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Process Books for Assessing How Students Think About Design

Instructor:  Multiple (reported by Dan Boyarski)
Scope:  Project-based courses, School of Design, CFA
Assessment Tool:  Process Books for Assessing How Students Think About Design

Motivation:

Design is largely a process-oriented field. However, project-based courses in design, particularly those in which students are assigned semester long projects, did not have any formal method to assess a student’s design-process, and the thinking that went into the project by the individual student. While the final product of the project is assessed in a group critique forum, the instructors were looking for ways in which to assess process.

Goal:

To assess the process of working through a design problem.

Method/Tools:

The use of “process books” where students track their process on design projects throughout the semester.

Implementation:

All students in studio classes that require semester long projects keep process books that cover the entire process of the project. The process books are used in conversations with students about their progress.

Impact:

Process books have supplemented the student portfolios as a key assessment tool.  They have allowed faculty to more directly assess how students think about design. Often this thought process is more revealing about their learning than the final product of the portfolio. Employers who are interested in recruiting CMU design graduates often ask students for their process books, and in some cases are more interested in looking at these rather than at the student portfolios.

Challenges:

None reported

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