T.H. Ho

Hong Kong Polytechnic University (HONG KONG)
We investigate the effects of using mobile phone photo annotation app and social network platform on instructors giving critiques to students' design projects. Pilot study was done with two university level multimedia design courses and the results are discussed and analyzed.

In traditional design education, students are often enrolled in courses with design projects consisting of frequent tutorial and presentation sessions. In those sessions, the often practice involves instructors giving critiques to students' design ideas. These critiques are important parts of the learning as "positive or negative critiques of the instructors on the design representations enable students to observe and assess their design projects." (Sagun and Demirkan 2007)

To facilitate better design critiques, there have been efforts on developing various Collaborative Design Studios (CDS) platforms that enables the participants to work together in a computer mediated network regardless of time and location limitations. (Sagun and Demirkan 2007) (Craig and Zimring 2000; Zimring et al. 2001) Those platforms usually involved significant infrastructure setup, learning curves and operational cost for both the contributors and consumers of the critiques.

We propose the use of mobile smartphone app and existing social network platform to address the above issues in the CDS. A pilot study was performed in two multimedia design courses in a university design school. Instructor of the courses uses a photo annotation smartphone app called "FacePaper" to take photos of students' design presented on projectors during presentation sessions. Particular features of the design in these photographs are then annotated with typed or drawn critiques by the instructor and uploaded onto a Facebook group page to disseminate to students.

As stated by Demirbas et al, the design critique should be "pointing out the efficient and useful solutions as well as types, levels and location of the inconsistencies in the design." (Sagun and Demirkan 2007). And Kvan et al. (1999) claimed that successful design collaboration in a computer-mediated environment should be achieved by simulating the conditions found in face-to- face critiques (Sagun and Demirkan 2007) (Kvan 1999). With the use of the mobile photo annotation app "FacePaper" and the social network "Facebook", we evaluate the effectiveness of such tools on composing design critiques in the design education setting.