• Class Number 7404
  • Term Code 3160
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Pia van Gelder
    • Elliot Bastianon
    • Pia van Gelder
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 26/07/2021
  • Class End Date 29/10/2021
  • Census Date 14/09/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/08/2021
SELT Survey Results

Contemporary design is a vibrant field of practice characterised by applied creativity, engagement and collaboration as well as the art and craft of making. Definitions of design practice are being reformulated in response to rapid changes in technology, society and environment; design now moves across a wide range of different media, materials and contexts. In the early decades of the twenty-first century we take stock of contemporary design practice, where it has come from, and where it is going.

This course provides a grounding in concepts, practices and issues in contemporary design. Through a combination of practical work, case studies, readings and research, students will develop a critical understanding of design as a discipline in the modern context; its concepts, artefacts, processes and practices. Key themes include functional and aesthetic value; design methods and processes; planning, intention and making; and the social roles and cultural contexts of design. 

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. develop and produce designs in response to a creative brief;
  2. articulate design processes applied in practical design projects;
  3. demonstrate knowledge of the contemporary forms of design and their historic origins; and
  4. demonstrate a critical perspective on design concepts, artefacts and practices.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Lecture: Introduction and Defining Design Activities: What is Design? Design Discourse Mapping “X Design”.
2 Lecture: Problems (and Their Problems) Activities: Introduction to First Year Experience (FYX) Project Design problems, constraints and contexts. Introduction to Case Study assignment.
3 Lecture: Drawing, Planning, Making - Emergent by Design Activities: Paper Wearables Design Sprint. Planning, making and materials.
4 Lecture: Research & Observation Activities: Design problems, constraints and contexts. Assessment: Design Practice Case Study Submission
5 Lecture: Problem Finding, Problem Framing Activities: FYX Insights to How Might We?
6 Lecture: Design and Matter Activities: Assessment development & design process presentations. Group formation. Assessment: Design Process Report Submission
7 Lecture: Design Industry Case Study Activities: FYX: Group process, collaboration tools and models.
8 Lecture: Design Thinking Activities: Group: project development. Design thinking in practice. FYX: Journey Mapping.
9 Lecture: Design Futures & Futures for Design Activities: Design futures exercise – speculative scenarios. Project development.
10 Lecture: None Activities: FYX: Work in Progress Presentations
11 Lecture: None Activities: FYX: Project Development
12 Lecture: None Activities: FYX: Final presentations and review in class Submission: FYX Design Project

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Design Practice Case Study 20 % 20/08/2021 03/09/2021 3,4
Design Process Report 20 % 03/09/2021 17/09/2021 2,3,4
FYX Design Project: First Year Experience at the School of Art and Design 50 % 29/10/2021 12/11/2021 1,2
Participation Folio 10 % 12/11/2021 02/12/2021 1,3,4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 20/08/2021
Return of Assessment: 03/09/2021
Learning Outcomes: 3,4

Design Practice Case Study

Word Length: 750-1000 words 

Choose and investigate a contemporary design studio or practitioner whose work interests you. Prepare a case study that demonstrates your ability to explore, interpret and analyse contemporary design practice in context. Your report should address the following points:

  • Identify - what kind of design practice is this? What forms or traditions of design does your designer pursue? What are the attributes of this form of design? Define your terms clearly, citing sources.
  • Social and Cultural Context - what communities, scenes or cultures is your designer part of? Who are their clients and collaborators?
  • Process - using evidence, characterise your designer’s process.
  • Field and Future - What is your designer’s view of their own field? What ideas about design in society are articulated? How do they see design, and their own work, changing into the future?

Support all your points with clear evidence. Critically evaluate your sources and compare different points of view. Cite all sources in full.

Choosing your Case Study

A list of designers and studios will be provided, along with brief interviews. Either select a candidate from this list, or use one of your own choice, in consultation with your workshop tutor. If choosing your own case study you must confirm your choice with your tutor well in advance.

Assessment Criteria

Your case study will be assessed on how will it demonstrates your ability to:

  1. Understand and identify contemporary design practice and its contexts
  2. Interpret and analyse perspectives on contemporary design
  3. Structure and present written communication 

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 03/09/2021
Return of Assessment: 17/09/2021
Learning Outcomes: 2,3,4

Design Process Report

This report will document your individual preparatory work on the First Year Experience (FYX) design project. It will demonstrate your work in research, observation, problem framing and concept development. Your report should include:

  1. Contextual Research (1 page): Demonstrate your research into first year student experience. Refer to academic papers, student experience programs (at ANU or elsewhere), or relevant design projects. Briefly list key points, and cite all sources in full.
  2. Observational Research (2 pages): Document your observations of the first year experience. These can include first hand personal experience, discussions with peers, observations in the physical and digital environments. Briefly describe the observations you conducted, and present key evidence from your observations Problem Finding and Framing (1 page). Present a problem statement that builds on your research. The problem statement should not be too broad (eg “improve the first year experience”) or too narrow, assuming a specific solution (eg “make an O-Week calendar for the School website”). Based on your problem statement list one or more How Might We statements. How Might We statements should be short and open enough to serve as prompts for your creative thinking.
  3. Concept Sketches (3 pages): Present three concepts for design interventions that respond to your problem statement. Use images and text to clearly communicate the core idea of each concept. Refer to the FYX project brief for information on the range of possible approaches.

Submit your report as an A4 document, divided into pages as outlined above. Use text and images to create a clear, engaging presentation of your ideas.

Present your draft process report in class in Week 6. This non-assessable presentation is a way to share your work with your peers, gather feedback, and plan groups for the FYX project.

Assessment Criteria

Your report will be assessed on how well it demonstrates your ability to:

  1. Investigate and document a complex design challenge
  2. Define a design problem based on research and observation
  3. Develop and communicate design concepts
  4. Structure and present information effectively 

Assessment Task 3

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 29/10/2021
Return of Assessment: 12/11/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

FYX Design Project: First Year Experience at the School of Art and Design

Starting university is a major milestone for students, and an important time for Universities, who are increasingly focused on improving student experience, particularly for new students. Student experience is a complex combination of elements including navigating University systems and processes, as well as finding your way around campus. It includes social and emotional wellbeing - connecting with friends, feeling included, managing stress - as well as physical health. It covers everything from finding a career path, to finding the bus stop.

How can design contribute to improving the first year student experience, in the School of Art and Design? In this project you will work individually and in groups to investigate and understand the first year experience, identify key issues, and design a proposed intervention to improve the experience for new students in the School. You will draw on your own personal experience as well as structured research and observation. Your proposed intervention may take a range of possible forms, including one or more of:

  • Information and communication (for example including signage, maps, websites, apps, posters, social media)
  • Physical environment (temporary or permanent changes to spaces, buildings, landscapes etc) Events and social organisation (meetings, parties, clubs, groups, networks)
  • Systems and processes (for example course selection, enrolment, timetabling)

Your proposal should be practical to implement with a reasonable level of time, energy and resources.

Group Submissions

Working in groups, develop a shared approach to the challenge. Draw on and combine the individual work from your Design Process Reports, with additional research if necessary. Develop and realise your design as much as possible. Depending on the form of your proposed intervention, your submission may include fully realised designs (for example where the outcomes are posters or a website) or mockups, models or renderings where they ideas are more difficult to realise (such as major events or permanent changes to buildings). Discuss with your workshop tutor and take your ideas as far as possible.

Along with your realised design ideas provide all the information needed to show how the design would work in its context within the School and University

Describe and account for your design concept, including:

  • Title
  • Brief description: A one-sentence description of your project
  • Research and Insights: Describe the research and insights that informed your concept Focus: Describe and account for the problem or issue that your design addresses Development: Briefly show and explain how your ideas developed
  • Outcomes: Document the outcomes of your design, and show how your design decisions address the issues you identified

Present your work to the class in Week 12. This non-assessable presentation is a way to share your work with your peers and gather final feedback.

Assessment Criteria

Your submission will be assessed based on how it demonstrates your ability to:

  1. Effectively research, analyse and respond to a complex design challenge (20%)
  2. Develop imaginative and appropriate designs for a complex challenge (60%)
  3. Structure and present information effectively (20%) 

Assessment Task 4

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 12/11/2021
Return of Assessment: 02/12/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,3,4

Participation Folio

During the workshops in this class you will participate in a range of structured activities, discussions, research and design sprints, presentations and more. Your participation in these activities is an important part of your learning in the course. Nominate three in-class activities that you engaged in, and for each one give a brief (150 word) account:

  • Document or describe the activity using text and images
  • Reflect on what you learned from completing it

?Assessment Criteria

Your Participation Folio will be assessed on its demonstration of:

  1. Engagement with class activities and content
  2. Reflective understanding of your own learning 

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
  • Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Pia van Gelder
02 6125 9586

Research Interests

Pia van Gelder

By Appointment
Elliot Bastianon
Elliot.Bastianon@a nu.edu.au

Research Interests

Elliot Bastianon

Pia van Gelder
02 6125 9586

Research Interests

Pia van Gelder

By Appointment

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions