Design Competence in ICT Education
Editor: Lyndon Buck, Geert Frateur, William Ion, Chris McMahon, Chris Baelus, Guido De Grande, Stijn Verwulgen
Author: Tore Gulden, Frode Eika Sandnes, Laurence Habib
Institution: Oslo og Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Norway
Section: Engineering and Product Design Practice
The new discrimination law in Norway requires new products and environments to be developed in such a way that they can be used by as many people as possible. In response to this legislation the applied information technology curriculum at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences has been adjusted to incorporate universal design (UD). This curriculum is the basis for this case study which addresses the possible effects the role of design might have if included as a study module in a technically-oriented bachelor program. The empirical data discussed in this case study have been gathered from three types of sources: final year bachelor project reports, focus group interviews and a questionnaire. The study indicates that there is a growing awareness among students and educators at the College that knowledge engendered from working with design processes can influence the outcome of information technology projects to become more innovative, contextual, conceptual and holistic. The study suggests that making design an inherent part of the curriculum enables students to create and evaluate a variety of information and communication technology (ICT) concepts targeting the general public. Although the students consider themselves as a link between engineers and interface designers, their written work shows relatively little focus on the enabling dimension of usability in universal design, which indicates that they lack universal design competence. Among the main implications of the study is the need to modify the required learning outcomes of an information technology curriculum so as to include theoretical knowledge and practical competence related to universal design.