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Teaching The Design Process In The Covid Environment
Traditional face-to-face design-based courses most often have a team focus and have students participating in many collaborative activities. These activities address problem and user need identification as well as solution generation, selection, build, and test. Traditionally the supporting activities occur in the classroom in small groups or out of the classroom in team or client meetings. However, the occurrence of the Covid-19 environment has forced many traditional face-to-face courses to be taught in online and hybrid/hyflex modes. This has caused those who teach design-based courses to rethink how collaboration occurs in an environment that requires physical distancing and synchronous and asynchronous online participation.
This paper addresses how one instructor redesigned a face-to-face freshman introduction to design course known for its collaborative and experiential learning focus to accommodate a synchronous hybrid/hyflex delivery. In semesters prior to the spring of 2020, students in the course worked through the design process to build a solution for an individual with a disability to help the individual be independent. The clients for these projects were individuals in local schools and adult care facilities, and the Special Olympics. Due to Covid, students are not able to meet with these clients. However, students having an actual client is an integral part of the experiential experience of the course. Thus, not only did the collaborative nature of the class have to alter, but the identification of clients did as well. This paper describes the client identification and collaboration processes used in this course to support the design process. Successes of the experiences are highlighted, and reflections and recommendations are noted.