Design with Digital Media: A Skills Development Framework Model

By Ron Keller.

Published by The Design Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The object of this paper is to propose a skill development framework for the assessment and the advancement of Tertiary Design Students’ skills in the practice of Design with Digital Media. The rationale for the proposal revolves around two assumptions. The first assumption recognizes that design with digital media student cohorts are increasingly defined by their cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary profiles and that this demands an additional scale and latitude in assessment, evaluation and skills development strategies. The second assumption suggests that the use of a flexible and customisable set of frameworks could support existing assessment and evaluation tools by substantiating the delivery of individual and targeted feedback to learners whose array of skills and cultural points of references are indeed diverse. The model of such a framework and a scenario for its application, in particular for diagnostic and summative assessments, is introduced and proposed for discussion in this paper. The proposed model, referred to as a Skills Development Framework, presents itself as a triptych of sub-frames; each of the three sub-frames ponders the ‘Level of Autonomy’ for a distinct ‘Facet of Practice’ in the realm of design with digital media:

• Reflective Practice and Creative Process
• Computer Literacy and Interaction with Technology
• Purposeful Practice and Communication Objectives

The main objective of this Skills Development Framework is first and foremost to verbalise and contextualize, from a learner-centered perspective, the incremental attainment of discipline specific targets based on a subject-centered curriculum. Its functional objective is to provide instructors with the latitude of an incremental ladder for the assessment and diagnosis of student skill levels and the subsequent delivery of consistent and constructive feedback. Finally, the informal objective of this Skills Development Framework is to acknowledge cultural and disciplinary differences by focusing on levels of student autonomy and different facets of practice in the realm of design with digital media.

Keywords: Design, Digital Media, Tertiary, Cross-cultural, Cross-disciplinary, Assessment, Evaluation, Diagnostic, Development

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp.477-486. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 802.397KB).

Ron Keller

Part-Time Lecturer/Tutor - Design with Digital Media, School of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban Design, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

After obtaining an undergraduate degree in Business Administration in 1989, I was hired by multinational company Philip Morris International based in Lausanne Switzerland where I spent 5 years working in sales, promotion and marketing for the domestic market. When in 1994 the ArtCentre College of Design Europe accepted my application I resigned from my position as Posm & Marketing Coordinator to enrol in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program. In 1996, I transferred to the Los Angeles campus of the ArtCentre College of Design in Pasadena and in 1998 I graduated with a Bachelor Degree of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and Packaging. After a few years of freelance work and participation in various visual arts projects - I moved from Los Angeles to Copenhagen and eventually back to Lausanne, Switzerland whilst always working in the realm of Visual Arts. In 2005, a growing interest in Digital Media prompted a move to Adelaide, South Australia, where I renewed old family ties and studied for a Master Degree in Design Studies - Digital Media at the University of Adelaide. Graduating in 2006 he then worked as a freelance designer for the School of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban Design and the School of Computer Science - also enjoying regular casual stints as a demonstrator, tutor and lecturer in Digital Media for the former. Continuous exposure to an academic environment both as a Student and a Lecturer gave me some insight into the difficulties of teaching design to a cohort with diverse cultural and disciplinary backgrounds. To consolidate my qualifications as a University teacher I enrolled in a Grad. Cert. of Higher Education course where I came to study Curriculum Design, Assessment and Evaluation techniques and eventually develop some ideas of my own by adapting a model of the Research Skill Development Framework (Willison and O'Regan - 2006) for a Masters Course in Digital Media.

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