Teaching Design

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The form of design evolves as technology continues to emerge and evolve. The new technologies greatly affect what we design, and how we make design, but not why we make design. In the midst of constant technological shifts, what keeps me grounded in teaching design is to approach design projects as inquiry-based designs rather than platform-based designs. In Teaching as a Subversive Activity, Postman and Weingartner write “The inquiry environment stresses that learning is a happening in itself.” My aim is to create a space for students to find problem-solving mindsets through exploration and open discussion, and inevitably a diverse set of design processes and outputs become interdisciplinary in nature.

As an Interaction Design educator, I’ve led a new Interaction Design curriculum development with the belief in mind for both BFA and MFA programs at Texas State University. In my classrooms, I break down assignments into essential steps with a set of constraints held by learning objectives. I bring in lectures, demonstrations, discussions, and readings while students are encouraged to reflect on their own work through designing, group research, process documentation, and looking outwards reports. In this kind of structure in classrooms, students can try new methods of work, adopt new modes of thinking, and push themselves creatively and intellectually.

In many ways, to teach design is to be comfortable with the unknown. This means that the traditional design curriculum is no longer sufficient. The modernist understanding of ‘good’ design doesn’t hold up anymore. The speed of change in the graphic design profession requires me to teach and test new projects while learning them myself. It is an experimentation process that requires tremendous efforts of close attention, feedback, revisions, and iterations. My main goal as a design educator is to help them find their ‘voice’ and ‘role’ as a designer in society. How would they sustain their interests through a lens of design? By teaching critical thinking, design theory, and individual practice, students learn to utilize design as a practice and set up for a long career in a field that would look different from now.

As the field of design has been expanding to engage and include all different points of view and moves toward interdisciplinary for a big impact on our society and the world, what interests me ultimately is our humanity, and the need for connection, dialog, and expansion of understanding. As we continue to embrace technological shifts in our society and the field, I see this ever-growing field as an opportunity to rethink and reframe how we learn, teach and design. I am grateful to witness and experience the shifts, and these principles are what keep me engaged as a designer and an educator.

ㄱ ㅣ ㅁ ㅣ ㅎ ㅕ    kim.mihyun@icloud.com    instagram: mihyun___kim
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