A Thick Industrial Design Studio Curriculum

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Aytaç, Aysun
Gencol, Hakan
Irkdas, Derya
Velasco, Alex
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This paper describes an industrial design studio course based in a private university in Izmir, Turkey where second year industrial design students, for the first time, engage in a studio project. The design studio course emphasises three distinct areas of competence in designing that are the focus of the curriculum. They are; design process: the intellectual act of solving a design problem; design concept: the imagination and sensibility to conceive of appropriate design ideas; and presentation: the ability to clearly and evocatively communicate design concepts. The studio is 'thick' with materials, tasks and activities that are intentionally sequenced to optimise learning in a process that is known as educational 'scaffolding.' The idea of a process--a patient journey toward it's destination, is implicit in the studio that is full of opportunities for reflection-in-action. A significant feature is the importance placed on drawing and model making. An exemplary design process should show evidence of 'breadth'--meaning a wide search for solutions where a range of alternatives explored throughout; followed by an incremental refinement of the chosen solution where elements of the final design concept are developed thoroughly and in detail--called 'depth.' Learning to design is predicated on an engagement in and manipulation of the elements of the design problem. Evidence of that learning will be found by examining the physical materials and results of the design process. The assessment criteria are published with the brief at the outset of design project and outcomes are spelt out at the end. Students are remind throughout project of the criteria, which is to say they are reminded of pedagogical aims of the studio. Assessment criteria are detailed and the advantages of summative assessment are described.
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