An integrated teaching strategy: Reflecting on a collaborative design project



Design Education Research


  • problem-solving, multi-disciplinary education, hermeneutic, collaborative research


An integrated teaching strategy was employed at a first year level in the Department Interior Design to strengthen the connection between first year modules and include participation from a related design discipline in the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture. The teaching strategy aimed to integrate the knowledge and skills that students gain within separate modules and develop their understanding of the interdependence of content that is taught throughout the programme and across departments.

This paper reflects on a collaborative project which addressed and introduced the aim of this teaching strategy. The project was conducted across three first year modules within the Interior Design programme and extended to involve third year participation in the Department of Industrial Design. The collaboration and involvement of the third year Industrial Design students exposed the first years to a related design discipline and introduced a multidisciplinary dimension to the project.

The collaborative project introduced first year students to the design problem solving process and advanced the lateral thinking process for third year students. This was done through exploring and integrating the parts (components) of a project before assembling the three-dimensional space or object.

A hermeneutical understanding is therefore introduced which challenges the existing understanding of the student and assisted in stimulating an understanding of lateral thinking solutions. The reflection presented in this paper includes feedback from students which was obtained through the presentation of a project evaluation questionnaire. Findings are presented to explain both the complexities as well as the successes of the project.

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