Presentation Title

“Cool” Examples

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Abstract or Description

Presentation given at the UCDA 2013 - Design Education Summit.


Every “cool” example shown to the students during a project introduction is not always beneficial, it takes away from the critical process based on design thinking and problem solving. 21st century students are more example-driven and research is reduced to browsing pre-existing solutions through Google and other search engines, thus making them only surface level problem solvers instead of creating the in-depth process and method driven design solutions. Once they receive their assignment, their objective is to understand the expectation of the faculty member, see the examples, do a quick Google search, and get on with the project to set the goal for a good grade. Instead of fostering creativity several design educators encourage them to choose these easy paths, and allow them to become more unsuccessful in the future. For years, several educators have practiced this formula and safe method to teach, but in reality students face difficulties once they are in the job market after graduation. In defense to this argument one also needs to consider that design educators are under tremendous pressure to engage students to perform and have measurable outcomes to prove their teaching capabilities for tenure and promotion.

We at Georgia Southern University after a thorough assessment of the present course work in graphic design and talking to our alumni about difficulties they encountered after graduation, set up a new curriculum that has been designed with a focus to meet the 21st century challenges. Instead of introducing the projects and showing previous examples we use a method of making them understand the importance of the assignment through various case studies. This helps the students to understand the design theories better by focusing them in real world situations. The case studies help them to understand how design demands testing of hypothetical/theoretical models to ensure that they actually work in the real world scenario. Implementing case studies instead of examples also helps by introducing new and unexpected results, and leads to research for new directions. This paper will present various methods that have been adopted to encounter the design education challenges and outcomes.


UCDA 2013 - Design Education Summit


Chattanooga, TN

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