teaching and research evolution
The drawing construction and form exploration models and techniques that I have
developed for the novice visualizer and use in teaching have quickly raised student
confidence and paved the way for greater comprehension and accelerated abilities.
These models have reduced the struggle that students often have with drawing
systems (such as perspective) and transformed them from one-dimensional drawers
into thinkers who use drawing as a tool. Success in this area is measured by
the ability for novice students to confidently, efficiently, and consistently
develop and represent visual concepts.
of the intermediate visualizer are typically less about their
ability to express information visually.
These students are often able to represent
basic geometric forms and combinations well. However, they can often struggle
to advance their form ideas beyond basic geometric representations because
they lack a strategy for exploration and development.
This capability is significant
because as students begin to design with specific intent, they must be secure
in their abilities to create appropriate form proposals. Recognizing that
this was a limitation for many students, I developed a framework
for exploring and
creating new form possibilities titled “A Square to a Circle.” The
concept was initially introduced as a short experience in a third year product
design studio and later refined and presented as a paper. This framework
continues to evolve as a metaphoric platform for discussion of form, and
a strategy for
exploration. During the fall 2002 semester, I introduced this concept to
the Industrial Design Studio 1 (Generation of form). Tom Merriman and I (co-instructors)
planned a project that applied the concept to drawing (figure b) and desktop
making activities. The results, as is compared to previous classes, were
broader range of form possibilities, enhanced manual skills, an increased
sensitivity to drawing and making relationships, and clearer markers for
within the process.
replicated positive form construction and exploration results
in many courses, I explored the effectiveness
of my approaches to
with non-design students. Industrial Design Fundamentals (IDF) is an elective
course offered by the School of Design in the fall, which I began teaching
in 2001. Typically eighteen students representing engineering, psychology,
computer interaction, business, chemistry, and various other programs across
the university, are admitted into IDF, which simulates a studio environment.
As with all studios in design, the larger goal for each project was to
design creative solutions for given challenges. However,
to achieve this goal students
needed to learn about product design, which encompassed research, design
and development. They also had to learn the basics of visualization: drawing
desktop modeling. In surveying the class, it was not surprising to discover
that the students had little to no visual or making experiences, except
for the engineers
whose experiences were limited. Through several condensed exercises, students
developed confidence and a basic ability to communicate ideas effectively.
These experiences included the use of my drawing model and lectures on
constructing and using imagery and desktop modeling. As
the course progressed, and the
complexity of information increased, students were able to respond reasonably
representations of their thinking, evident through their artifacts. The
final project for the course introduced “real” consumers
who were senior citizens from a local retirement community.
Using the senior participants as
a valuable resource, each student was responsible for conducting research,
designing concepts, developing features & details,
and proposing a new concept for a radio-alarm clock. As
part of this process, they were required to use
imaging, and modeling throughout their process to think and develop their
ideas. These ideas were presented directly to the seniors and staff in
preliminary and final presentations. In each case student
presentations were understood
Additionally because the students were able to communicate their intentions
clearly, they received insightful suggestions for concept improvements.
The success of visualization in this course has provided the opportunity
for increased product development content and fuller learning experiences.
offers confirmation of the effectiveness of my approach and tools with
a diverse interdisciplinary audience outside of design. These students
with a basic knowledge that allows them to see problems differently, explore
opportunities, and seek broader solutions. They also have the potential
to expand an understanding of design in their respective disciplines, thereby
a stronger voice and presence. Although not planned, this course has evolved
as a fitting pilot for the development of one similar in support of the
masters program, “New Product Development” in Mechanical Engineering,
which I will begin instructing in the fall of 2004. This opportunity strengthens
collaboration between the School of Design and Mechanical Engineering and
provides me the chance to further my research.