Some academic work on Distance Design Education

There isn’t much research into distance design education and what does exist tends to be informal and/or case study based. This is slowly changing as both design and education research has matured and developed over the past few decades.

The excerpts in this post are draft versions of work in progress exploring Virtual Design Studios and Distance Design Education. They are published here to support design education colleagues who might have to consider moving to distance or online teaching.

These are academic pieces of work so they focus more on the theory and research rather than the practical steps a teacher might need. It is still work in progress so there may be things to complete and make better (any tips here will get a nod in the final version…).

Section 3.6 Distance design education

This first excerpt focuses mainly on the history of design education at the OU and tries to unpick some of the main ideas, theories and practices that we still make use of in our online and distance materials, including:

  • Design methods and chunking
  • Who designers are
  • Student-centred education
  • Role of the teacher / tutor
  • Assessment

Section 4.1 Virtual Design Studio Use (Part 1)

This next section turns to Virtual Design Studio (VDS) use and reviews its history and its interaction with general design education practice and theories

Section 4.2 Virtual Design Studio Use (Part 2)

The final section considers contemporary trends and ideas in virtual studio use, focusing on the most important (and interesting) directions both practice and research are taking in design education, particularly in:

  • Social learning
  • What constitutes a ‘studio’
  • The studio as a conception

As always, any comments, additions or clarifications are more than welcome to any of the above.

Published by Derek Jones

Derek Jones is a Senior Lecturer in Design at The Open University (UK), part of the OU Design Group, and the Convenor of the DRS Pedagogy SIG. His main research interests are: the pedagogy of design and creativity, embodied cognition in physical and virtual environments, and theories of design knowledge.

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