A Speculative Future in Design Education Realized

What will our classrooms look like post-pandemic?

This work explores how design education has shifted dramatically during the global pandemic to reconsider classrooms structures and curriculum that are more equitable for a range of types of learners. In the presentation above, I discuss what a “hybrid” format for my class looked like during the global pandemic. In this shift, I realized that I needed to redesign the structure and format of my class, and not just the curriculum that exists in that system. 

Now, I speculate on what our classes and curriculum will look like post pandemic. What have we learned from this experience? How can we create more equitable and accessible learning spaces as we move back to face-to-face instruction?

The above presentation was prepared for DEL (Digitally Engaged Learning) Conference, September 2020. Below are some notes from this presentation.

My approach in teaching drastically shifted from a traditional face-to-face model of instruction to a hybrid format that is primarily online with an optional face-to-face component.

One primary goal for this semester was to try and create a revised synchronous learning space that functioned fluidly by connecting the digital and physical learning spaces. I imagined the fluid classroom as a sort of mixed reality learning space, where students could participate in whatever way they were able. Another primary goal was to create a revised assessment strategy, which began as moving my curriculum online and quickly evolved into completely redesigning my coursework.

The challenge of designing a hybrid course that was equitable to all my students forced me to reconsider everything—from assignments to processes of working, to the materials we build with, to the way in which we interact and share knowledge.  

As I made changes to my design courses, I realized that my initial goals and expectations for designing a hybrid course shifted into something more meaningful. I found myself speculating on a future of design education, beyond the pandemic, that attempted to incorporate more aspects of this type of equitable and accessible learning for students. I found myself inspired and excited to see this shift in teaching and learning in higher education, and eager to see what the future of design education looks like, post pandemic.

To read the full abstract (September 2020) on the DEL conference website, click here.

hybrid animated gif