New Teaching Portfolios: David Weeks, Industrial Design

The act of designing products is a complex process and is a form of communication of ideas with the goal of solving problems or needs.  Creating sketches of ideas is just one form of visual communication that is used to convey the designer’s ideas.  Product designers also use presentation renderings, computer-generated virtual 3D models, dimensioned technical drawings, actual real-life models and working prototypes, written communication, as well as oral communication to explain their ideas to engineers, manufacturers, regulatory bodies (where applicable), sales and marketing personnel, management, clients, and any other stakeholders implicated in the design, manufacture, sales and service, purchasers and users, and increasingly, the recyclers of products.  Product designers are concerned about materials, manufacturing and assembly methods, ergonomics, sustainability, regulations, and semantics, among others.  So, it will be evident that communication is a complicated undertaking in this profession!  Mistakes and misunderstanding can be very costly in terms of time and money lost, materials waste, and sometimes the safety and security of both products and their users.  It is crucial that designers be competent in these varied ways of communication to ensure success for all stakeholders connected to the lifecycle of a product.

Can Writing in the Disciplines be of value to students in the Industrial Design program at the college? The answer is ‘yes’!  Writing and written communication is considered very important, as students will be required to write research reports, project proposals, descriptions of project work, and annotations to design concepts, among other types of writing, depending on their courses’ individual requirements.  They are required to be clear and concise in their work to convey what they are thinking, which also allows them to better consider and evaluate their own ideas themselves.  Therefore, any techniques which can be of benefit to helping students attain the program’s competencies and to become more autonomous as they progress through the program are welcome.

Fortunately, students work creatively in their program courses, so they are already open to numerous project formats and to experimentation.  This is an advantage when implementing new ideas as they are more willing to accept change.

Through interesting and informative WID group discussions and the excellent accompanying text by John Bean, Engaging Ideas, I found that there were many interesting and appropriate methods of implementing writing into my courses that can create more dynamic and varied learning activities for students, which should lead to more effective attainment of the program’s competencies.  For me, implementing WID principles is a continual work-in-progress, an evolution of experimentation and analysis from one course to another.  I have found that it is beneficial to me as well as to students, as I consider the results of my experiments and their effect on students and their work.  Explore these experiments in depth on my teaching portfolio page.

New Teaching Portfolios: Carmen Cristea, Français

WID a été pour moi à la fois un vrai défi et une grande opportunité. Si je devais résumer en quelques mots ce que cette expérience m’a apporté, ce serait tout d’abord une grande ouverture d’esprit. Il s’agit ouverture d’esprit au niveau de pratiques d’enseignement, mais aussi en ce qui concerne ma relation en tant qu’enseignante avec l’institution scolaire et les institutions sociales qui nous modèlent et que nous représentons.  Pour en decouvrir plus, cliquer ici…

New Teaching Portfolios: Sonia Zylberberg, Religion

Over the course of the WID fellowship, I came across many ideas that caught my interest and enthusiasm.  In thinking about my WID portfolio, I realized I wanted to put into practice all (or at least some) of these, and that, in fact, a portfolio was the ideal framework within which to do so.

So… my portfolio is a portfolio.

A portfolio is both a framework and a container. It provides a focus for the thinking and writing and, then, the fabric that holds the various focused “texts” together.

One of the ideas that impressed me most  from the WID readings and discussions was the importance of audience – to get the students engaged in what they are writing by having them address actual people and situations that mattered to them, not just writing for the teacher to get a grade. I was already using a variety of genres, and hypothesized that the addition of audience would increase engagement for the students. I decided to play with different audiences and different genres, in the hope that each student would be reached at least once.

The context is my “Intro to World Religions” course, which has a theme of religious pluralism: How different religions can co-exist, peacefully for the most part, in today’s Montreal/Quebec/Canadian multicultural and multi-faith society.

The portfolio I designed is made up of six parts: each one addressing a different question, reading, genre, and audience. The sixth one is a comprehensive assessment in which the student rereads his/her previous texts, and reflects on the way these contribute to an overall picture for her/him.

To view all my assignment ideas, view my complete portfolio here.