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Sancha's EOR 2 - Analysis of Relationships

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Sancha de Burca
20 January 2013

EOR 2 Relationships Analysis – Sancha de Burca

Online Graphic Design (below HE level )

The projects would be undertaking by individuals anywhere in the world (providing they have the internet! – this is quite a major filter!)  Projects taken at learner’s own pace (max six weeks per unit) to build up a “course”. The aim is to develop “proper” or professional design thinking and problem solving skills and to create a portfolio for education opportunities or employment.

Knowledge & Skill relationships: Some learners will know masses about the technologies (design software, blogs etc – possibly know more than the tutors about innovations) and may be able to fly or show off to their hearts content! Others may also know a lot about specific art, design practitioners. But mostly they won’t know much about a professional design process otherwise they are unlikely to be taking these courses. Many might just want to do them for fun.

Tools relationships: I’m taking Tools here as course materials…. As well as the main project PDF there are other guides to help get to that point. For first time learners there is a guide to explain the purpose of the relationship with the tutor and how to set about using this – tutor as resource. It is emphasised that at all times learners can ask “extra” questions by emailing the tutor or placing a question in their blog posts, whichever is more appropriate. There is also a guide for setting up a blog and a rationale for why this is necessary and also beneficial in a professional sense. OK, not all learners might want to be “professional” at this level, but I suspect that acting like a “real designer” might be motivational. In the actual subject specific project there are “what you will do” statements and “why do this?” ones to help learners see the point of the activities. I think this crosses over with the Knowledge and Skills section, because I suspect that with experience the learners might see the point for themselves whereas new and quite young ones who might not have learned in this way might not. There may be differences in the expectations of what tools they’ll be using – ie wanting to use computers when the course recommends hand-rendered ideas or vice versa.

People relationships: The tutor will be paramount here – must be pro-active but not pushy! Especially at the start of the course the learners will need the tutor to be there for them without making them feel like twits. As it is a distance course there will be those people in close relationships with the learners who might impact – family, friends, teachers, employers. They could act as a kind of censorship by reinforcing learner mistakes or over-riding concepts and ideas that the tutor might recognise as potentially viable. There might also be other virtual/online relationships with people (strangers) commenting on blogs or learners showing work for feedback on Flickr etc. These non-expert opinions need careful negotiating by the tutor to maintain motivation while developing the professional communication aspect over the “I/my friends like this” aspect. Conversely there may be some expert opinions gathered too that differ – so the tutor need to develop the learner’s own decision making and justification mechanisms (which they’d need in industry anyway).

Environment: I think that almost all of the learners would be working mostly at home, possibly in their kitchens or bedrooms ( Some might work in internet cafes or equivalent, or they may use local libraries or college facilities. There would also be some fieldwork and I think many learners might also record and reflect using smart-phones while on the move (bus home etc). This is what my previous research into design students and blogging has shown me. However, there could be situations where perhaps a local independent tutor is overseeing the project as well as the (distant) course tutor and may have a group of learners in a class room or similar.

Relationship between filters and other elements: I’ve flagged up at the start that lack of the internet precludes learning; so, for example, some rural areas of the world, where people may appreciate this kind of “access” course, might be discounted. Perhaps re-think these areas by bringing face-to-face courses?? This might be a whole new course design in itself. Other filters that would occur throughout the projects are dealt within course materials – for example, CONTENT: it is explained that some parts are more challenging than others or could potentially take longer than expected (ie illustration) and the course materials invite learners to check with tutors. Other areas, such as being linked to potentially offensive content, contains warnings and these areas are optional. Many homeschoolers in the US, for instance, who want to gain commercial art credits for college may have faith based lifestyles and wish to avoid even references to such items as Harry Potter and many others may have religious or moral reasons not to want to engage with nudity or violent images. Most of these areas are avoided – there is scope for learners to find these things independently if they want to. However, graphic design is often challenging by nature (ie issue-based or charity posters) so this in itself is a kind of self-imposed filter. TECHNOLOGY: Setting up a blog at the start could be quite a challenge and might put people off (I’m thinking technological challenges in the MOOC…!) which is partly why the blog-setting-up guide would give a rationale of why it is needed.

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