Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Design

Postgraduate Course: Prototyping and design practice: innovation through boundary objects and intermediary devices (DESI11097)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis Semester 2 course will introduce you to techniques and methods of iterative prototyping, often used in the process of designing innovative products and service solutions. The course will encourage you to develop a deeper understanding of the dual roles objects and artefacts play as boundary objects and intermediary devices when employed as models and prototypes during practices focussing on people-centred design.
Course description Prototyping and making are essential methods in the design process, particularly those designers engaged in developing new products and services. Learning to prototype quickly and effectively is an important skill which you will develop in this course. Equally important is understanding how to assess your own work and whether it successfully addresses established criteria leading to preferential directions for design futures.

A product design methodology focussed on prototyping and making employs two distinct perpectives: generation and iteration. Generation follows an apriori schema or set of criteria whereby multiple responses or interpretations are generated; relational assessment of outputs against criteria are done following generation of various alternative proposals. Iteration follows incremental changes to precedent artefacts, where constant testing against established criteria, slowly and incrementally, allows for the reduction in error and increase of success over successive courses of action.

The course examines the relationship of these two types of prototypical development in tandem, investigating the nature of generation and iteration through understanding prototypes as "boundary objects" (Star & Griesemer) and "intermediary objects" (Vinck & Boujut). This understanding provides insight into ways that artefacts allow for the exchange of knowledge across worlds of participants (crossing boundaries) as well as allowing for the propagation of artefact knowledge across time (acting as intermediary steps over project trajectories).

Students will examine this theoretical underpinning through extensive practical exercises which:
- requires the generation of multiple prototypes constructed around a personally led theme
- makes explicit a set of criteria for determining which artefacts generated respond and best address the challenges associated with the theme
- requires further iterative development of a selection of generated prototypes leading to the "best fit" possible to the design criteria previously established
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. EXPLORE: Demonstrate independent initiative, autonomy and criticality in the generative development of innovative ideas in prototypical form
  2. DEVELOP: Evidence your ability to reflect and develop through iterative and incremental improvements through personal and project work
  3. SYNTHESISE: Apply and communicate established personal criteria for assessment and evaluation leading to the cyclical production of improved realised prototypical works
Reading List
Valentine, L. (2013) (Ed) Prototype: design and craft in the 21st Century. London, New Delhi, New York, Sydney: Bloomsbury
Star, S. L., & Griesemer, J. R. (1989). Institutional Ecology, 'Translations' and Boundary Objects: Amateurs and Professionals in Berkeley's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, 1907-39. Social Studies of Science, 19(3), 387-420.
Star, S. L., Gasser, L., & Huhns, M. N. (1989). The Structure of Ill-Structured Solutions: Boundary Objects and Heterogenous Distributed Problem Solving Distributed artificial
intelligence, volume II (pp. 37-54). London: Pitman.
Vinck, D., & Jeantet, A. (1995). Mediating and commissioning objects in the sociotechnical process of product design: A conceptual approach. Management and new technology: Design, networks and strategies, 2, 111-129.
Boujut, J. F., & Blanco, E. (2003). Intermediary objects as a means to foster co-operation in engineering design. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), 12(2), 205-219.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Have a personal vision and goals and be able to work towards these in a sustainable way
Be able to exercise critical judgment in creating new understanding
Be able to identify, define and analyse problems and identify or create processes to solve them
Seek and value open feedback to inform genuine self-awareness
Be able to use collaboration and debate effectively to test, modify and strengthen their own views
Understand social, cultural, global and environmental responsibilities and issues
Keywordsdesign methods,design process,prototyping,science and technology studies,people centred design
Course organiserDr Arno Verhoeven
Tel: (0131 6)51 5808
Course secretaryDr Eadaoin Lynch
Tel: (0131 6)51 5735
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information