TCP2031 : Digital Civics - designing applications for digital public engagement
- Offered for Year: 2018/19
- Module Leader(s): Dr Sebastian Weise
- Owning School: Architecture, Planning & Landscape
- Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
|Semester 2 Credit Value:||20|
The aims of this module are to introduce students to user-centred design (incl. user research, prototyping, user testing) and development of a digital application prototype. Avoiding a theoretical treatment, students work with a client, e.g. community groups, local governments, charities) on design a prototype of a digital application. Sample projects from the last year include, a platform to support volunteering and skill attainment, a dashboard for an energy cooperative, a digital game to engage young people in master plans, and a public air quality meter. With no coding skills required, on this module you learn to research, design, and propose a prototype the client can implement. In the process, students learn about the design process for a digital application, digital media, entrepreneurship, and what it means to work for a client. These skills are of increasing importance for individuals joining the planning profession.
Outline Of Syllabus
The module combines theory and practice through a series of weekly lectures, practice-focused seminars, and an accompanying client project. Students develop a work relationship with the client assigned by the module leader, and engage in a consultancy project. Lectures and seminars are designed to provide all essential support. Additionally, students are supported by a project mentor with expertise in the area the project is in.
The indicative sequence of lectures includes:
1. Topic intro and module overview: What is the ‘digital civic’ turn in urban planning?
2. Intro to user research: Intro of, e.g., contextual interviews and similar simple techniques for requirements gathering with users
3. Overview of key technologies enabling digital civics: No programing skills are required.
4. Creativity and tools for the design process: An overview of design thinking and some tools to document insights from user research, such as story boards, and process maps
5. Feedback session: Teams present initial findings and receive feedback from staff and fellow-students.
6. Local government and digital technology: A look at IT transformation in local government to enable digital public services.
7. Civic groups and digital technology: A look at software and digital media used by civic groups in their campaigns
8. Prototyping techniques: An intro to the role of prototyping in design processes; a basic overview of simple techniques for visually prototyping an app / service idea. No technical skills are required.
9. Introduction to usability testing: We discuss how interactive prototypes can be used to test and validate project ideas .
10. Project surgeries: Help with project work
11. Pathways: What is involved in taking your idea forward
12. Final project presentations
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Lecture||11||2:00||22:00||Formal lectures|
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Lecture||1||2:00||2:00||Final presentation|
|Guided Independent Study||Directed research and reading||12||5:00||60:00||Working within project group|
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Workshops||11||2:00||22:00||Design workshops|
|Guided Independent Study||Project work||1||94:00||94:00||Working within project group|
Teaching Rationale And Relationship
This module raises students’ awareness of digital technologies in processes of public choice, for example, as part of a participatory / consultative campaign. Thus the module teaches, discusses, and involves projects involving people and technologies in a context of an applied problem context. Thus, the teaching methods emphasise guided live client projects that put students in the position of a designer and advisor for a community group or other third party stakeholder. Outputs from such design-based teaching, including learning logs, creative and visual designs, are best suited to enable students to understand and handle failure and successes in a constructive way. Self-reflective practice, within for client project, challenges students to be self-evocative to their problem-solving capacity, integrity, and resilience. Evaluation of knowledge through blogs, all hands meetings, and a client presentation also encourages risk taking, creativity. The team projects enhance students’ ability to collaborate and develop a client-focused approach combined with understanding of technological possibilities.
The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners
|Design/Creative proj||2||M||45||This component assesses designs produced (including story boards, videos, presentation slide, and app prototypes).|
|Report||2||M||45||Group work, Reflective log documenting the teams' activities, challenges, failures. 5,000 words.|
|Prof skill assessmnt||2||M||10||Peer assessment|
|Oral Presentation||2||M||Interim group presentation and progress review|
Assessment Rationale And Relationship
The assessment contains a group-based client project fostering collaboration and team-work, widely expected in the ‘industry’ and thereby fosters students’ employability . Based on student feedback, the module assessment contains elements of peer assessment and individual contribution to encourage equal effort.
• For the group project, the write-up of a prototype or concept, the reflective log, and peer-evaluation is an appropriate set of assessments to assess both theoretical understanding and problem solving skills as relevant for design contexts. Assessments were chosen so to pro-vide incentives for work consistently spread throughout the term.
• The log enables students to rotate writing posts so to include a personal voice and open space for individual interests and observations.
The assessment methods have been chosen so that they test the student groups’ work commitment throughout the term. Keeping a self-reflective process document encourages students to keep engaged with their client project and will be combined with a non-assessed feedback presentation early on into the module (week four). In this non-assessed presentation, student groups will present their client project, the problems they are seeking to ad-dress, and the method they are planning to take. Feedback from the student audience and the lecturer will give them input at an early stage.
The client output (report and / creative project) as well as the reflective log are weighted equally. The client has an influence on the assessment of the creative project through the final client presentations and a feedback form provided to them.