Making Connections between Teaching Practice and Learning Experience in First Year Design Education

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At the College of Fine Arts (COFA), School of Design Studies we offer a four year, integrated, Bachelor of Design, where design is the discipline, not the individual studio practices. One of the challenges in designing the First Year Design Studio Curriculum is that it is necessary to prepare students for six possible studios in years 2 and 3, and they are: Applied/Object, Environments/Spatial, Graphics/Media, Ceramics, Jewellery and Textiles. The first year also includes a number of contextual courses, Computing 1 & 2, Design History and Interactive Systems. How is it possible to incorporate into 2X14 week sessions all that is required? The first year of the Bachelor of Design, integrates theory, conceptual development and studio practice. As first year is the time to establish independent and critical ways of thinking, an integrated approach in the First Year is constructed to introduce an integrated approach. The current structure has been in place since Session 1 2005. This structure introduces students to a mix of experiences and diverse values: - A diverse range of skills - a diverse knowledge base - Global thinking patterns - Effective problem solving skills and - Learning transfer, where connections are made During the continual development of first year studios the aim has always been to develop ways to teach critical and independent thinking skills, a design process and the practical studio skills needed to achieve innovative design outcomes. Three key questions arise within an integrated design program are: 1. What does integration mean in design? 2. What does integration mean in a First Year design education? 3. How does integration translate in the upper years of a program when studio courses are specialised?
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Longbottom, Carol
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