Reflections on Cohen, L, Bell, R, Manion, L, Morrison K, (2007) Chapter 11 Case studies, Research methods in education

Some excerpts from the chapter 11 (Research methods in education)

Print: Research methods in education e6

“Case studies can establish cause and effect, indeed one of their strengths is that they observe effects in real contexts, recognising that context is powerful determinant of both causes and effects.”

“Case studies are set in temporal, geographical, organisational, institutional and other contexts that enable boundaries to be drawn around the case.”

“Nisbet and Watt (1984:91) specifically counsel case study researchers to avoid:

-Journalism: picking out more striking feature of the case….

-Selective reporting: selecting only evidence which will support a particular conclusion

-An anecdotal style: degenerating into an endless series of low-level banal and tedious illustrations…

-Pomposity: striving to derive or generate profound theories from low-level data…

-Blandness: unquestioningly accepting only the respondents’ views or including only those aspects of the case study on which people agree rather than areas on which they might disagree.”

“There are several types of case study. Yin (1984) identifies three such types in terms of their outcomes: exploratory (as a pilot to other studies or research questions); descriptive (providing narrative accounts); explanatory (testing theories) “

“Shaughnessy et al (2003: 290-9) suggest that case sties often lacks a high degree of control…. Case studies , they argue, may be impressionistic, and self-reporting may be biased(by the participant or the observer)”

“2 principal types of Observation – participant and non participant.”

“Why participant observation?”

“The task of the educational investigator is very often to explain the means by which an orderly social world is established and maintained in terms of its shared  meanings.”

Recording observations

“I filled thirty two notebooks with about half a million words of notes made during nearly six hundred hours (or observations) (king,1979)”

“Nisbet and Watt (1984: 78) suggest three main stages in undertaking a case study. Because case studies catch the dynamics of unfolding situations it is advisable to commence with a very wide field of cops, an open phase, without selectivity or prejudgement. Thereafter progressive focusing enables a narrower field of focus to be established, identifying key foci for subsequent study and data collection. At the third stage a draft interpretation is prepared which needs to be checked with respondents before appearing in the final form…… Respondent validation….”

Reflections on Week 5 Formative Presentations 24th of October

This week we had a peer review of the work we have done so far. During the course of last week, I have encountered new challenges on the SIP.

This week, I have my last lecture of the term with Stage 2 students. At the end of lecture, I talked about the tutorials with me next week and used that as a starting point for my questionnaires.  The feedback was 50% reply from the group. The response was a bit overwhelming for me! I am looking through the responses now and constructing a “Word Cloud” to see areas of “concentrations”.

The next step after gathering feedback, is to start to put together an online form for this scheduled tutorial.  I used this format below:


If you want to be in a group, put your names here:


You agree that if you missed the time slot, you are not guaranteed to have another.

List your reading/ research references here:




Upload your work-in-progress sketches/drawings/illustrations here:

List down your questions to discuss with tutor / group:




List down possible next steps:




My intention is that this online form starts to pin down some of the issues that I have doubts on:

1. Readiness – the mindset of student and how he/she approaches the work. Being self-reliant or waiting for answers?

2. Preparation – the pre-reading, gathering useful research and collating them in a concise manner.

3. Focus on project/topic – giving a heads up on the upcoming tutorial, and when the tutorial is ongoing, steering the tutorial to reach the next step (in the project.)

4. Willingness – how receptive they are to attend and discuss? This can be an ongoing issue with student attending tutorials, especially students from Confucius-Heritage background.

Lastly, some feedback from my peers for the Formative Presentations (my reflections):

Identify a topic for enquiry, justifying its professional significance. [Analysis]

1. Perhaps more academic references /pedagogy theory around tutorials in Art and Design context.

2. Question about “Mass Intellectualisation”

(KC: I have started to explain “mass intellectualisation” in my Week 4 reflections (link). This terminology has now been dropped off my Inquiry as I find it too difficult to explain to undergraduate students in a very short time. I have listed a few academic references in my readings and perhaps that has been overlooked at the end and being last person presenting. I have also started to read HEA’s Pedagogic theory (link) which might further inform my inquiry.

Investigate methods of enquiry appropriate to the specific contexts of the topic. [Experimentation]

1. Question about what the questionnaire data will be used for?

2. Lots of methods > how did you decide on them and do you need to use them all?

(KC: For my inquiry, the questionnaire can reveal a general understanding and provide areas of focus from the student’s perspective. The various methods that I have discussed in my presentation might change slightly as I progress. i.e. for PhotoVoice, I see that less relevant. I am replacing that with asking students where an ideal place for tutorial would be….)

Conduct a scholarly enquiry. [Research]

1. Lots of evidence given about methods

2. How do tutorials work in other departments / courses?

(KC: understanding the teaching methods away from my course is an interesting thought ! I have done a literature review on the way tutorials are run in Liverpool hope business school (link) This was also the reason why I think doing a peer observation with another tutor doing a tutorial in a different course might unpack some insights.)

Present project findings in a coherent, context-sensitive manner. [Communication and Presentation]

Clear presentation.

(KC: Nice compliment! …..after an intensive session)

Reflections on 4th Week Work-in-progress Seminar

Last week, I been working on my question and title and I have narrowed down to two possibility so far:

“How do students benefit from tutorials in this age of mass intellectualisation?” &

“How can tutorials one effective in a student’s learning process?”

In our session, we shared our work in large A3 project paste-ups /pin ups and my peer feedback were:

1. I don’t understand what is meant by mass intellectual in this context

2. This looks like a lot of work in a small space of time.

3. Personal issues / sensitive comments are sometimes discussed in tutorials

Mass intellectualisation is a term that I have come across in a book by Hall, R and Winn, J. (2017) Mass Intellectuality and Democratic Leadership in Higher Education (Perspectives on Leadership in Higher Education). An excerpt:

“The university is being restructured and refocused as the driver of and for competition, markets and the short-term economic needs of the state and corporations. Central is the (re)production of students as customers and consumers (with degree programmes as investment projects (Lawrence and Sharma 2002) focused on ‘employability’ (Chertkovskaya et al. 2013)), staff as service providers and research entrepreneurs (Kelly 2013), and both as forms of academic labour (Winn 2015b). As ‘edufactories’ (Edufactory Collective 2009), universities are businesses with CEOs, corporate strategies and branding, business plans and partnerships, cost-benefit analyses and key performance indicators (Bok 2009); and all labouring within this set of relations are reified and valorized as human capital (Bourdieu 2010) ……. They are not merely complicit in, but initiate and promote ‘the academic capitalist knowledge, learning regime’ (Cantwell and Kaupinnen 2014).”

This trend / phenomenon has an impact on my inquiry. I guess what I am trying to say is that tutorials in a large cohort can be demanding for the tutor and not beneficial for the student as the contact time is short.

During this session, we also discussed about effectiveness and what are the ways to achieve that. This prompts me to think about the expectations of a tutorial from a student and tutor’s perspective. These can vary and my questionnaire replies should unpack the initial views about this myth I always have on my mind.

I want to re-iterate that my rationale for choosing my/the methods for this inquiry is dependent on the ability to predict and generate a set of data that forms the basis to build a case study/understanding. My peer’s comment about too little time to complete this enquiry comes at the correct time where I start to think PhotoVoice might not be needed as I start to use a question to replace “a good location for lecture?”

In the last part of week 4, we discussed the triangulation approach to draw various viewpoints using many methods. In general, this seems to work for my enquiry. To prove, I will start to research into how I could do that with my Questionnaire and Backcasting method.

For ethics in our research, we were shown the Milligram Experiment which reveals the dire consequence of a person with authority (researcher) inflicting bodily harm on to participants whom are too afraid. In a subversive way, I empathise yet enjoy watching this. Perhaps it was a combination of “I-have-not-seen-this-before” and also how we (humans)  can be so obedient at times and completely opposite the next moment !

Lastly, during the course of this week, I have also been shown a document which illustrates the academic/communication practises in China which leads to the Confucian-Heritage Educations having social cultures disparities with UK Higher Education. In this document, I see some interesting topics (silent seminar, diligence, authority and participation) which I can draw upon.

Reflections on 3rd week’s session using PBL tutorials (10th October)

Reflections on 3rd week’s PBL tutorials

I have been continuing to tweak my working title for this enquiry. So far I have firmed up on these:

How do students benefit from tutorials in this age of mass intellectualisation?

How can tutorials be effective in a student’s learning process?

The most valuable thing I got out from this tutorial is our expectations of a tutorial through the eyes of a student vs tutor? If I can position this enquiry starting with stating/defining what a tutorial could/should be about.

I have looked at a case study from Liverpool Hope Business school where tutorials are not effective and they have turned into mini lectures by tutors. I have also made connections of this with my own tutorials with students where they use the session as a answer to technical questions. So, is there a way to formulate a set of “rules”.  In that case study, the students were expected to read materials, write questions and participate in discussions within the tutorials

I started to think what could help me in setting up student tutorials as the large cohort can be repetitive, confusing for me and restrict my ability to spot distinct individual works.

1. Set up a tutorial form and let them know they need it before tutorial

2. Ask student to write down concise explanation of project

3. Ask student to write what have they read, researched

4. Track their individual progress in a chart, document folder.

5. I need to decide if group or individual tutorial is appropriate.

6. How about student-led discussions? Set time limit for each?

7. Can be a challenge to encourage active participation.


I have researched various approaches and started to formulate initial questions for my questionnaire/survey.  Having access to a large cohort of students, it is intrinsic to gather initial feedback from them. As I recall this PBL session is also a tutorial, the use of a SIP tutorial form in here also allows me to reflect on it’s meaning and significance for the student that is preparing for this session. The ability to prepare depends on the willingness of the student and this disposition comes into play here: A SIP’s success can be based on this !

Next steps :

Consider removing effectiveness? But before I do that, I want to be able to look at what that means from a student’s point of view. Currently, my research question is based around how students view and use their tutorials in their learning process.

My rationale for choosing the methods lies in the ability to predict and also generate a set of data that provides a basis to build a case study or understanding.

Methods i am using includes:



Behaviour Mapping

Peer Observations

Focus Groups

There is also a discussion of making/using appropriate tools within tutorials. I am going to identify and research further into these as some of these methods can have implications on the participants. I have added my action plan and I will refine and tweak if my methods has shifted.

My ethics form will need some work and reiteration. I started off with something very generic and I have to foresee/pre-empt if the methods can have any dire impact on the participant. BERA seems to be a good place to start and I would have to look into the peer observation implications if I want to continue in that area. I will also need to sort out the participant information sheet and consent form.

Reflections on 2nd week’s session on Methods of Inquiry (3rd October)

After leaving the RCA for more than 12 years, today is the day where I get a recap of all the methods used in academic research.

Yes, it’s all coming back now……..

We discussed methods as tools and methodology as approach. This is pretty good to describe what we are going to do in the next few weeks where we will be using multiple methods to do research and collect data. Our discussion includes:(my comments in brackets)

Questionnaire: Specific, intended for the masses and generate metadata study

Photovoice: Open-ended and subjective approach. (Quite like to think that this can provide some sort of grounding for my work in situating the physical context)

Interviews: Permissions from conversations, Visual cues and links for interviewers.(Need to use this to gather my primary data)

Email Interviews: Non real-time and can be done in various languages (Possibly useful for my approach to gather interests in very early stage.)

Observations: Natural Settings (I read about participant and non-participant type where i can use either to gain understanding)

Photo Elicitation: John Berger’s Ways of Seeing Book, Inspire/trigger and choice of images is important. (This can be the outcome of Photovoice and i can use this in Focus Groups later)

Focus groups: Importance of Transcripts and Participation. (Something that I need to read up)

Case studies: Various inputs and a range of data can be collected. (Most suitable/relevant method for my enquiry so far)

Ethnography: People in natural setting. (In the consultancy that I used to work in, we do this often)

Auto ethnography: Self-reflective. (Interesting read: Paris is burning.)

Practice based research: Related to discipline. Practice also means making? John Wood’s 2000 History of Writing in Art Book.

User Journey: Mapping process.

Drawing: Visualisations.

Cultural probes.

Narrative enquiry.

Action research: Problem solving to a certain extend.

My group discussions is with Jenny, Josef, Matt and Laura. We tackled


and Photovoice.

At the end of the long day, I have started to rethinking my working title and the methods I might use: Photovoice and Observations has their pros and cons. I have also started to think about Sub-questions and biases that I might have during the inquiry.

Focus Groups seems quite a good way to summarise and position the data collection. This session will have to be recorded. Participants have to be informed before start of session and I have to remember to request permission to use their words. I need to come up with a Consent form.

We concluded the day with us being Insider Researchers, which does provides an empathetic perspective on our inquiry which can be challenging…

Reflections on Ebert, J. E. J, Gilbert D.T., Wilson T. D. (2009) Forecasting and Backcasting: Predicting the Impact of Events on the Future.

Some excerpts from the article (link):

“How do consumers predict their feelings following a future consumption event?”

“Forecasting, as an approach to predicting the hedonic impact of a future event, has been widely studied in the literature (Coughlan and Connolly 2001; Dunn, Wilson, and Gilbert 2003; Finkenauer et al. 2007; Gaunt, Sindic, and Leyens 2005; Gilbert et al. 1998, 2004; Kahneman and Snell 1992; Loewenstein and Frederick 1997; Mellers 2000; Read and Van Leeuwen 1998; Snell, Gibbs, and Varey 1995; Wilson et al. 2000, 2005).”

“A second approach that we propose for predicting the hedonic impact of a future event—backcasting—is one that has received much less attention. In backcasting, the consumer first considers how she is likely to feel in a future period (“I’m going to be happy in a few days because my birthday is coming up”) and then considers the effects of the prior impacting event and the passage of time  (“And if the Red Sox lose today it won’t change that much”).”

“Why Do Backcasters Predict a Greater Impact of Events on Their Future Feelings than Forecasters? Backcasters make more extreme hedonic predictions primarily because they consider the impacting information to a greater extent than forecasters do.”

“Similarly, people may use backcasting and forecasting when regulating their feelings in future and current periods, respectively. Consumers frequently use consumption events to regulate their mood—for example, buying gifts for themselves or listening to music to improve their mood (Chen, Zhou, and Bryant 2007; Gould 1997). Research shows that mood regulation can be anticipatory, used to cause a particular mood for a particular situation, or reactive, used to alter an existing mood (Erber, Wegner, and Therriault 1996; Gross 1998).”

KC’s reflections:

I hope to have an insight into student’s behaviour (in T&L) and how I can draw connections using these predictive methods of inquiry. There appears to be a conscious effort of students signing up and attending tutorials but no proper outcomes documented from them. I hope to use these predictive methods to shape the mindset of students prior to attending a tutorial as there are always expectations that attending one of these would “solve all my technical issues within my projects.”

Reflections on Quista, J, Vergragt, P (2006) Past and future of backcasting: The shift to stakeholder participation and a proposal for a methodological framework.

Some excerpts from the article (link)

“The origin of backcasting is in the 1970s, when Lovins [6,7]  proposed backcasting as an alternative planning technique for electricity supply and demand.”

“The focus of energy backcasting was on analysis and deriving policy goals, while the backcasts  of different alternative energy futures were also meant to reveal the relative implications of different policy goals.”

“Backcasting for sustainability.”

“The shift to participatory backcasting using broad stakeholder involvement started in the Netherlands in the early 1990s. Participatory backcasting has been applied in the Netherlands since then, first at the governmental programme for sustainable technology development (STD) that ran from 1993–2001 [3,27]  and in its EU funded spin-off, the research project ‘SusHouse’ that ran from 1998 to 2000 [4,5] .”








“ It has also been found that backcasting can refer to a concept or philosophy, a study, an approach, a methodology, an interaction process among participating stakeholders, an analysis (sometimes referred to as a backcast ) or the specific step of looking back from the desired future within the overall approach. This means that backcasting is used to refer to the conceptual or holistic level, the level of social or multi-actor processes, the level of overall approaches and methodologies containing of multiple steps, methods and instruments and to the level of specific steps, methods or instruments within such an overall approach or overall methodology. However, it also shows that backcasting is slightly differently defined in different places and reports, which might be confusing in the present debate and when comparing different backcasting studies.”

KC’s reflections:

As my SIP is a small scale inquiry, I have stayed away from the overarching approach to back casting’s methodologies and focused on how I can use the method by looking at STD’s approach. In my SIP, I have focused on Short Term actions. i.e. tutorial forms, giving advance notices and developing self-reliant mindsets.

I have chosen this article from Delft University of Technology as I see my area (Technical Studies) of teaching bearing a close resemblance to what I see in Delft, which is described on their MOOCs. (link) Although it is an engineering school, I should also emphasise that I would look at this article more from a process overview instead of a technical perspective.

Reflections on Cosco N.G., Moore R.C., Islam M.Z. (2008) Behaviour Mapping: A Method for Linking Preschool Physical Activity and Outdoor Design.

Some excerpts from the article (link)

“Behaviour mapping approach”

“Behaviour mapping is an unobtrusive, direct observational method for recording the location of subjects and measuring their activity levels simultaneously. Results help researchers understand the behavioural dynamics of the built environment.”

“Behaviour mapping is based on the concepts of behaviour setting  (3,18) and affordance  (14,15). Behaviour settings are ecological units, where the physical environment and the behaviour are indissolubly connected. Affordances are the perceived properties of the physical environment that support the individual’s actions (15)”

“Behaviour mapping: potential and future directions”

“Behaviour mapping could also address the potential differences in the use of behaviour settings by children from different ethnicity or racial backgrounds and the influence of teacher–child interaction, among other social factors.”

KC’s reflection: I was hoping to use this at start of the inquiry to test whether the location is an important consideration when you participate in a tutorial. Would the location and ambience even stop/encourage you from signing up for a tutorial ?

Although , the article is focused primarily on preschool activity and environments, I would like to use its underlying principles of behaviour mapping in my inquiry. The next step would be to probe into this using a question in the survey.

Reflections on Ziniel, Curtis E. and Ghalib, Asad K. (2016) Student-led tutorials and their implications on learning and teaching. Liverpool Hope Business School, Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool, United Kingdom.

Link to text here

(This is presented at Mixed Methods International Research Association Conference (2016), 4th August 2016, Durham University.)


This study uses sequential mixed methods to conduct a study on how tutorials can be part of teaching & learning for 1st and 2nd year students. In the first instance, students can mistake tutorials for mini lectures and this can confuse the main purpose of a tutorial. Here, at these tutorials, students are expected/ supposed to lead discussion. Students start as a pair and then subsequently speak on their own. Students have to come prepared with questions for discussion. The study reveals that first year students were appreciative of this model and allows them to build confidence speaking in front of the class. First year students are also much more receptive to such teaching than second year.

Tutorial attendance and active participation.

There are also discussions on how the awarding of marks for attending a tutorial can be an incentive and spur engagement. IMO, this could also challenge the learning behaviours of a  student where they will spend more time on this preparation instead of focusing on discipline specific projects/tasks. I think if this is a final year student attending this tutorial, this could be beneficial for their final outcome of their project as preparation could help them position their work and rationale.

How it is conducted.

This studies research into practicalities and how it is carried out starting with a questionnaire, then a focus group.

“The survey instrument was administered towards the end of the academic session in the form of printed questionnaires. These were distributed and collected during tutorial sessions by the relevant tutors. Complete confidentiality and anonymity were guaranteed as no student details were captured. Moreover, the tutor left the room to return towards the end to offer privacy………For our study, we used the structured questionnaires as instruments to capture the quantitative element, whereas the focus groups led to the generation of qualitative data. “

The focus group reveals that tutor ’s subjectivity and how some tutors may mark differently than others. This is true when it comes to my  own personal experiences as some  students tend to stay away from certain tutors when they tend to have less expertise in specific topics/areas of studies. However, in this study, students acknowledge some differences in tutor marking is inevitable.

Reflections on Topping, K.J., (1996), The effectiveness of peer tutoring in further and higher education: A typology and review of the literature Higher education Vol. 32 no. 3 , 321-345

link to text here

Here, peer tutoring  is seen as a form of cognitive interaction with a more experienced peer (Vygotsky 1978), leading the task or discussion .

Barbara Rogoff (1990) also talked about Apprenticeship in thinking. (EXPAND)

There are also discussions about how student can learn by reading the material provided by tutor and teaching it to a peer (as documented by a study (Antis, 1983) provides high order conceptual understanding.

Reflections on Marton, F., Hounsell, D. & Entwistle, N., (eds.) …  (1984), Chapter 12: Enabling and Shaping Understanding through Tutorials (by Charles Anderson).

link to text here

This text focuses on the nature and quality of student experience of a tutor led discussion group. Certain parts of the text also bring my attention to tutorials being a common staple of the British higher education, so how do we make it inclusive , especially for international students.

After reading this, one of the question that I have is the role of tutors in a tutorials?  How do I enable tutorials to become active learning and encourage students to start to think critically. Perhaps, the ultimate aim for a tutorial IMO would be to encourage independence and gain confidence as you progress.

Work by Ambercrombie (1974 and 1960,p70) has set the precedence of how tutorials encourage spontaneous expressions by students  where they become a climate where all participants can listen and speak  (Nias, 1993, p117)

One of the key aspects I uncover is that In tutorials, teachers are supposed to “teach” which makes me slightly nervous. Students look upon you for expert knowledge in in the discipline of Product Design. Students prefer tutors whom are Empathetic with their problems, not someone who is too “clever” to care about students work.

Tutors inspires and constructs and build upon students problems, allowing the student to think independently.

To conclude, I really liked what Charles wrote here:

“While some students stressed the value of tutors insisting on the very clear and precise formulation of statements, including the exact use of technical terms, others commented favourably on tutors who widened out and enriched discussion, introducing new aspects to debate and encouraging a more differentiated view of topics which had surfaced in discussion.”

Reflections on the 1st Week of Self-Initiated Project (26th September)

I started to think about this small scale inquiry which can be relevant to my job i.e. teaching product design undergraduate students. There is a lot of focus on my practice and my chosen project which is a question about how tutorials can be effective.

During this session, I had a discussion with Sophie, Makbule and Josef. (Makbule and Josef has been in my same T&L module so we sort of know each other well and I also have peer-observed Josef and vice versa) Our discussion touches on the possible methods of learning, knowing yourself and your student and also how our disciplines teach students (in general) I have the largest teaching cohort and I see this as quite different from theirs.

The image above captures my research problem and how my peers contributed to the discussion. (This act of “crowdfunding” my work is very enriching and I could use these method in my teaching too!) There were comments about who/what has written texts on tutorials and YES, I did EXACTLY this prior to this session.

1.  Ziniel, Curtis E. & Ghalib, Asad K. (2016) Student-led tutorials and their implications on learning and teaching. In: Mixed Methods International Research Association Conference (2016), 4th August 2016, Durham University. 

2.  Dienes, Z. (1997) Student lead tutorials: a discussion paper. Falmer: School of Experimental Psychology, University of Sussex

3.  Collier, K.G. (1983) Management of peer group learning. Syndicate methods in HE, Guildford Society for Research in Higher Education.

4. Marton, F., Hounsell, D. & Entwistle, N., (eds.) …  (1984), Chapter 12: Enabling and Shaping Understanding through Tutorials (Charles Anderson).

5. Topping K.J., (1996), The effectiveness of Peer Tutoring in Further and Higher Education: A typology and review of the literature Higher Education 32, 321-345

(Some of these texts are old and I have actively searched for recent ones to see if I can unpack more interesting readings.)

I see the mass intellectuality as a main issue in my pursuit of this topic. Since I do not necessary have a good research question, I have started to generate a few, which I have listed below (my comments in brackets):

1. How tutorials can inspire creative Product Design education?

2. What happens after a lecture? Answer: tutorial?

3. Why tutorials is an effective learning method?

4. Tutorials in mass education(intellectuality)?

5. Can learning be achieved through tutorials?

6. In what ways can tutorials be a way to learn in creative education?

7. Exploring methods to enable tutorials to be part of a student’s learning process.

8. How can the use of tutorials enhance the students’s learnings?

9. What is a tutor’s role in tutorials?

10. Understanding tutorials in creative education. (too broad)

The intent is to reinforce what I am thinking: about tutorials, student-centred and what Brian Eno (via our tutor) said about knowledge acquisition through Shared gENIUS (SCENIUS). The comments written in red about what effective and actionable means does make me stop and think what I want to enquire about tutorials.

My Problem Based Learning group consists of 3 students. We started to concept map our projects individually and mine looks like this below:

The mapping allows me to think about a tutor being a facilitator in a tutorial and also what it means to be inclusive in a tutorial. I understood some international students is not familiar with this learning method. On another note, I am intrigued by student-led tutorials and I have been reading more about this method.

The keywords I have used to search for articles are:

1. Peer Driven Tutorials

2. Tutorial Policy

3. Documentation in Tutorial sessions

4. Small group tutorials

5. Discussion Groups

6. Constructive tutorials

Reflections of the Presentations on 4th of July 2018 for SIP






Redesign the Technical Studies in Product Design

During our session, we discussed a few methods of research by using workshops and focus groups. There are also other approaches (in addition to research) that can benefit/aid in our inquiry for our SIP. Object or practice based learning, Action research/learning.

I have proposed (as a start) to redesign the Technical Studies lectures in the Product Design course. After a series of consultations and feedback gathered from students and staff, I have decided that our course’s Technical Studies’ area of focus should be critical knowledge and driven by both physical and digital tools. Each session should be seen as plenary and not a single/long 4-hour session.

During our previous discussion, we discussed if the students need to know what we are doing when we start a teaching session? In my opinion, student engage more when they know what they are expecting in the next few hours.

I have also put together a reading list that I should cover before I start the SIP in Autumn 2018.

  • Pedagogical Content Knowledge and Industrial Design by Philips, K, Miranda, M and Shin, J in the Journal of Technology Studies, v35, n2, p47-55, Win, 2009
  • Design Economy 2018 Report by Design Council, UK, 2018
  • Design in Tech Report 2018 by John Maeda, 2018
  • Robot Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Joseph E Aoun, 2017
  • Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tagmark, 2017
  • Evocative Objects: Things We Think With by Sherry Turkle, 2007
  • 53 interesting things to do in your lectures by Anthony Haynes & Karen Haynes, 2012

We also discussed the following when my peers presented their work:

  • Who you are as a tutor?
  • Swarm intelligence
  • Inclusive reading lists
  • Flowchart of process?
  • Break the bias of preconceived ideas

During my summer, administrative week, I have started to develop a method of communicating technical studies. This can be modelled after a “good-better-best” modes of practice/application. These will be presented as case studies where students can then approach the selection best suited to their projects and thoughts.

Next, I have also been looking at how lectures/teaching can be aligned with learning outcome and marking criteria. This approach can be useful when the students are learning in a focused area of study. This could also lead to the reinstating of a Technical Studies exam at the end of each year during critical/important units of study (Unit 2, Unit 7 & Unit 10)

Lastly, Design, Contextual, Technical Studies and Technical support staff needs to know the aims of each projects. This also includes all the HPLs/ALs. The complacency disrupts the learning experience of the students.  Students does not necessary see the objectives of each Unit when they are studying, hence, our guidance and knowledge of the brief is very important to them.

Observations for 20th of June’s Discussions on T&L.

There was a lot of discussions in today’s sessions, in pairs and groups. I see this as a summary of what we have experienced so far in T&L.  In my opinion, the most interesting thing discussed was Silent Teaching. I find this interesting and I’ll be looking into this shortly…

We discussed about these:

Design & Plan

The importance of planning a lecture and how a lesson plan has helped me when I subdivide the long sessions into several activities. There are always minor changes or improvements during the lecture session. Subsequently, I have also learnt to align learning outcomes with the topics in my lectures. These are extremely useful for ongoing student project work.

Support Learning

It is important to understand what are my student’s current knowledge level and learning capacity. Each student would be different in the diverse cohort. I believe that what drives their learning can be positioned in a context where they are provided with an overview of the topic. This can either be written handouts for dyslexic students or a one page concise slide. Can they also learn from taking notes ?


How do we know what students felt in that session?

Is there a way to avoid surface level learning, where they cannot connect topics with project work?

If we give a hint of the assessment criteria, would that enable them to understand the teaching better?


How to know how the students felt about the lesson/session? The students might not acknowledge verbally in a large class and there are possibilities of miscommunications. I think asking students if they have any questions can also be futile. I will need to look into “innovative” ways of getting feedback from students after each session with them. Is there a way of knowing this without asking (Tutor feedback)?

Is there evidence that teaching is there?


Checking allows tutor to check if every student is on the same “page.” I believe this is critical and  a way to gather feedback. However, I felt this needs to happen during the lesson to ensure that I am effective in delivery of content. We also discussed that checking can be Interactive and led by the tutor.

Other things mentioned in the discussion is how lectures can be a show and tell? So what is a lecture exactly? Iestyn also mentioned a book: 53 Interesting Things To Do  In A Lecture by Anthony & Karen Haynes, 2012 which I have started to read and there is a few key points like Uncompleted Notes which I would like to use and also some points which I have already been doing (Review and Modelling Discipline) Very helpful Indeed !

Reflections on Opportunities & Challenges in T&L in Small Groups & Critiques

In groups, we started to list the opportunities and challenges and then added the various strategies that can benefit each point.

Small Groups

We started to look at the opportunities of peer teaching in a small group. This is perhaps a more personalised way of teaching. I believe this is a more effective way to engage in a topic or encourage problems based learning and skills. However, there is a tendency to spend too much time on a student and neglect the rest. To avoid this, I would like each student to prepare a short show-and-tell at a given/specific timing prior to the start of this session. This is as important as the group teaching and should be a considered approach, not on the fly.

One of the challenges highlighted in our group discussions deals with the limited opportunities that arises when the small group does not get the overall overview. This is true in my large group of students. The workaround would be to use a representative in each group to present in a summary session. This way of sharing is similar to what we have done on this exercise: a succinct and diverse way to acquire knowledge in a very short time. However, some students might be reluctant to present in front of a large group. Perhaps, the workaround would be to ask one from each small group to be presenting collectively.


One of the main opportunities in a critique is the ability to show and build confidence through presenting your work. If a student’s participation is positive and infectious, they can be an asset to their future employer. I believe the ability to present well is a skill that is important for any designer.

The challenges that we have noted down is very closely aligned with a series of anxieties that is commonly expressed in students. This could turn into an opportunity to teach how to advert issues like language shortcomings, nervousness and timekeeping. One way would be to practice with peers in pairs and do so again, this time with questions at the end.

This reduces anxiety and facilitates communications by expressing what they want to say about their work, in a comfortable environment .

Elective Unit Sharing Task 1 Reading 2 of 2

This is Matthew Draper’s Readings  which is about Research in Art and Design by Christopher Frayling Volume 1 No. 1 1993/1994

Is Fine Art research comparable with scientific research?

It is very difficult to put art practices in research categories. And it seems like the text discussion aims to post-rationalize art as a research activity which is difficulty, IMO.

I love Frayling’s style of writing and how it relates to the period where you see an emergence of art and design as research and how research (actually) started as non-scientific endeavour. However, we see examples of artists driving the cognitive (instead of expressive) like Constable’s clouds and Stubb’s animals.

I am now reading Failure: why science is so successful by Stuart Firestein and it describes how the faults and errors have contributed to science. As a result, a trial-and-errors process and approach has evolved in scientific research. To me this can be a parallel approach to art research.  Indeed, it is very difficult to describe what research is.

Elective Unit Sharing Task 1 Reading 1 of 2

Understanding Patriarchy by Bell Hooks (Gloria Jean Watkins)

This is Melissa Genc’s readings for Inclusive Teaching & Learnings.

1. What have you learnt from the text? and what provocation(s) do you have, if any? 

I have learnt that the ability to inflict a set of rules without rationale is still possible today! (What!) This article brings back memories of a friend’s mother-in-law who uses demands that my friend uses her hand as a spittoon. This is widespread, especially, in my Asian heritage background context.

The text focuses on how bad the situation is. I was wondering if a suggestion of how to change that would be better. (And there is!) and this is mentioned briefly: “Dismantling and changing patriarchal culture is work that men and women must do together.”

It is interesting to note that the writer’s close bond (a man) has turned from opposing patriarchy to accepting and affirming such behaviour in his workplace and rationalised by his desire to get ahead. I guess this issue has to be addressed from a societal level and accepting that we all have to change.

2. How do you avoid discrimination on gender within your own teaching practice?

In the teaching context, it would be very biased to use “patriarchy” rules to teach. This would be even more inappropriate in student’s assessments.  I mean, what benefit would it have for a tutor to behave in this manner? Not only this will cause a division in the student and the tutor, it will also create unnecessary tension.

To avoid this type of gender discrimination, I will be talking and discussing such social issues. I once showed a video by Nike and in it features the Hijab. I wanted to show the material of the hijab and the design of this headscarf, which is heavily influenced by the cultural background behind the users whom are very restricted in their expressions and daily lives. The Nike designers are predominantly western-based and through a single material: polyester, the women in these countries can now have the ability to do sports “properly”.

I also talked about Sarah Attar who made Olympic history for Saudi Arabia when she took part in the London 2012 Olympics. She was Saudi-born and had to comply to Islamic laws so she ran in a hijab for the 800m race. Click to see her here.

Through examples like these, I hope to ensure that discussions and lectures are driven to enrich the student’s sensitivity in their cultural environments and allow the individual to flourish according to their strengths.

​ Playing with the Marking Criteria Matrix

Question: What is wrong with these band descriptors?
  • The grade from D/C to B describes judgements from sound to astute. I think they mean the same thing.
  • The use of the word judgement seems difficult for the student to grasp.
  • It seems like the grade from D/C to A means that D/C is in the current (status quo) point-of-view where A grade seems more “future or forward thinking” !
Communication and Presentation
  • The word “Audience” is mentioned frequently and its seems like they are “general” and not focused on the specific area of study for E grade. However, it seems like in D/C there is a distinct difference between specialists and general audience. In A grade, there is no mention of specialists but only the audience’s needs. What is audience’s needs?
  • In B grade, personal style seems to take centerstage but not in A grade.
Collaborative and Independant Professional Working
  • What is “professional” when students might not know that as they hasn’t start their career. How about artists?
  • F grade seems to suggest that he/she is unproductive. This seems not relevant to the context of this category.
  • Self direction and autonomous seems to be repeated often from D/C to A grades.
  • I think this band should be split into individual and collaborative – 2 bands.
Question: Is there anything good about the band descriptors that you would like to retain?
The original band descriptors have some keywords that are useful for my rewriting my version of the band descriptors. I have listed them below in this chart. I have also attempted to write this before the group session but using these keywords. My idea is that keywords will have varying degrees of description but constant throughout the criteria.
We also started to look at how we peer assess each other using the same matrix. Mine is the red tab.
Here, I have always understood that verbal communication is not my forte and has been working on writing down before putting into words. This helps me construct what i want to say and also allows me to go deeper into the conversation with peers.

Reflections on Barnett’s Dispositions and Qualities with the Creative Attributes Framework

Question 1

Are UAL’s Creative Attributes more like Barnett’s ‘qualities’? Or his ‘dispositions’? Is it just a question of phrasing? Comment on a couple of examples.

The keywords sound more like qualities and the supporting sentences are more like dispositions. This policy allows the students to understand some of the aspects it describes. I think self-efficacy seems to be the least understood amongst students when I discussed this with them in my questionnaire on co-writing the Product Design Manifesto, using guidelines from the CAF.
Question 2
The Creative Attributes are explicitly focused on employability and enterprise, i.e. on preparing students for socially useful occupations. What valuable attributes (‘creative’ or otherwise) can you think of that aren’t employment-focused? 
  • Emphatic
  • Sensibility
  • Authentic
  • Original
  • Style character -this is mentioned in Barnett’s text
  • Awareness
  • Autonomous/self-start – this is mentioned in CAF
  • Humour
Question 3
How are these attributes taught in UAL ?
I will reply this question in the context of my course where i teach. In stage 2 and 3, students will be exposed to these values through live client projects. The ability to work on these projects allow the student to build up valuable attributes like communication, agility and resilience. I have also used aspects of these (curiosity and enterprise) in my lectures.I do so by using case studies of companies and cite examples of emerging techniques/technologies.
Question 4
Barnett’s “qualities and dispositions” are about learning, and the CAF is about creative practice. Are they more or less similar than you would expect, given this difference?
Barnett focused on learnings. I think learning is underpinning all creative aspects in the teachings that we do in our course. Processes and typologies are evolving constantly (so learning will be changing as well.) The CAF is written both for an outward facing audience and also our own UAL students. I have used the CAF and our PD course manifesto as context for my studies in the Academic Leadership Elective Unit.  If you read these Barnett’s and CAF together, I would say that the CAF is taking a few references from Barnett’s writings.
Question 5
How do these ideas connect with the theory you’ve been encountering on your elective unit (if you are doing one)?
As I have highlighted earlier, the elective i am working on is Academic Leadership and I have been trying to use the learnings in this session for the portfolio and texts that i am submitting. These are very relevant and the message that we deliver to the students will have an impact on attainment and recruitment. I am currently investigating how the Product Design manifesto can be articulated, using the CAF and co writing it with peers/students.

Reflections on Ron Barnett’s “A Will to Learn, Chapter 8, Dispositions & Qualities”

Question 1
How do you recognise Barnett’s ‘qualities’ in the context of a course you work with? Think of a couple of examples
Integrity. Spotting plagiarism in student’s work is difficult. We are aware that some students have been doing that and we do not have evidence. Recently, a student has been caught “soliciting” project-related work. How can we ensure that we “instill” integrity in our students and ensure they produce work and thinking that originates from them?
Respect. I work with a team of very cooperative peers. We have Monday Morning Meetings which is an opportunity for us to discuss issues (face to face.)This allows us to disseminate any issues to associate lecturers on Thursdays and Fridays. I believe it is this mutual respect that we get up early and be there in time for every meeting!
Courage. The students have been plagued with sexual harassments issues and we take these very seriously. It is an ongoing thing which we have been monitoring and reporting for years. The ability to stand up and speak for themselves is truly courageous in times like today.
Question 2
To what extent do you recognise Barnett’s ‘dispositions’ in your own approach to learning? Assuming this varies, what influences them? 
They are very relevant in what I am learning in T&L now. As I started teaching only in January 2017, this allows me to learn and reflect critically in my Action Learning Tutorials in my Academic Leadership Elective Unit. Barnett’s writings has influenced me in “a sense of “prepardeness” in listening to others“. I have always neglected listening to students and this disposition that Barnet has been proposing allows me to reflect what my feelings were if I am a student asking questions. I felt I should listen to them more attentively. Although my large cohort puts me at a disadvantage, some of Barnet’s values have also influenced the way my teaching methods has in my peers in my course when i describe what i do in T&L. For example, the use of physical objects in a lecture and using a shared google questionnaire in a co working environment to gauge prior understanding before the start of lecture.