Improving the Online Design Education Experience

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Design education usually takes place in a studio setting, in which visual and spatial artefacts are produced, shared, improved, presented and commented. This specific setting comes with qualitative properties that allow for situated learning with object-oriented focus and interaction, combined with a rich collegial context in which ideas can flourish and certain values and ethics are cherished. Using our education platform for online learning, we noticed the lack of support for typical creative and social design studio aspects, while factual classroom education was well supported. This paper describes how we attempt to translate the qualities of the studio education setting into an online environment for design education. Our approach is not to build a Virtual Design Studio (VDS) from the bottom up, but instead, to build on top of our universities' online education platform of choice. The paper commences with a short description of design education in a studio setting. Then a number of basic principles of design studio education is applied to the development of two Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). In the last section we discuss the different setups and compare the online aspects with on campus design studio education.