This paper discusses the implications, challenges and opportunities for design
educators revealed in a case study examining the online interactions of ninety-four graphic design and visual communications students from universities and colleges in Australia and China. The Collabor8 Project (C8) was at first seen as a vehicle to examine the relationship between cultural background, cognition and media types in collaborative online design education. However data gathered through observation, questionnaire, student discussions, and the integration of specific research tasks into design briefs highlighted a complex interplay of internal and external dynamics suggesting that a disjuncture existed in many students’ understanding of what was expected of them regardless of media used to deliver the lectures and briefs in C8. Language, divergent student expectations, different levels and styles of knowledge production, and outside forces such as the Sichuan earthquake, are important areas of focus in this study exposing what might be described as multiple realities within the project. The preliminary findings suggest that successful online collaboration between Western and Confucian heritage culture (CHC) design students will most likely be born out of an approach that is representative of all cultural inputs. Continued research and intercultural cooperation will be crucial to facilitating online intercultural collaboration necessary for preparing students for work in the globalised, technological landscape of contemporary design practice.
|Keywords:||Design Education, Cross-Cultural, Collaboration, Online, China, Australia|
Lecturer and COFA Online Co-ordinator, School of Design Studies, COFA Online, The College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia
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