Teaching Experience

Design, Culture, and Context I/II is a required lecture course held on Monday and Wednesday with five teaching assistants serving +150 students from throughout the College of Design. The D102-002 section that I assisted was created to accommodate the scheduling needs of College of Textiles students. This is an example of an in-class activity I led with the students.

Lesson plan for in-class workday for Cultural Timeline group project

In preparation for their final group presentations, I lead the students in an in class activity to facilitate the organization of information and begin the design of their final presentation.


In Class Workday on Cultural Timeline Group Project

 Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to…

Identify significant events from their culture that relate to design.

Compare and contrast their events with the other members of their groups.

Organize and edit the events into a timeline that illustrates all group members’ story.

Formulate a design strategy for presenting the timeline visually.

Determine the roles of each group member in creating their presentation.

Strategies and Procedures

Individual Brainstorming:

Classroom is arranged into groups of three with each table supplied with post it notes and markers. Students sit with their assigned group members and are asked to rapidly brainstorm ideas for significant events from their lives that are relevant to design. Each idea is written onto a post-it note. This is an individual activity that takes five to seven minutes.

Group Affinity Diagramming:

Each group is given a large sheet of white paper. Each group is given the task to arrange their events on the paper. The groups discuss how to group or cluster their events and how they want to tell the over all story of their timeline. Also, students edit which events to include or remove based on overall story or requirements of the rubric.

This activity takes the majority of the class period, with the instructor answering questions and providing guidance when necessary. Fifteen minutes into the activity, the instructor informs the students to be prepared to discuss their overall approach to the timeline and their assigned roles at the end of class. Students are allowed to use their computers or use on the iMacs in the hallway to plan out their presentation once they have ordered their post-its and have a clear vision of their story.

Group Presentation:

With fifteen minutes left in class, each group takes a turn to stand up and explain their affinity diagram. They explain how the post-its are organized, ranging from chronological order to loose clusters, and any visual or design ideas for the presentation. The students also state their roles in the building the project. The instructor asks questions for clarity as needed and restates the requirements for presentations to assure each group understands their tasks.

At the end of class, the affinity diagrams are taken home with the groups.


Feedback from reflections on the Cultural Timeline Project

Professor Kathleen Rieder: Amina’s choice of the brainstorming activity and overall organization of the class discussion and the classroom space completely empowered and energized the students. The final products were successfully accomplished due to the exercise she introduced.

Samantha Burdett: I feel as though the one thing that really helped in putting together the time line was the sticky notes that we completed in class. By doing that first, and getting it out of the way, we were able to easily identify the subjects that would be identified in our timeline, what we had in common, and how to completely organize it.

Caroline Cox: Working with the sticky notes in class was a very successful way to gather the information and to put together different ideas about the project.

Meredith Crisp: The day we had the post-it notes and big pieces of paper in class were very beneficial. Working on the project in class and sharing with the class really gave our group a good idea of what the teachers were looking for and how to execute the final presentation.

Laruen Michelakis: The sticky notes that we wrote in class especially helped in preparation for our final project. We were able to really think about what defined our history through design, who influenced us, and how we got where we are today.

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