Title: Distributed collaboration in design education: practising designer and client roles

Authors: Kristina Lauche, Erik Bohemia, Chris Connor, Petra Badke-Schaub

Addresses: Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology, 2628 CE Delft, The Netherlands. ' School of Design, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST, UK. ' School of Computing, Engineering and Information Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 1XE, UK. ' Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology, 2628 CE Delft, The Netherlands

Abstract: Changes in industry require new forms of design education that better prepare students for the realities of concurrent engineering, increased involvement of suppliers in agile manufacturing, and the digitisation and virtualisation of collaboration. This article outlines these challenges for virtual design collaboration and reports first experiences of a distributed design studio (DDS) established between three European universities. In the DDS, students were taught core skills for virtual collaboration and could practice designer-client interaction in an experiential learning environment. The results of a course evaluation (during, at the end and one year after) show that students positively evaluated their own skill development. Student and staff feedback indicated that the embodiment phase proved to be more challenging and the evidence showed it coincided with reduced communication. Overall, the studio format can be seen as a suitable and realistic environment for practicing the relevant skills for virtual teamwork and designer-client communication. As a teaching initiative across institutions, it also served as personal development for staff.

Keywords: client interaction; distributed collaboration; experiential learning; virtual teams; teamwork; design education; concurrent engineering; simultaneous engineering; supplier involvement; collaborative design; agile manufacturing; higher education; virtual collaboration; designer-client interaction; distributed design studio.

DOI: 10.1504/JDR.2008.024193

Journal of Design Research, 2008 Vol.7 No.3, pp.238 - 258

Published online: 28 Mar 2009 *

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