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.

Micro-teaching the teachers

I do a lot of lectures to a large group of students so I should not be nervous. However, before the micro-teaching session started, I felt a bit nervous. I don’t know why.

Nevertheless, I was eager to show as I have done some preparation work on this session. My objective was to introduce the injection moulding process and how it can be used across different categories. This is a common mass-production process and a basic understanding for product designers. I was hoping to introduce this process to a non-technical student/person/teacher.

Since it is two weeks before Easter, I have a set of eight cards/steps that show how injection moulding is/can be used to make a chocolate bar. I started off the introduction using a Lego® toy by saying it is one of the most recognisable item and it is mass produced by plastic injection moulding. On the table, I have six other objects, Unilever®  Lynx/ Baby Dove soaps, Cadbury® chocolate bars and a cupcake wrapper.

What I would have done differently?

I would have used questions to engage my audience/students/teachers. I would ask them if they knew what I am going to teach before I start. This small group teaching is very different from my large group 90+ students lecture and I always wanted to show products (as examples) in my lectures but found it really difficult. Product design students need to see these samples to learn and engage the objects in front of them. I have used the visualiser in lectures and depend heavily on images and slides (keynote/powerpoint). I am always looking at ways of implementing this type of visual studies in my lectures and seminars.

The next step for me is to try this type of teaching in the second week of Summer Term on Product Design students. I will be showing them the CSM materials library section using texture samples, material samples, colour reference charts and discuss potential methods of manufacturing to illustrate how they can design small size mass produced products.

Click on this link to see feedback from my peers during this session.

Reflections on Innovative pedagogies series: Wow: The power of objects in object-based learning and teaching by Dr Kirsten Hardie

I find this is a well-structured way to learn to be curious. All her 3 case studies were conducted on 80+ students (in groups) which is similar to my teachings. Product design students need this! This activity provokes students to understand/learn in various ways: aesthetics, judgement, observation, analyse, meaning, drawing, visual literacy, key issues and context, etc. Students need to learn to push the boundaries, be on the “cutting edge” and be “unusual”.

Such activity can be identified as “reflection in action” (Schön, 1983): students reflect, evaluate & take action and make decisions during the activity.

Objects are important in Product Design. They can relive/retell the experience of the owner who owns the object and how one can relate one’s experience of this item with another person. An astonished “wow” or “oooh” as an acknowledgement for those who are familiar with that item and can either be unique/unusual or truly original.

Perhaps, the aim of OBL is to move away from describing beyond function and purpose to taste and enquiry. The concept of Enquiry Based Learning does resonate well with the object and the viewer and generates spontaneity, interest and engagement in the subject matter.

The plastic problem is now under a lot of scrutiny and the MODIPs relevance has shifted into mass produced. This is interesting to note.

Cohort Seminar Follow up for “The” Student Experience.

What role does our personal history play in our experience of learning?

Through my personal life experiences, I have developed an ability to empathise with someone who is about to go through what I have gone through while studying at design school. I aim to teach the fundamentals/essentials but also illustrate emerging subjects to a diverse and large cohort of students. Growing up in a multicultural society in Singapore, I understood the importance of diversity. We need to acknowledge an individual’s passions and limits. It is important to give them freedom and allow them to play seriously. I frown upon teaching to meet what the industry needs. I think design school allows one to develop radical concepts that challenges the industry.

What do we do with what we learn?

1. Store, and retrieve

2. Unlearn

3. Share

Store, and retrieve. I teach technology, technical and techniques in product design. I am constantly researching new material and this informs what I teach. My lectures have to be carefully curated due to a substantial amount of material I have accumulated over the years.

Unlearn. We should not accept new knowledge or learnings as truth. We can use the knowledge acquired to question its authenticity and challenge it, where necessary. This can provoke further investigations into the subject matter and uncover new knowledge

Share. Perhaps this is the first thing a teacher would do. Tutors’ dual roles as current practitioners and educators is beneficial to students learnings, especially when a tutor share their area of expertise to students . However, “too many cooks spoil a broth”happens when the student cannot grasp how to make sense of all the comments. So, it is important to disseminate information according to learning levels of each student.

What are the risks in encountering new ways of thinking, being and making?

This new way of thinking might be confusing to students. “Making” is pragmatic and can be seen as a form of experimentation during the early stages of their course. We encourage this in stage one. “Being” is transient and I believe this is less pragmatic than making. If “being” is explained as an experience of some form, they can perhaps understand it better. The concept of “being” is important in the later stages of the course. Very often we (my course) see ourselves as a course which is a BA trying to be an MA. The students experiences a dichotomy in how they create their work/projects. A quarter of the final year students will grasp this experience(being) and push it extremely well but the rest will have confusion/conflicts during their studies. If “being” and “making” is working, the student’s learning experience would be greatly improved.

How does learning change the way we experience ourselves?

Learning allows me to view current issues with a curious mind. Not to reject it or be cynical. Often, it refreshes my approach to lectures and tutorials. As a studies leader/researcher, I acknowledged that design can be interdisciplinary. My research area is in emerging near-future typologies and they are relevant in the areas of my technical teachings for the students. I became more critical about what I do in my professional current practice and question what is more imperative: the final result or the process ?

Do you agree with Huxley’s view on experience? “Experience is not what happens to you. It’s what you do with what happens to you”. (Aldous Huxley 1932, Texts and Pretexts)

In the teaching context, this is relevant and I agree with him. Students might not perform under pressure. They can also be over ambitious and that can lead to failure. Through these they learn. My case studies and lectures tend to honour the good examples/”best practises”. Recently, I have been reading books on failure, product recalls and the Museum of Failure. I think they can also benefit from learning what has failed. Once the student graduates and start practising, the work environment is dynamic, unforgiving and harsh. The prior experiences becomes more relevant and useful. It is what they have achieved or failed earlier that makes them stand out from their future work.

Teaching and Learning Seminar 1


Communications/ Freedom of speech

We wonder if the students have more freedom of speech instead of the tutors. This is a value that art school students have (intrinsically) but we have seen this being misused in recent cases where racism nazi logos were expressed as art.

Balance / intuition and critical thinking.

I believe that using a hands-on/practical approach can be a way to develop these values when we teach. The act of experiencing with the activity allows the student to learn through success/failure and the prior process will be the start for them to reflect/think through the critical aspects.

Open-minded and un-biased perspectives

In large group teaching, sometimes its difficult to know each student’s work and personal preferences.. So, it is inevitable that a tutor would have favourite names and remember some more than others. I have a problem remembering all the names in a large cohort. The work around is to carry a name list with their faces and go through them each time before a lecture. This is helpful, especially, for getting to know new Stage 1 students.

In group tutorials, keeping a neutral perspective is important and so is encouragement/advices to each student in the group.

Risk taking, play and experimentation

An important part of the student experience should be based on this, I believe. The main focus should be serious play, a way to reflect your failures and build on quickly in the near future. In my opinion, my students are focused on getting a good grade and have neglected the opportunity to use the process to experiment.

Professional approach

Part of what I have been practising (in my professional career) for the last decade was a subliminal example of how I can be a role model and inspire my students in our learning context (which is a healthy environment of experimentation!)

Empathy / Compassion

Almost all of us in the PGC course has gone through the same experience as the students. I have also made a point not to stress students out a few days before submission datelines.

NSS context: I believe the NSS survey occurs at the worst time of the year as students’ final project grades have just be released and there will inevitably be a few disgruntled students and rants.

Honesty  (Sincerity, Realistic)

Authenticity is what I find missing this is discussion when I mentioned it to the team. In my area of teaching, we have to ensure that we instil the correct examples and portray a good example. There are a lot of “noise” out there and we have to teach the imperatives instead of the unnecessary.   

Reflections on texts by Vilhauer and Munday


Chapter 3, Understanding Art: The Play of Work and Spectator by Vilhauer

The concept of serious play that Gadamer describes in this text is important in my context of large group teachings.

I give my students the freedom to ask questions while I am delivering a lecture. I encourage them to do so. This allows them to engage quickly in the knowledge and allows me to gauge if they have been listening and reflecting. I think this participation is an important part of play. This will encourage students to experiment and be bold when doing it.

According to Gadamer, human play reaches it’s ultimate complete form in the work of art. Initially, I thought this was a good example as I relate this to the visuals that I use to show students when describing an issue in teaching. Later on, I also started to experiment/use movies or moving imagery to highlight the context. This act now becomes a “play” which is acted out in a very clear  and dominating manner where it becomes “real”

So once you have experienced the “play”, you would be able to relate that to your peers and initiate a further discussion.  This would mean that what I have shown earlier has made an impression and they would perhaps investigate further.

The classroom: a problem or a mystery? by Dr Ian Munday

This is a more recent and easier to understand text/concept on the factors that surround current teaching phenomenology(IMO)

An issue that always bothers me is that large group lectures (80-100 students) that I give once/twice each week (6-7 weeks total) can be very disruptive for their current projects. Hence I have started to look at how I can align some of my teachings to the project work that they are doing now.

Almost at the end of my lecture, there would be silence when I ask : “If you have any more questions ?” And then followed by applauses at the end… ( Since then, I have questioned myself:  Why do I ask? and if there is a way to get feedback from students without even asking?)

So when I see the title of this text, the silence sort of makes me think that I might have a problem with my lecture hence its silent at the end. For me that is still a mystery i have yet to find out….

In the text, he mentioned Gabriel Marcel’s concepts of “Being and Having“ which is a good way to explain my sentiments.

I see “Being” as an experience. This can be temporary and it can be ritual that the student experiences almost everyday when he learns something new/important. “Having” the knowledge acquired is not  important any more and a student will start to generate new thoughts and ideas using these as a starting point.

The text ends with a notion that describes a certain freedom which allows creativity to happen. Instead of containing and regulating the classroom, a bit of uncertainty and mystery might help spark creativity. This echoes Gadamer’s text earlier.

I have known the usefulness of a lesson plan and I should sometimes allow some flexibility and play in it to encourage engagement and learning.

Reflections on Palmquist, S. 2004. Kant’s Ideal of the University as a Model for World Peace. In International Conference on 200 Years after Kant.

The concept of a World Citizenship is intriguing. The philosopher attempts to use debates to bring different genres of people together. Such diversity seems to be conflicting and he seems to look at it from a very different and holistic view. I felt he is an idealist and is optimistic when he writes this.

I like the way he describes the idea of an open conflict which is the basis for a peaceful and creative debate in academia. This was a regulated attempt to celebrate “diversity” and I think this metaphor is very appropriate for today.

Kant also mentions retrogression, progression and stagnation. A concept where he sees experience as constantly evolving and generating a moral “reasoning”

In these writings, we can see Kant’s influences for the last 200 years. I wonder if we can apply some those concepts today and what can we learn from there? From that period until now, there has been increased tensions, resulting in war and terrorist activities. I have learnt that universities can be seen as instruments of peace, bringing the balance back and embracing mutual respect.

Reflections on Whitehead, A.N. 1929. Universities and their Function. In the Aims of Education and other essays. The Free Press. pp91-101

These writings are refreshing for me as it describes the histories of some of the most elitist colleges in UK and US. This is written at the time when the business school is starting in Harvard.

I want to bring your attention to the point where he says that a way to connect between the young and the old is the University. Currently, this is not necessary true as a fair number of students do stay on in their respective academic fraternity after they graduate and gradually turning into key figures.

In some aspects, his thinking is quite ahead of his time in this writing. He “hints” on globalisation and the business effects it has and he sees the results of people moving across borders as good for future generations.

His discussion on “how prolonged work routine dulls the mind of young men….hence, we need to find ways to deter this” is intriguing and I have started to look at what I do from what he said about the imaginative acquisition of knowledge.

He also sees how the scholars, discoverers and inventors can be part of the force that develops into the “Instruments of Progress”, a thinking which I have started to take notice now.

Also, the statement where he says “that some of the more brilliant teachers are not among those who publish” is interesting and applicable, as a practitioner/teacher like me, need to find the balance as i think direct communications with my students is perhaps more approachable than books.

This has reminded me of the 2008 Harvard commencement by JK Rowling, which is also a book: Very good lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the importance of Imagination.

Reflections on Aoun, J. 2017. A Learning Model for the Future. In Higher education in the age of artificial intelligence. MIT Press. pp45-75


This is very relevant today and I felt this is very close to what my interests are. New typologies have emerged as a result of an acceleration in AI technologies and machine learning. The writings mentioned humanics. I think these concepts unifies my thinking on how I can start to leverage some of these in my teachings: marrying technology, data and irreplaceable human “literacy”

The other aspects mentioned were cognitive capacities which highlights critical thinking, systems thinking, entrepreneurship and cultural agility. This has allowed me to look at how we can use these insights to inform my teachings in technical studies where cultural diversity and sensitivity is important in my diverse cohort. I can start to think about how I can use an inclusive approach to deliver a technical lecture.

Our group discussion also highlights that this text is written in a “she” context which is interesting and refreshing. Perhaps, the author has taken an emphatic approach to highlighting situation of more women in technology /STEM subjects.

about KC…

“My teaching area is technical studies in under/postgraduate Product Design/Industrial Design. There are situations where I need to conduct lectures, workshops and tutorials to enable students to use appropriate technology, techniques and technical means to learn and reflect upon their designs.

Each lecture that I give usually has around 70-100 students and they are aligned to a specific unit of study. I hope to gain an in-depth understanding of how to work with a large class student teaching and also perhaps use a different approach to teach international students. My students have various learning capabilities due to this mix. Eventually, I hope to be able to inspire them to reflect upon their learnings and knowledge.”

KC Leong

Product, Ceramics and Industrial Design/BA Product Design/Tech Studies Lead

Spring 2018/PGCert: Academic Practice in Art, Design and Communication/Teaching /Learning Cohort B/Academic Leadership