Advanced Seminar on Design


Prof. Pratim Sengupta

pratim.sengupta at ucalgary dot ca

Course Description

The goal of this course is to engage critically with scholarship on the design of learning environments, within and closely related to the field of Learning Sciences. Our focus will be both methodological and epistemological in nature. We will study design as a general practice, as well as a practice that is methodologically central to scholarship in the Learning Sciences. We will develop historically grounded understandings of how theories, frameworks and learning environments (broadly conceived) – e.g., spaces, languages, technologies, communities, etc. – have been developed and refined over time. We will examine designs that attend to various time scales of experience and histories, and also consider how scholarship in education, computing, psychology, sociology and the humanities (in no particular order) continue to deeply shape the field. In addition to scholarly readings, the course will also involve ongoing and iterative engagement with designing and investigating learning environments.

Extended Description

In this course, our goal will be to develop a deep understanding of design as epistemology, methodology and praxis in the Learning Sciences. Theory and design have historically co-developed in the Learning Sciences, and to develop a sense of this historicity, we will carefully examine the phenomenological turns – key metaphorical shifts – that have shaped both scholarship in the Learning Sciences, as well as practice of design in public education writ large.

We will adopt a critical phenomenological stance which involves thinking carefully about heterogeneous experiences that undergird design of learning environments, as well as historical and systemic structures and constraints that privilege certain forms of experience over others. We will examine questions such as: How do our learning theories get shaped by and shape design? Who are the designers, and who are marginalized in design? What are the historically contingent fields of experience in which design unfolds? How can design support critical transdisciplinarity? How are bodies represented in design? Etc.

The final project will involve writing a research proposal that synthesizes relevant readings from this seminar along with readings relevant to your specific research interest (to be decided in consultation with your advisor). The overall objective of this proposal would be present an argument for design of a new theory or a learning environment or a pedagogical approach or a technological artifact in order to support learning, in the specific field of practice you are interested in.

Themes & Readings

Innovation, Iteration and Design Thinking: Essential Criticisms

  • Irani, L. (2019). Chasing Innovation: Making Entrepreneurial Citizens in Modern India (Vol. 22). Princeton University Press. (Chapter 1: Innovators and their Others).
  • Pendleton-Jullian, A. M., & Brown, J. S. (2018). Design Unbound: Designing for Emergence in a White Water World. MIT Press. (Volume 1, Chapter 4: Rapid Iteration in a Problem Solving Space)
  • Norman, D. (2013). The design of everyday things: Revised and expanded edition. Basic books. (Chapter 6: Design Thinking).

Who are Designing?

  • Fletcher, J. K. (1998). Relational practice: A feminist reconstruction of work. Journal of Management Inquiry, 7(2), 163-186..
  • Irani, L. C., & Silberman, M. (2016, May). Stories we tell about labor: Turkopticon and the trouble with design. In Proceedings of the 2016 CHI conference on human factors in computing systems (pp. 4573-4586). ACM.
  • Rosner, D. (2019). Whose stories underpin design?: reworking our methods with design fabulations. interactions, 26(5), 20-21.

Design as Methodology in DBR

  • DiSessa, A., & Cobb, P. (2004). Ontological Innovation and the Role of Theory in Design Experiments. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 13(1), 77-103.
  • Sandoval, W. (2014). Conjecture mapping: An approach to systematic educational design research. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 23(1), 18-36.
  • Gutiérrez, K. D., & Jurow, A. S. (2016). Social design experiments: Toward equity by design. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 25(4), 565-598.

Disciplinarity and Design: An Epistemological Journey

  • Palinscar, A. S., & Brown, A. L. (1984). Reciprocal teaching of comprehension-fostering and comprehension-monitoring activities. Cognition and instruction, 1(2), 117-175.
  • Engle, R. A., & Conant, F. R. (2002). Guiding principles for fostering productive disciplinary engagement: Explaining an emergent argument in a community of learners classroom. Cognition and instruction, 20(4), 399-483.
  • Agarwal, P., & Sengupta-Irving, T. (2019). Integrating Power to Advance the Study of Connective and Productive Disciplinary Engagement in Mathematics and Science. Cognition and Instruction, 37(3), 349-366

Designing Beyond Abstractions

  • Eisenberg, M. (2003). Mindstuff: Educational technology beyond the computer. Convergence, 9(2), 29-53.
  • Dew, K. N., & Rosner, D. K. (2019, June). Designing with Waste: A Situated Inquiry into the Material Excess of Making. In Proceedings of the 2019 on Designing Interactive Systems Conference (pp. 1307-1319). ACM.
  • Sengupta, P., Dickes, A.C, & Farris, A.V. (In Press / 2020) Voicing Code in STEM: A Dialogical Imagination. MIT Press. (Chapter 4: Adressivity in Computational design)

Decolonizing the Design of Learning Environments

  • Smith, L. T. (2013). Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples. Zed Books. (Chapters 2 & 3)
  • Lam-Herrera, M., Council, I. A., & Sengupta, P. (2019). Decolonizing Complexity Education: A Mayan Perspective. In Critical, Transdisciplinary and Embodied Approaches in STEM Education (pp. 329-348). Springer, Cham.

Bodies in Design

  • Lee, V. R. (2019). Supporting complex multimodal expression around representations of data: experience matters. In Critical, Transdisciplinary and Embodied Approaches in STEM Education (pp. 217-231). Springer, Cham.
  • Luguetti, C., Kirk, D., & Oliver, K. L. (2019). Towards a pedagogy of love: exploring pre-service teachers’ and youth’s experiences of an activist sport pedagogical model. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 24(6), 629-646.
  • Rose, M. (2009). Blue-collar brilliance: Questioning assumptions about intelligence, work, and social class. The American Scholar, 78(3), 43-49.

Designing for Critical Transdisciplinarity

  • Moll, L. C., Amanti, C., Neff, D., & Gonzalez, N. (1992). Funds of knowledge for teaching: Using a qualitative approach to connect homes and classrooms. Theory into practice, 31(2), 132-141.
  • Sengupta, P., Shanahan, M. C., & Kim, B. (2019). Reimagining STEM Education: Critical, Transdisciplinary, and Embodied Approaches. In Critical, Transdisciplinary and Embodied Approaches in STEM Education (pp. 3-19). Springer, Cham.
  • Das, A., & Adams, J. D. (2019). Critical Transdisciplinary STEM: A Critical Numeracy Approach to STEM Praxis by Urban Environments and Education Research Coven. In Critical, Transdisciplinary and Embodied Approaches in STEM Education (pp. 291-306). Springer, Cham.

Designing in Context

  • Muller, M. J. (2007). Participatory design: the third space in HCI. In The human-computer interaction handbook (pp. 1087-1108). CRC press.
  • Penuel, W. R. (2019). Infrastructuring as a Practice of Design-Based Research for Supporting and Studying Equitable Implementation and Sustainability of Innovations. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 28 (4-5), 659-677.
  • Gutiérrez, K. D., & Vossoughi, S. (2010). Lifting off the ground to return anew: Mediated praxis, transformative learning, and social design experiments. Journal of Teacher Education, 61(1-2), 100-117.