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An exploration of ICT for graphic design education at a public university: issues of ideation and pedagogy
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Design education has been fundamentally changed by computers and new digital technologies. New ideas and new frontiers have emerged. Available literature shows ICT has revolutionalised design education through the online studio and blended learning. In response to the growing needs of ICT in design education, new courses are being designed, while collaborations on design projects are emerging owing to virtual design studios (VDS). Researchers in design, especially in professional architecture and engineering, believe that ICTs enhance the teaching and learning of design. The adoption of ICT at the various stages of problem solving has not yet been reflected in the teaching of graphic design, especially in idea development. In developing economies, in the recent past, more attention has been paid to graphic design pedagogy, as it particularly relates to using ICT in ideation. Using the ‘multi-method’ approach, the research captured both quantitative and qualitative approaches in a pragmatic paradigm. It explored how ICT has affected the teaching and learning of ideation in graphic design in a university in a developing country. This included investigating pedagogical models and paradigms that had informed graphic design education since the incorporation of ICT. It surveyed ICT methods and the players involved in graphic design education, and documented the everyday experiences of students and educators in the lecture rooms to obtain a more holistic impression of teaching and learning. Empirical evidence suggests considerable access to computer and ICT methods by students especially. Various perceptions on the use of ICT by students in ideation activities as far as graphic design education is concerned, and how ICT is informing ideation, were also captured through the data. The study revealed activity systems of ICT integration as something that created contradictions. The contradictions were characterised by activities of collaborations and uses of ICT by students on one hand, and lecturers on the other hand. There were significant revelations of the development of the graphic design processes of using ICT in ideation. Ultimately, they were revelations of complexity of the design process for which there were no precise and fixed formulas that bring together form, function, and context conditions, and which gave credence to the orientation of pragmatism in terms of epistemology to which the study ascribed from the beginning. The study therefore elicits a review of the pedagogy of graphic design, with constructivism becoming relevant in the teaching of ideation in graphic design education.