Developing the design curriculum: a case study of student centred professional framework modules
Over recent years there has been an increased understanding by UK business of the role that design
can play in enhancing competitiveness and innovation, there is also a growing recognition by
government of the value that design can add to the economy. Aligned to this is the growing discourse
surrounding the appropriate development of UK Design education.
The Design Blueprint document published by the Design Skills Advisory Panel in 2008 highlights key
topics for inclusion within curriculum development as being; the strengthening of partnerships
between education and industry, ensuring that design students in colleges and universities have the
right skills, developing networks of visiting design professors to better connect education with
professional practice, and the joined-up promotion of multi-disciplinary approaches. Building courses
that provide students with opportunities to develop knowledge, skills and understanding outside the
core traditional design skill-set, placing value upon the breadth and transferability of skills as
increasingly viewed with importance by the design industry.
This paper details the introduction of a series of modules upon the BA (Hons) Product Design course
at The University of Salford UK. The modules aim to synergize student engagement in the key areas
of commercial awareness, transferability of skills and industry readiness. In conclusion the authors’
provide a reflective evaluation of the modules in their first year of delivery, engaging students’ staff
and industry viewpoints, identifying further opportunities for the development of module content,
delivery and assessment.