DS 93: Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2018), Dyson School of Engineering, Imperial College, London. 6th - 7th September 2018

Year: 2018
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Ahmed Kovacevic, Lyndon Buck, Peter Childs, Stephen Green, Ashley Hall, Aran Dasan
Author: McCardle, John
Series: E&PDE
Institution: Loughborough University, United Kingdom
Section: Design and Engineering Education Practices
Page(s): 110-115
ISBN: 978-1-912254-02-6


As students in Higher Education (HE), many highly successful design graduates exhibit the traits of being keen independent learners and sometimes even demonstrate a maverick approach to the art. The majority however are conformist. Some of the most communicative of students can be responsible for pedestrian, unsurprising design proposals lacking in daring and insightful application of technology. If students engage fully within a creative learning environment, with aims to develop both personally and professionally, should educators witness more widespread adventurous and experimental work as the norm? This paper explores one of the fundamental reasons offered by students in response to questions about their design outcomes, that of risk. Currently there appears to be a very limited understanding of the factors that constitute risk from the perspective of undergraduate students engaging in design programmes. Through a questionnaire and a series of focus groups with undergraduate students in different year cohorts, the work here identifies several distinct perceptions and motivations that could lead to such behaviour. Overall the study suggests that students are generally acting in a risk-averse manner with it being more acute in their final year of study. Commonly this behaviour was motivated by the aim to achieve the best possible grade through strategically using marking schemes and aligning with tutor advice. Extrinsic motivation dominated many students through the attainment of a desired degree classification. Students further reported feelings of anxiety and insecurity within the assessment process due to a range of external variables.

Keywords: Industrial and Product Design, Performance metrics, Risk-aversion, Student Experience


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