Workshop B5

This workshop is delivered in 2 parts:

  1. Using a research technique of participant-produced drawing for engaging students in teaching and learning Sudthasiri Siriviriyakul (YLTA), The York Management School, University of York
  2. Collaborative engagement for MSc research projects Fiona Sweeney, Jane Clarbour, Department of Psychology, University of York

Part 1: Using a research technique of participant-produced drawing for engaging students in teaching and learning


This paper examines how the research technique of participant-produced drawing (Kearney and Hyle, 2004) can be implemented in the classroom context. In the participant-produced drawing, participants are asked to draw freely regarding particular topic or question and then discuss their images afterwards with the researcher (Ward and Shortt, 2012). By applying this research technique to teaching and learning, it is argued that participant-produced drawing helps to engage students in learning contents involving abstract, complicated, or tacit knowledge and conceptions which may be difficult to put into words.

Based on the author’s teaching experience of using this technique in the Qualitative Research Methods Module in the Management School, it is proposed that participant-produced drawing can help to stimulate ideas in a group discussion, assist the process of reflexivity (Bryans and Mavin, 2006), and provide a qualitative way to evaluate the teaching and learning in Higher Education (Munoz C., Mosey and Blinks, 2011; Ward and Shortt, 2012). Moreover, participant-produced drawing can help to transcend a language barrier for international students and equip students with transferable skills such as the visual research method skills or the practical skills of being innovative and creative which are useful for business leaders (Nissley, 2010)

Part 2: Playful Interactions: Reflections on research-led teaching in emerging design fields


Whilst research-led teaching is often touted as a desirable approach for higher education, implementing it can be challenging. This paper will present
reflections and lessons learned from teaching a final year undergraduate module in a new sub-discipline of design, broadly termed Critical Design. The intertwined fields of Critical Design, Design Fictions, and Speculative Design
have arisen in the last 10 years in response to capitalist approaches to product (and wider) design, and offer provocations in response to societal challenges in a bid to “problem find” rather than “problem solve”. These aligned fields are situated in the spaces between design, art, and Human Computer Interaction (HCI). The newness of the field and its multidisciplinary origins means not
only that it is moving fast, but that it is being pulled in several directions at once. This state of flux and uncertainly is arguably mirrored by the environment and employment contexts that our students will be graduating into.

The Critical Design module engaged students with disciplinary ambiguities and arguments, drawing on their existing degree experience with technology, design, and critical thinking to make sense of the topic. This talk will explore how the discussions that took place around the course extended beyond the conventional classroom into field visits, playful engagement through materials and digital making, and the construction of a studio space that supported students’ ownership of their learning, blurring the boundaries between lecturer and students

Chair’s Report

Workshop Panopto video recording (University of York login required)

I attended two presentations in a single session both of which dealt with the creative ways to represent ideas, encourage deep thinking and make learning fun.

Sudthasiri Siriviriyakul from YLTA uses participant-produced drawing to engage students in teaching and learning. Her presentation explained how she used a method drawn from her PhD research to enhance student engagement in a postgraduate Qualitative Methods module. At the beginning of the module students are asked to draw a picture of what qualitative methods means to them and to discuss it with colleagues; they then repeat the exercise at the end of the module and compare their pre-conceptions with their new insights. Sudthasiri explained how the production of a sketch can engage international students, who perhaps lack the confidence to talk about their ideas or to express them in written form. It also helps her students think deeply about their pre-conceptions of subject matter and can help them reflect on how they feel about the subject or module. In her experience discussion around the drawings results in richer responses than would be obtained if she asked for a purely written or verbal response. We got hands on experience of how useful this was when Sudthasiri asked us to draw a picture of what higher education means to us; the range of responses was really interesting and made me really think about different understandings. This was a great example of how methods derived from research activity can enrich teaching practice.

Debbie Maxwell from the Department of Theatre, Film and Television gave us an interactive insight into how she engages students on her critical design option. Debbie often runs workshops rather than following a formal lecture/seminar structure. This provides her with the opportunity to break up lecturer led input with a range of interactive techniques to help students grasp challenging concepts. Debbie outlined the concept of critical design and explained how she challenges her students to produce artefacts using a range of materials to a clearly defined specification. She then challenged us to design a product in groups and to illustrate our concept using pipe cleaners and playdough! Debbie’s design specification was generated using a range of randomly selected card search of which outlined part of the brief – the product goal, a location, the year, protagonist, and an emerging technology. The use of cards was really good fun and I could see how this might transfer to my own discipline area. The use of cards is to develop understanding of the core concepts, i.e. approaching what critical design is through trying to create it, in this instance. It really ramped up the pressure, increased participation and engaged all of our group members. Debbie gave us some thinking and discussion time and then provided the materials; this really increased the energy in the room and encouraged people to try things out, model their ideas and just generally have a go.

Overall both sessions reminded me that we learn and are engaged when we’re having fun and that even if you’re not creative (and I’m not!) being asked to draw or model something encourages you to think in different ways, injects energy into a group and gives you permission to be playful and expressive.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s