Liveblogging Robin's first "Design, Cognition, and Learning" class of the semester, where she is asking us what we think of when we think about "design." We start out pretty tame: complexity, iteration, creativity. More words pop out: aesthetic, perspective, conflict, change. Videogames (a wave of laughter at this one).

We break into pairs and tell each other stories about a design experience we had; what lessons did we learn from that particular experience? Francesca and I talk about the go-cart she built when she was 9, and the Craft of Electronics course design adventure from this summer. Our list:

  • how hard it is to kill sacred cows even if you know they hurt progress towards your goal
  • the impact of not having a dedicated design space
  • how little time professors usually have for course design
  • discovery of the iterative nature of design
  • the effect of unlimited supplies (living next to a workshop/warehouse)
  • emergent nature of the design process - coming up with a direction as you go and that aspect of creativity (instead of having a set design in the beginning)
  • how helpful minimal but useful guidance can be (both aspects are important)

The class discussion spins outwards from there, but I'll segue into another topic here: ADHD brain pre-emptiveness. I now know the due dates of our major projects for the term. What if I outline, step-by-step, the things I should do for each assignment during the weeks I've got to do it, taking into account things like conferences and quals? That way, I know that each week I need to do my weekly readings and reflections, and maybe I'll... actually do them.

There are 3 projects in the class, and I'm already thinking forward to what I'm going to do with them. The first is the "Design As X" project, where we're supposed to pick a perspective on design (human-centered, sustainable, participatory, etc) and do a paper and a poster on it. Off the top of my head, I'm interested in collaboration, especially participatory stuff that dives off the deep end -- poststructuralist, boundary-blurring things that are about inclusion, not about super-structured, set-roster teams. I'll need to talk with Robin about where I can go with that; there's both too much and too little to read, but I think I want to go into Patti Lather's stuff for ths if I can, somehow.

Master Plan for Design As X - 6 weeks (the first one is this week)

  1. look at Dr. Lather's biblio, write summary suggestion & ask Robin for ideas
  2. finalize topic, pick core reading (1-2), read it and take notes
  3. finish reading and taking notes on core reading; create paper outline
  4. pull notes into paper outline; create poster outline
  5. polish paper (think about Framework dataset)
  6. polish poster (choose final Framework dataset)

Next is the "design learning pattern" project, a structured literature review where we are handed an overview paper, pick one of the ideas it discusses, and fan out into its citations. I can do that, even if I don't know what the design learning patterns are. Then there's also a small research project where we need to analyze data using a design framework of our choosing. I think, briefly, of using this as a good excuse for a Berea trip, because I'd love to see Matt and CraftOE again, and then I realize this assignment will be running during the time I'm doing my readiness assessment (ENE's equivalent of quals) and any ambition flies out the window.

Master Plan for Learning pattern lit review - 2 weeks

  1. pick pattern and readings (2 citations from paper); read and take notes; create paper outline
  2. pull notes into paper outline; polish paper (choose Framework framework, get readings)

Frameworks - 3 weeks (warning: SIMULTANEOUS WITH QUALS! Which is why I've tried to pull it into the earlier weeks as well.)

  1. read and take notes on framework readings; design data analysis codeset
  2. analyze data, write up a summary of themes & outline final deliverable format
  3. pull information into outline; create final deliverable

Actually, that all sounds pretty good to me.