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Title: Teaching-learning interactions in the design tutorial through the perspectives of semiotics and symbolic interactionism : a case study in advertising and communication design
Author: Sun, Nim Yan
ISNI:       0000 0004 9357 8273
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2020
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The design tutorial is an essential and labour-intensive pedagogy in projectbased design education, yet underexplored and often subsumed under design crits. Pertinent studies, building on Schön’s theory of educating reflective practitioners, revealed limited understandings on recurring themes like dialogicality, ambiguity and visuality in design practices. They missed the core meaning-making nature of design thinking—to develop a design is to develop and grapple with meanings. This thesis aims to address these gaps through a novel theoretical framework bridging Peircean semiotics and symbolic interactionism. This qualitative case study of design tutorials at a higher education institution explored tutorial interactions in advertising and communication design programmes to understand the complexity of persuasive-sign construction. Six types of data, including tutorial recordings, interviews and visual metaphors, were analysed for characterising teaching-learning interactions and comparing perceptions of tutors’ and students’ tutorial experiences. Design thinking is reconceptionised as a dialogue with signs from different perspectives and modalities. Tutorial interaction is design co-thinking beyond merely verbal exchange. Sign construction is fuelled by sign interpretation. Design ideas are negotiated through the interplay of sign-student, tutor-student and sign-tutor/designer interactions, all being teaching-learning interactions. Tutors mediate between signs and students, exercising sign-tutor/designer interaction to enliven and sustain sign-student interaction. Design co-thinking for persuasive-sign construction, mediated by multimodal signs, is characterised as audience-centric, experience-connected and clichéaware, thus relational, intertextual and integrative, in line with the basic tenetsof edusemiotics. Critical abilities entail taking others’ perspectives, referencing daily experiences and integrating the practical and imaginative sides of design thinking. Iconicity in design co-thinking bridges identity transformation from learners to designers. As a theoretical contribution, symbolic interactionism was expanded to reflect the complementary nature of verbal and non-verbal signs in communication and knowledge construction. Recommendations are provided for enhancing learning in design education and fostering imaginative thinking in non-design disciplines in higher education.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral