The Sun shines on DRS 2018!

DRS 2018 kicked off on Monday June 25th with the ‘PhD by Design’ session which was held in the Limerick School of Art and Design. The day began with the ‘messy introductions’ where an image of our PhD would appear in random order and when it appeared on screen you had 90 seconds to explain your research.

This was followed by the discussion session where I was in a group with six other PhD students, a chair and a discussant. Our discussion group was built around the topic of organisational change. Each student was given five minutes to discuss their research and pose a question to the group. My question was “How can an online environment or an online community help student’s learning and understanding of STEM topics?” Our discussant was Sam Russell and he has working on a STEM education project in the past which I must follow up on this week. The discussion was interesting but it was more based more around industry and big organisations rather than education.

After lunch I took part in a workshop which was about friction in interdisciplinary collaboration. We worked in groups of four and each member was asked to talk about a time when they experienced friction on an interdisciplinary project or in their research. Whiel one member talks, another took notes on sticky notes and the remaining two members asked questions to fully understand the friction. We then made a list of the key works/questions that emerged from our discussion and we took a short three minute video to explain what we discussed and what came out of it. It was an interesting workshop using a technique I wasn’t familiar with.

To finish off the day we returned to our discussion groups and we were asked to make a contribution to the instant journal by suggesting ways we could keep the conversations from Monday going well beyond that. The word ‘Community of Practice’ emerged from my group which was great to see that the terminology I was using had an influence on the group. We suggested ‘Chatter Box’, a cube which would have a question on one side and that question could be answered using the remaining five sides. The cube could be placed around the conference or just in the PhD by Design Hub Space. It was a way for a few people to engage in a conversations and to maintain communication beyond Monday.

For the remainder of the week I was a student volunteer. I attended two discussions around Design Thinking and Universal Design and I also took part in Trevor’s Data Physicalization workshop which I thoroughly enjoyed. Overall the conference was an enjoyable experience and I look forward to attending again in the future.

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