I heard about an event that was happening in far distant August called Digital Pedagogy Lab. From what I gathered it was going to be a summer camp of sorts where participants would spend days swimming in critical digital pedagogy, doing networked learning arts and crafts, and sitting around a campfire telling stories about digital identities. In addition, it would be held together loosely by counselors who—from my perspective as a still very young academic—are pretty much the coolest kids in the lunchroom.

Camp DPL sounded like an amazing opportunity and so on a brave moment, I applied for one of the fellowships feeling equal parts giddy at the potential of being accepted and realistic that my minuscule amount of academic experience would most likely lead to a “We regret to inform you…” tiny envelope.

Read more

Nanowrimo: Day 2

November 3, 2014

lisa hammershaimb

Have a Mentor. Be a Mentor. Party.

One of the pivotal elements of my 803 course (and coincidentally one of the most fragmented from the previously mentioned 803 craziness that set us all on less than ideal footing at the beginning of the term) is the four to six week long teaching “internship” or “practicum” that has been built into the course. The idea with this element is that because this course is called “Teaching and Learning in Online Education” it is only natural that students who are taking the course should dip their toes into the teaching element of the equation, gaining practical experience to balance out the heavy doses of theory also being learned. Ideally the students in the course are skills assessed at some point over the summer, matched with a practicing instructor (also over the summer), and come to fall term ready to go in their practicum, bulking up whatever skills they may feel a bit low on. The student learns, the practicing instructor gets a little help….everyone wins.

As I’ve written about previously, because of a combination of lots of system level, climate level, and just plain bad luck and timing,  none of that happened with our cohort. Consequently we’re all only now (about halfway through the course) being placed in practicum relations or, as in my case, making a space and designing a study for ourselves within the structures that we are already located.

In my case, I created a four week initiative within our existing extracurricular Design Club called the “Mentor Challenge.” Initially I was super curious about and hoped to use this four week span to intentionally study how the feedback/critique that happens peer to peer differs from the feedback/critique that happens from instructor to peer. I’m still super curious but given that for this project I need to get in and out in a relatively quick manner (and I have no idea how I’d actually go about evaluating the peer to peer versus instructor to peer study) I decided to table that idea for another trial later down the road and focus instead on the much espoused but still (I would argue) much murky issue of the impact of mentor relationships in online learning programs. My particular focus for this study is on how to create, engage, and sustain mentor relationships in the relatively impersonal online learning landscape.

Read more

time for some more writing…

March 23, 2014

lisa hammershaimb

So…this conference is happening in September and I thought that I was through with writing conference proposals until I actually have rooted into my research and dissertation topic a bit more because I am way more talk than action at this point and way more elegant phrases than hard core research.

But then I read the third theme (which you can see below) they were seeking papers on…and yeah, it’s pretty much got my name and my research written all over it. Plus, I want to see who else might be part of this merry misfit band of new pedagogical model-enthusiasts might be. Portland…Beer….September+fall colors….and a boatload of design educator goodness….hmmm….Time to fire up the proposal crafting machine!

Graphic design educators are increasingly developing new pedagogical models that are distinct from traditional classroom- and studio-based models: low-residency programs, student centered pedagogy, MOOCs, and on-line learning, to name a few. These emerging teaching models pose particular challenges for design education while presenting unique and rewarding opportunities. This panel will take a close critical look at new pedagogical models to help design educators learn from, and question assumptions about, both conventional and unconventional models.
This panel seeks abstracts that:
• Articulate educational advantages and disadvantages of new pedagogical models.
• Address how new pedagogical models affect the development of curriculum and assessment.
• Examine and present tools, techniques, and technologies to maximize the potential for new pedagogical models.
• Propose how conventional graphic design programs can learn from experiments in new pedagogical models.

DAY 1: looking for answers…

January 27, 2014

lisa hammershaimb

So today I discovered that there are people out there researching studio learning methods and studio practices and even the pedagogy of learning in community and how awesome it is and how maybe it could even work with disciplines other than traditional fine/applied arts. I am stoked to read everything I can get into my little iPad screen because it makes me feel like there is actual merit to my own ideas…I’m not reinventing the wheel, just showing how it might roll along in another context or situation. I also discovered this great thing called “tacit knowledge.” Seriously…we’re all tacit knowledge experts if you know where to look and how to ask the right questions to reveal it. So yeah…I think today was filled with a couple larger positive turns and I think in the not too distant future I’m going to take the very scary step of sharing these ideas in an email and see how they distill out. Ironic right that I have no fears about sharing them on the internet because it feels so wonderfully cavernous and anonymous but sending an email feels like I’m rooting down…feels like I’m staking a claim and saying that this matters to me. And even more crazy…it does.

What follows is the wet paint…digital, yet still very open to fingerprints, smears, smudges, mixing, etc.

My area of research interest:
1. Tacit knowledge transfer in an online studio space

  • How does it work?
  • What is the experience like?
  • What channels does it utilize?

2. Learning Communities when studio cultures relocate to online environments or how learning occurs in horizontal communities rather than vertical instructor-oriented hierarchy

Why is this area important from a big perspective?
I’ve read a couple articles recently that have studied the positive effects of studio culture in arts-based college programs. Because studios are safe places with high levels of reflection, feedback, and group learning through critiques it is thought that they are particularly effective at helping designers “not just learn about” but also “learn to be”. The sharing of ideas produces self confidence and modeling of instructors engaging in process helps students get an insider view of industry tacit knowledge.

But how does tacit knowledge regarding design develop when the studio moves from a physical to online space? How do faculty-student interactions produce design knowledge and designer self efficacy when the studio space moves from being a shared physical location, hosted by an instructor, to an online interface ultimately mediated by a computer interface? Does the studio experience remain fundamental to the educational experience if there is no physical studio space?

Many schools are moving part or all of their delivery online in order to reach a broader base of students or cut down on their physical infrastructure needs and traditionally studio focused programs are also beginning to transition. This area of research is vital if online delivery programs are going to keep up high level of quality and produce not only students with functional program+software skills, but also who are confident as professionals.
Read more

the underlying philosophy

November 10, 2012

lisa hammershaimb

“The most important thing about any good doctoral program is that it will address the underlying philosophy of the discipline. That is an important difference between an MFA and a PhD. ”
Dr Kate Lamere

I received the following quote in an email late last month from Dr Kate Lamere. I got connected to her in a rather roundabout way. While pouring over an article written by my design education hero, Meredith Davis, Dr Lamere commented extensively on the benefits of and need for more Graphic Design PhD programs and in the states and that the profession as a whole have “an empirically supported understanding of its knowledge to move the profession forward.” She was a recent grad of the University of Minnesota’s Design PhD program (what?? PhD in MN? I was a bit shocked in a good way and immediately checked out their website to see if maybe it was yet another programming option for me…not so sure in the end, but I’m glad I “met” Kate through the process) and had many great things to say about design PhDs.

In our email discourse I shared some of my ideas about doing a PhD in something to connect design/distance education, undergraduate theory and program design, etc. She asked me some very good questions about my overall desired outcome from taking part in a higher education program. She did, rightly, point out that I already had one terminal degree so if I were to embark on another I should have a pretty good focus and purpose because, theoretically, I already “have arrived” in the design world.

Basically, an MFA is a terminal degree in studio practice and shows that you have explored the practical application of your chosen creative discipline. A PhD is about digging into the underlying philosophy of a discipline. You ask, probe, explore and in the end you produce a dissertation that adds to the body of knowledge about the subject in which you’ve now gained mastery.

Communicating with her made me realize that I actually don’t want to do a PhD in design itself because ultimately I don’t want to add more to the body of empirical knowledge about graphic design (though I do want to learn lots about said empirical body of knowledge). Instead, I want to add more to the body of empirical knowledge about teaching graphic design in a distance education setting. I want to empower programs to do it better and I want students emerging from these programs to be better prepared no matter what their previous background may be. So…good stuff to learn and good stuff to sort of boil out in my quest to find just what my path might be. Distance education. Graphic design. Bringing creative knowledge to those who otherwise could never learn in a traditional school setting…sounds like a good adventure to me.

quality matters.

November 1, 2012

lisa hammershaimb

I got this book, Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Distance and e-Learning: Models, policies, and research, last week and have just browsed it a bit but am totally looking forward to sitting down and marking it all up as I learn more about how distance ed can be the best possible experience for all its students.

The main thrust of this book seems to be about just what quality assurance is in a distance learning environment and how it can best be achieved. There are case studies from educators working all around the world and the book itself is edited by Insung Jung, an educator working at the International Christian University in Tokyo and Colin Latchem, a distance education consultant with over 30 years of experience, currently living in Australia. I love that distance education really does embrace the world as its student body and this book is the perfect reflection of that.

There’s also a fair amount on accreditation and distance learning, addressing the always present debate as to if distance education merits its own accreditation methods or can be judged in the same scheme as a ground school. The accreditation issue is something that definitely interests me because I know schools (at least here in the States) seem to live and die by their accreditation status.

I, oddly enough, never thought I’d say I can’t wait to brew up an Americano, light a candle, and spend some significant time reading about quality assurance, but I hope in the very near future I can do just that!


October 25, 2012

lisa hammershaimb

This morning I read a very very interesting article posted through a twitter link by Dr. John Maeda, current President of RISD and all-around amazing thinker + leader (who also happens to be a computer scientist, an AIGA medal recipient, and an author on a best selling book called Laws of Simplicity …oh, and he’s under 50 and has been named, by Esquire magazine, one of the 21 most important people in the 21st century).

The article, by the Impatient Futurist in Discover magazine, was a great exploration into how teachers, particularly in higher ed, can be more effective at engaging and promoting retention amongst their students. The general consensus is that students just aren’t staying engaged with the traditional lecture format and there needs to be another way.

The new way to success (not to spoil the article…everyone who is in the business of passing on knowledge to students in a classroom setting should definitely read it) involves teaching new ideas and skills and then immediately putting those skills to use through small quizzes, practical process tasks, etc. By engaging students to process what they’ve just heard students more effectively retain the information because they become active participants in the learning process. Often technology plays a heavy role in the process and students can interact with one another and the instructor via digital means.

Hmmm….constant small quizzes, practical process tasks, interacting with an instructor and other students via digital means…that sounds oddly familiar. : )

Perhaps if distance ed can do these things well, this is something it could teach ground schools?

Read the complete article here.


designers of the future…

October 23, 2012

lisa hammershaimb

Meredith Davis is my new design education hero. She’s smart, and thoughtful and she cares about the future of the profession in a forward-thinking, inspirational way. She is a total visionary. And it seems like she has published, presented, and drawn up the framework for pretty much every major design education initiative that has happened in the past several decades. Designers of 2020 and beyond….thank Meredith Davis first off that your programs were so amazing and enabled you to be the leaders making policy and designing a new cultural lifestyle that we, as mere early twenty-first century dwellers, can’t even imagine .

I first became familiar with Meredith Davis while I listening to a recorded presentation Davis and Ric Grefe (the current executive director of AIGA National) hosted on Undergraduate Educational Outcomes and Competencies in Communication Design. The presentation was basically a discussion on where the profession is headed and how we as educators can empower our next cohorts of students to be better prepared to enter and be a positive influence in the communities they are a part of once they graduate. Design has experienced some pretty fundamental shifts in its short life and we’re in the midst of yet another shift as we move from designers who are primarily concerned with the creation of artifacts to designers who are primarily concerned with the creation of systems.

While I completely resonated with everything that was discussed (and finished the session with warm fuzzy feelings that I am indeed in the best field every because the potential for design to leverage positive change is pretty much unlimited) I couldn’t help also leave the session with a bit of a sinking feeling about my band of distance ed students. Many of my students (and indeed students in distance education settings worldwide) come to school because they want to learn the trade of making practical artifacts because having that skill will allow them to move out of a somewhat grim living situation. Is this new shift in educational practice going to further alienate my distance ed students from their on-ground peers? How can distance ed implement these new theories if the majority of distance ed students are more just looking to learn a trade? Will the future of design contain some sort of split in those who design artifacts and those who design and implement the artifacts into a larger system/campaign?

It’s an interesting time for sure because it does feel like there’s a lot brewing and change occurs so rapidly. But I suppose that if indeed design education is at the early stages of a pretty significant shift in theory, who better better than design educators to wrestle with how the shift will impact not just ground schools but also distance education learning?

You can view the recording in its entirety here.

provocative thoughts on change from Jon Kolko

October 9, 2012

lisa hammershaimb

(while doing some browsing on I came across this article written by Jon Kolko (founder of Austin Center for Design) as a process/content overview of the 2010 AIGA Design Educator’s Conference: New Contexts/New Practices. Granted, it’s almost three years old so it’s no longer quite so “new” but Kolko makes some very interesting observations and definitely has some strong thoughts about the majority of design curriculum’s current deep love of Bauhaus teaching method. I’m still mulling over whether I’m pro Bauhaus or not (and in all truth am still brushing up on my own design education history) but I do think Kolko makes some super relevant points about how design is changing and I can look back at my MFA education and see these shifts loud and clear.) View full article here.

The Cultural Background: Moving Beyond Artifacts

For most of the field’s history, educational programs in graphic design have taught students how to create artifacts—how to develop printed posters, brand elements, pamphlets, postcards and signage. This work involves a number of core competencies, including but certainly not limited to color theory, two-dimensional design, three-dimensional design, typography, composition, printing and prepress, packaging, digital prepress, logo and mark creation. But the world has changed, and professionals rarely focus exclusively on printed material. In the last 20 years, the overall landscape of design has shifted:

  1. From singleartifact systems to designlanguage systems, focusing on a unified visual and semantic message across multiple printed pieces
  2. From one-way communicative artifacts, such as brochures, to interactive artifacts, such as software
  3. From designed artifacts to design thinking, where the focus of the design process is applied in the context of large-scale business, organizational or cultural problems
  4. From commercial goods toward service, emphasizing time-based, human and more experiential qualities of designed offerings
%d bloggers like this: