At the nexus of learning and innovation

The Design Studio

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About The Design Studio

The Educational Design Research Studio (EDRS or “the design studio” for short) was created as part of Professor Peter Goodyear's Australian Laureate Fellowship project. Research conducted in the design studio aims to gain a rich understanding of collaborative design for learning activities. The design studio is equipped to support small teams of people working on existing or new educational design problems, using their own approaches and/or using design methods, tools and resources that we make available. Because this is a research facility, it is equipped to make high quality audio-visual recordings of all members of the design teams, sufficient to transcribe and/or annotate key passages in the design process, and to playback such passages for stimulated recall debriefings with the designers. It can capture the design discourse, gestures, expressions and other important elements of non-verbal communication within the design team, and the evolving state of their design artefacts.

Virtual Tour

To experience the Design Studio through our 3D Virtual Tour, visit: Design Studio tour

Studio Learning Advantages

Design studios are well established as settings for collaborative work in creative disciplines, such as architecture, art, and product design. Design studios are dedicated group workspaces, offering facilities for the creation and display of shared artefacts, and providing design tools and other design resources. The design studio aims to provide an innovative space to study collaborative design for learning activities.

Design Principles

Research-centred

The Design Studio is a research laboratory, equipped to study collaborative design for learning. The room has video and still cameras and microphones to capture, track, and store design processes, digital and physical artefacts [See Technical Equipment].

Designer-centred

The Design Studio aims to meet the needs of a wide range of designers. Different physical and digital tools are provided to support effective collaborative design work in the design studio. The room aims to provide an, inviting, comfortable, flexible work environment.

Fluid Usability

The Design Studio contains different tools to support design for learning, including the physical (e.g. paper-notebooks, post-its, butcher paper, whiteboard wall, etc.) and the digital (SmartBoard, tablet computers, laptops, etc.). A goal of the design studio is to allow users to switch from one tool to another, intuitively and fluidly, to present, investigate, manipulate, and store designs in different forms. For example, designers can easily transfer data between laptops, tablets computers, and the interactive whiteboard.

Fluid usability

Flexibility

Flexibility refers to several different aspects of The Design Studio. The room is a narrow space measuring 4.8m by 9.6m (48.5 sq m). Furniture and tools in the design studio have been carefully chosen to create a multi-purpose space. The Design Studio space aims to serve a wide variety of educational design team members. Different furniture arrangements and tools allow quickly customisable setups, for example switching between whole and small group work; or switching between formal and informal settings [See Physical Space]. For researchers, the room needs to allow flexible setups to support the investigation of a broad range of research questions. The design studio aims to support both short-term (a few hours) to long-term (several days to weeks) design projects.

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Potential Users

Groups of educational designers

Professional instructional designers, in-service teachers, pre-service teachers, eLearning designers, faculty members who design or re-design courses

 

Using the Design Studio

Potential participants are involved in a collaborative (team-based) design for learning project (for example instructional design, unit of study (course) design or redesign, curriculum design, design of learning spaces, etc.) and are willing to participate in our research studies in the design studio.

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Physical Space

The physical space of the design studio aims to provide a flexible open-space that meets the needs of a wide variety of design groups. The room provides both formal and informal work areas.

Central Table: The Hub

The large central meeting table allows for whole group meetings and doubles as work surface.

The Table

Augmented Projection on whiteboard wall

A novel combination of a whiteboard-painted wall and tablet-controlled projections creates a versatile hybrid of digital and physical space. Users can use the whiteboard wall or the projection by itself, or use physical markers to annotate projected content. Over thirty-three square meters of floor-to-ceiling whiteboard wall provide a generous space for drawings, writing, and brainstorming sessions. Multiple users have access to the wall at the same time and can work synchronously. The advantage of the whiteboard wall is that it serves as a shared space for artefacts that remain on display for the duration of a project phase. On the other hand, the projectors [See Technical Equipment] can be used to quickly access and share dynamic information.

Whiteboard wall

Interactive Whiteboard

The interactive whiteboard supports presentations, video conferences, brainstorming sessions, and small group work. Screenrecording software and SmartBoard tools allow the saving of artefacts. The SmartBoard and the two ceiling mounted projectors allow parallel projection of three different sets of content to support small group work or allow for cross-comparisons.

The Couch

People can have their most creative ideas outside formal settings, for example during coffee breaks. The design studio informal area consists of a couch and several comfortable chairs. The advantage of having an informal area in the room is twofold: First, it allows participants to change settings and relax (especially important for longer sessions). Second, it allows the capturing of data during informal discussions. Additionally, the couch area serves as a breakout space for small group work.

Lighting

Versatile lighting options support different usages of the room, such as group discussions, multi-media presentations, etc. Daylight fluorescent lamps and LED strips are configurable.

 

Technical Equipment

Video-recording

The Design Studio is set up with 3 varifocal 4MP cameras (video only), 4 4MP cameras (audio and video) together with 1 PTZ camera (audio and video), to record movement throughout the space. These cameras are capable of recording multiple feeds, including video and still image footage of 'time lapse' sequences, which is particularly useful for capturing whatever is happening on the walls, table and boards. The varifocal cameras can be zoomed in or out and the PTZ camera can be controlled remotely using a computer, phone or tablet to pan around the room, tilt and zoom in to capture different activity around the room. While the cameras are all ceiling mounted, they can be reconfigured to some extent for specific design activities, such as groups of people working around a table, recording details of their writing and sketching.

The 8 ceiling mounted camera setup is powered by ethernet connection to a network video recorder (NVR), allowing for footage to be recorded directly to this device. The NVR is connected to the internet, allowing for remote recording to other computers and for remote viewing and control. Unlike tripod mounted cameras that can obstruct and interfere with collaborative work, the ceiling mounted cameras are unobtrusive.

Video recording can also be configured to commence once motion is detected or set to start and finish at a particular time.

Audio-recording

Audio is recorded through voice recorders and in-built camera microphones. A typical session will produce four audio feeds from 4 of the ceiling mounted cameras, together with feeds from audio recorders placed in the room or attached to individual participants using lapel microphones.

Projectors

Two ceiling-mounted projectors use the whiteboard walls as projection surfaces. Each projector is connected to a computer and an Apple TV. A remote controlled switch matrix provides control over which projector shows input from which device.

 

Post-Production

Post production of data involves moving video, image, and audio data from our 1TB network video recorder. Once the data is loaded on our working drive the device storage is prepared for the next research session. 

 

Contact Information

The Design Studio is made available to members of CRLI for research purposes, however is subject to availability. Approval must first be requested from CRLI's co-directors Associate Professor Lina Markauskaite or Professor Peter Reimann. If you are interested in booking this space for a research project or would like to find out more, please contact Natasha Arthars (natasha.arthars@sydney.edu.au).