How would you help the next generation of Design Informatics students avoid the mistakes you made? Every time a decision is made to pursue one course of action, other routes are closed off. The goal is to lead a group of fresh thinkers to see why you made particular project design decisions, and to help them map out a different service or product that could be built from the same components.
This course extends students' engagement with real examples in the emerging field of Design Informatics. A key component of the course is the detailed evaluation and rationale behind several current research projects that highlight the limitations of the state of the art, or novel use of the latest theories and technologies. The primary learning outcome is the development of specialist reflective and leadership skills that can then be exploited in future industrial application or academic research into Design Informatics.
The senior students following this course as part of a two-year masters work with junior students (normally, who are enrolled in CSDI1) in groups of 6-7, under the direction of the senior student, with a member of academic staff as mentor.
For the year 16/17, the two core themes and main case studies are:
An underlying theme is that both technology and humans can break, fail, or behave in unexpected ways. Good designers must therefore consider the strengths and weaknesses of hardware, software and users combined.
The course descriptor is here:
14:10-15:00 Monday - Year 2 Tutorial: 1.18,
Evolution House [map] Fortnightly, but slot may also be used for general dissertation discussion/support.
15:10-16:00 Monday and Thursday - Lectures: 1.18, Evolution House [map]
16:10-17:00 Monday - Shared with CDI1 Tutorial: 1.18, Evolution House [map]
In the first part of the course, the class will be split into small groups. A first, core case study will be introduced via lectures. The case study will vary from year to year, but will normally be derived from an active or recent informatics research project where a product or service is an important deliverable. Presentations will normally be given by members of the relevant project team. Groups will then work to identify important features of the project, and analyse decision decisions to identify possible extensions or improvements, and to identify possible new applications of the core techniques. Documentation will be assessed by academic staff.
In the second part of the course, each group will work on its own, new case study. The case study will vary from year to year, but will normally be derived from an active or recent design informatics project - conducted by, or known to, the second year student leader - where a product or service is an important deliverable. Under the guidance of its leader, each group will work to identify important features of their project, and analyse decisions to identify possible extensions or improvements, and to identify possible new applications of the core techniques.
In the final part of the course, each individual will work on a further case study, reflect on what they have learned so far, and on how well the group functioned, specifying which aspects of its activity were successful, and which less so. Each individual will write a term paper outlining a new case study (with associated slide set), synthesising their reflections and identifying which skills and strategies they need to develop further. The report focuses especially on issues to do with project management and team leadership.
Informatics Forum, 10 Crichton Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AB, Scotland, UK
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