• Design is practice and theory, not practice with theory

      Marshall, Lindsey; Austin, Marc (University of Wolverhampton, 2003)
    • Direct or directed: orchestrating a more harmonious approach to teaching technology within an art & design higher education curriculum with special reference to visual communications courses

      Marshall, Lindsey; Meachem, Lester (Taylor & Francis, 2007-02-15)
      In this scoping study we have investigated the integration of subject-specific software into the structure of visual communications courses. There is a view that the response within visual communications courses to the rapid developments in technology has been linked to necessity rather than by design. Through perceptions of staff with day-to-day experience of the issues arising from the incorporation of such technology, we were able to construct an account of potential directions. There is a necessity for continual review of course content to ensure that training in software is embedded in the creative aspects of the curriculum in order to maximise the potential of new technology, maintain currency and future-proof the curriculum. We argue that curriculum developers in visual communications need to incorporate appropriate hardware and software within the studio environment.
    • Technological Tools: the need to situate software skills in the implementation of design concepts

      Marshall, Lindsey (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), 2004)
      As a consequence of the rapid development of new technology, and new areas such as multimedia in the graphic design industry, education is faced with the problem of incorporating the software skills associated with visual communication within the existing curriculum. The software is complex and is required by many areas of the industry resulting in students expecting software training as part of their course. Computer software skills should be situated in the subject they are being used for; learning software is not an end in itself — the software is only used in relation to the subject. Methods of learning software, such as training programmes, manuals are not sufficient by themselves; people learn from each other and in relation to the job in hand. The students’ understanding of software is situated in the process of generating solutions to problems and in implementing design concepts. Treating software skills as abstract, unrelated to subject specific knowledge, either through training courses or the use of training manuals, does not take into account the discipline that the software application is to be used for.
    • The relationship between software skills and subject specific knowledge, theory and practice.

      Marshall, Lindsey; Austin, Marc (University of Wolverhampton, 2004)
      Previous research (Marshall & Austin, 2003) suggests that there is a need for theory to be integrated with practice in design subjects. There is current concern that the acquisition of software skills is taking priority over subject specific knowledge and skills. This is seen as a source of some tension between design education and industry, as many employers require graduates to have knowledge of software prior to employment. Integrating these skills into the curriculum alongside developing creativity and theoretical/contextual understanding is proving difficult for education. Although technology plays an integral role in the production of designed artefacts, it is an adjunct to the core content of courses which is an understanding of the knowledge and skills associated with design, their application to creative problem solving and contextual/ theoretical understanding of issues related to design and a broader field. There is national and international debate around this issue. Justice (1999) expresses concern about space in the curriculum, stating: ‘Before computers, faculty may have had a full semester to teach a beginning typography course. Now, they have a full semester to teach typography and the several software packages the students will use to complete the typography projects.’ (Justice, 1999, p.54)
    • Widening access, narrowing curriculum: is the expectation of software training changing the culture within visual communications higher education?

      Marshall, Lindsey (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), 2005)
      Increasingly, students entering visual communications courses seem to expect training in industry-standard software to make up the majority of course content. This is seen as the source of some tension between visual communication design educators and government/university policies for widening participation. It may also be related to the perceived need for graduate employees to have knowledge of industry standard software prior to employment. There has been a rise in the number of students applying to study visual communications since the introduction of desktop publishing in the 1980s. This, together with a more diverse student profile has created differing student expectations and a change in the culture of visual communications higher education courses. Widening participation policies have facilitated an increase in recruitment both directly from sixth form study (post 16 year old) and from an increasing ethnically diverse background from the UK, Europe and internationally, rather than through UK based traditional preparatory courses. These factors place pressure on existing curricula, and may lead to a narrowing of content as a deficit in prior learning and understanding has to be accounted for. Student expectation of software training together with the vocational nature of visual communication design courses may lead to courses becoming predominantly software oriented. In the context of the implementation of government widening participation policy, this may result in the reduction of courses to technological skill provision. In order to identify any tension between student expectation and course content, staff perceptions of student requirements have been compared to their perceptions of the purpose of an education in visual communications.