Writing in Design: Lessons from Lucerne

Year: 2010
Editor: Boks W; Ion, W; McMahon, C and Parkinson B
Author: Nyffenegger Franziska Katharina
Page(s): 532-537


This paper examines the use of blogs in the context of a new Swiss MA programme in design. Design
students regularly feel ambivalent and openly reluctant about writing assignments. They lack casual
writing practice and a process-oriented understanding of the writing act. The installation of an in-class
blog intended to break this aversion to writing by regularly assigning tasks on a blog. This approach
was tested in the first and second run of the new programme (2008/09 and 2009/10). The results are
promising and serve to draw conclusions for best practice.
To begin with, this practice-based paper outlines the historical and institutional background of the
studied case. It then reviews the role of writing in higher education and particularly in design
education. It also pays special attention to problems peculiar to writing education in German-speaking
countries. The main part evaluates recent educational experience. It explains how blogs may help to
loosen writing reluctance, to support collaborative writing experience, and to strengthen discourse
competence. Finally, the design of writing assignments is scrutinised with the aim of developing best
practice models.

Keywords: Academic writing, writing in design, blog as learning tool, curricular development, design education


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