Roger Bateman, Claire Craig, Eve Stirling & Glyn Hawley
Parallel session 2, Short paper 2.9
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Social design is the use of the design process to bring about social change. In this session, staff and students share their experiences of participating in a pioneering interdisciplinary approach to social design at Sheffield Hallam University. Key learning will be highlighted including: how can learning and teaching practices be socially situated, what makes a holistic learning and teaching experience and what happens when learning and teaching moves beyond the classroom to bring transformation to real world issues.
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Social design highlights design-based practices towards collective and social ends rather than predominantly commercial or consumer-orientated objectives. This session describes the key learning that arose from the implementation of a pioneering approach to the teaching of social design practice in the MA Design Programme (Graphics, Product, Interiors, Jewellery & Metalwork, Packaging, Illustration & Fashion) at Sheffield Hallam University. Staff reflections on the process of crafting the learning experience will be situated alongside the student voice of how it felt to participate in the module and to work alongside people in real-world scenarios.
Taking the conference themes of valuing informal learning spaces and designing learning experiences holistically the session particularly highlights the value of situating learning beyond the classroom in real-world contexts. Holism here relates to the recognition that learning is socially situated, that it draws on the individual strengths and resources the student brings and that by involving practitioners from different specialisms learning has the potential to bring about real-world transformation and change beyond the boundaries of the subject discipline.
Much previous research into the area of student transitions has mainly focussed on the transition from high school to university (Palmer, O’Kane, & Owens, 2009). However it may be that the difficulties experienced by those transitioning into postgraduate study are much greater as new difficulties come into play. For example, for those who have not been to university before, or those who also have a full-time job. The current research wanted to explore student perceptions about the transition into postgraduate study. In particular, perceptions with regards to difficulties encountered and suggestions for improvements to aid this transition.
After attaining questionnaire data surrounding student experience, it became apparent that student transition experience was a key area that required attention, especially with regards to: receiving support, commitments outside of university, and knowing what they needed to do in order to succeed on the course. In order to explore these key areas of concern two focus groups session were conducted with students from some of the courses that completed the initial survey. Focus groups were conducted at the university and lasted approximately 40 minutes. Within these focus groups the discussion was prompted into the key areas of concern identified in the survey.
Participants were collected via opportunistic sampling in lectures. The first focus group contained 4, more mature, participants and the second contained 5 younger participants. Each focus group was recorded and then transcribed. Analysis will consist of firstly, identifying key themes in the discussions. Secondly key areas of concern will be highlighted to focus on things that aren’t quite working in the university. Lastly things that work well and improvements suggested by students will be highlighted. Hopefully the findings will have important implications for improving future student experience in experiencing the transition into postgraduate study.
Link: Presentation and blog
B2 – (EX42 and EX36) 11.50