Blog 2 | August 2, 2020

We have now had almost 17,000 unique visits to our website and over 300 people offering to assist us.  The Steering Committee has created several sub-committees to put together a detailed work plan based upon the information we’ve gotten from all the forms. We made some changes based upon feedback.  The large number of responses and the variety of information has caused us to rethink some of our ideas. (That’s a good thing: that’s why we asked all those questions.)  

Renaming the nomination form

For example, we realized that many people are hesitant to nominate themselves, so we changed the word to be “Register Your Interest.”  A small change, but as designers we know that details matter.  

When will you hear back from us?

We know you want to hear back from us.   Because of the unexpected large number of volunteers, we are considering several different organizational schemes for the 300 people who indicated interest. Once the Steering Committee has decided upon the structure (we are hoping to do so this week), then we have to determine what Curriculum Working Groups will be needed and who will populate the groups.  (We assume that these groups will vary in number and topic as the work progresses).  We will let you know as soon as possible, but given the complexities of this task, it might be September-October before we can give final word.  

How we are using the Computer Science Curriculum Committee as a model

One thing: As we started this project, we examined the history of others who have also restructured their educational processes. (This is all described in the She Ji journal article by Meyer and Norman). The curriculum development for Computer Science done by the two professional societies ACM and IEEE was an excellent fit for our goals. They had to make it work for the huge number of specialties in the field as well the broad diversity of schools that ranged from 2-year technical schools training programmers and information technologists all the way up to the world’s leading research universities that trained the science of computation.   They decided that there were a few critical topics that all people in the field ought to know – topics they called Tier 1. Then there were the specialized topics that comprised the specialties, which they called Tier 2.  We too are adopting this approach: Tier 1 – what every designer ought to know. (What topics will they be? Obvious candidates are sketching, prototyping, design research, ideation, ethics, …   But we are not proposing those topics here: this is what the Working Groups will be deciding.)  The Computer Science curriculum also pointed out that any topic could be learned at various degrees of understanding and rigor. We borrowed their three major divisions, which we called Familiarity, Usage, and Reflection.  

  1. Familiarity - recognizes the concept and what it means  
  2. Usage - can apply the concept in concrete ways  
  3. Reflection - can consider the concept critically from multiple viewpoints and adjust behavior accordingly  

Computer Science does a major overhaul of their Curriculum recommendations approximately every ten years. The first was in 2001, followed by one in 2008. The most recent was done in 2013: the next review is probably just starting now. (They also do minor revisions as new topic arise.)    The chair of the 2013 review has volunteered to tell us how they organized and accomplished their work.      

The Meyer and Norman article from She Ji

In their article in Part 1, Changing Design Education for the 21st Century, Meyer and Norman suggest how Design can use the procedures that allowed other fields (e.g., medicine, law, and management) to restructure their education with special attention to the framework for a family of curricula devised by Computer Science.

Computer Science 2013 Curriculum Guidelines