|The Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD) repository holds full-text theses and dissertations submitted for higher degrees at the University (including submissions from former Cape Technikon and Peninsula Technikon).|
Multicultural narratives in graphic design teaching and learning for diverse audiences at a university of technology
This research is an investigation into how Graphic Design, a visual communication subject is taught and learnt at Cape Peninsula University of Technology in light of the dynamics that cultural semiotics present. There is a need to equip students with the cultural awareness to design communication that is sensitive to the varying needs of their consuming audiences. By its very nature, visual communication is vulnerable to an unintended array of misinterpretations because of the audiences’ differing semiotic backgrounds. The pedagogic duty of academy is to equip communication students in this case Graphic Design students with adequate tools to facilitate the understanding of their audiences, the communicative purpose of their designs is compromised. Vygotsky’s (1978) learning theory is therefore applied to examine the role of culture in the teaching and learning of culturally diverse students. Concepts from JoAnn Phillion’s (2002) Narrative Multiculturalism are also used to understand how the narratives collected from the respondent students, lecturers and an industry expert in this study offered guidelines for the effective teaching of Graphic Design. To investigate the teaching and learning of Graphic Design holistically the research employed a mini-ethnographic case study method. Data for this research were obtained through participant observations, semi-structured informal interviews of participants narratives and document analysis. The findings point to a lack of a cohesive and coordinated approach to teaching and learning, which in turn reflects a lack of sensitivity to cultural diversity in the Graphic Design department at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. This is evidenced in the unreformed curriculum and a culturally unbalanced staff complement. Industry’s lethargic participation also seems to have done nothing to ensure the standardisation of the curriculum to align with industry demands nor guide the career paths of students. As a result, the gap in these areas may leave some historically vulnerable students feeling excluded and despondent about both their academic and career prospects.