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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Design

Undergraduate Course: Product Design: Discourse (DESI10145)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will provide a context for students to frame their final year projects into wider social, technical and/or material issues that underpin current Product Design discourses.
Course description In this course, students will exercise autonomy and critical thinking in carrying out research in order to frame a context for their final year project. The research theme will be defined through an early proposal submitted before the start of Semester 1. Students will exercise critical thinking in selecting and analysing relevant sources in a wide range of media, from academic literature to popular news and cultural products. They will exercise autonomy in planning research and choosing appropriate methods to involve participants and/or collaborators, carrying out quantitative and/or qualitative studies in an ethical way. The focus will be on gaining insights and understanding on the theme, as all as related subjects. This exploration will provide the basis for the definition of their final year projects, which will follow a personal direction informed by contemporary themes in Product Design. It will feed into and be motivated by practical explorations developed in the course Product Design: Prototyping. The course will be underpinned by tutorials provided by members of staff with expertise that align with students interests.

This course will:
1. Provide a significant context for individual enquiry and self-directed study that will allow students to explore a specific field of research and practice, and articulate a personal perspective.
2. Provide a context for research with participants and exploration of themes to consolidate students' own design perspective
3. Consolidate knowledge in approaching abstract and complex issues through design
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  14
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 3, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 15, Formative Assessment Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Formative Assessment of periodical blog posts written throughout the semester (min 6) that document research methods and progression throughout the semester. Each blog post should contain at least: 800 words, 6 images (of references, inspiration, observation, sketches, etc), and external references (all of them with sources and links). Each post should explore:

- What was investigated and why.

- What were the findings and relevance to the overall investigation

- The student's personal perspective, the relevance to people and society and the ethical considerations of the research.

Summative Assignment of a written and illustrated digital documentation presenting the student's research and personal perspective towards a particular issue, as well as the rationale behind a design element that incorporates this perspective. The rational should provide a clear underlying narrative followed throughout the design process (15 - 25 pages).

The Summative Assignment will be assessed against the 3 Learning Outcomes equally and will contribute to 100% of the total mark.
Feedback Formative feedback will be provided in person through 1:1 tutorial meetings and upon review of blog posts.

Summative feedback will be provided in written form based on the assessment of the submitted blog posts and the submitted digital documentation.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Independently carry out research and manage engagement with collaborators and/or research with participants in a purposeful and ethical
  2. Analyse research material in order to support and frame an independent project and personal position within current debates in the forefront of product design
  3. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of critical issues in design, through the translation of research material into designed artefacts, interventions or systems
Reading List
Auger, J. (2013). Speculative design: crafting the speculation. Digital Creativity, 24(1), 11-35.

Dourish, P. (2004). Where the action is: the foundations of embodied interaction. MIT press.

Manzini, E. (2015). Design, when everybody designs: An introduction to design for social innovation. MIT press.

Schön, D. A. (2017). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. Routledge.
Thackara, J. (2006). In the bubble: designing in a complex world. MIT press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will develop key skills in both acquiring and evaluating knowledge, in using design to produce creative responses to complex issues, and in working both independently and with others.

The in-depth analysis of student's chosen topic (LO1) will help demonstrate understanding of at least one specialism informed by issues at the forefront of the discipline. The chosen methodology will support exploration of established techniques of enquiry and research methods. By attempting to position themselves within different trends and debates in product design (LO2), students will demonstrate understanding of theories, concepts and principles of the field. The definition of their independent project (LO3) will demonstrate knowledge that integrates features, boundaries, terminology and conventions in the field.

The independent analysis of research material (LO1) will involve critical review of knowledge, skills, and practices. The definition a personal perspective (LO2), and the translation of research material into products (LO3) will involve identification, definition, and analysis of complex issues, offering insights with a degree of professionalism. This translation will also involve judgement based on information from multiple sources interpretations and solutions to problems and issues.

Students will independently carry out research and manage engagement with collaborators and/or research participants in an ethical way (LO1), taking responsibilities and limitations into account. They are expected to recognise the limits of these codes and seek guidance where appropriate, and exercise autonomy in the definition of their projects (LO2).

KeywordsProduct Design
Course organiserMr Richard Thompson
Course secretaryMiss Barbara Bianchi
Tel: (0131 6)51 5736
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