DS 83: Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE16), Design Education: Collaboration and Cross-Disciplinarity, Aalborg, Denmark, 8th-9th September 2016

Year: 2016
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Ahmed Kovacevic, Lyndon Buck, Christian Tollestrup, Kaare Eriksen, Nis Ovesen
Author: Skulberg, Harald
Series: E&PDE
Institution: Institute of Design, The Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO), Norway
Section: Preparing Students for Cross-dsciplinarity
Page(s): 516-521
ISBN: 978-1-904670-62-9


This paper investigates how cross-disciplinary teaching and the act of mental scaling may build
valuable stimulus for creativity and influence students’ learning outcome in an undergraduate design
curriculum. With ‘The Future of Well Being’ as an overarching theme, each student in this case study
was challenged to develop a future scenario as a holistic service design concept, while implementing
brand strategy, corporate identity, interaction design, visual communication and product design as key
design elements. While being both academics and practitioners from industry with very different
background of experience, the educators had to collaborate in new ways, considering the diverse
nature of these disciplines. This paper explores in particular how the act of mental scaling - or the
active change of perspective - may support the students into an integrative thinking mode, in the span
between overarching conceptual reflections and detailed design solutions. The students’ ability to
absorb divergent, theoretical input and tutoring from separate disciplines and to utilize this knowledge
while building an integrative thinking mode, has clearly been challenged. The findings from
observations, photo documentation and a written questionnaire suggest that active mental scaling may
become catalyst for integrative thinking and productive creation of structure in complex design
projects. While acknowledging cross-disciplinary design competence as important response to future
corporate needs, it seems that this approach may be utilized by educators in order to facilitate
increasingly relevant learning outcome during the design process.

Keywords: Cross-disciplinary teaching, mental scaling, learning outcome, complex design project, case study.


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