Growing design research from PLanT (Partnership in Learning and Teaching) projects

Jeanne-Louise Moys is leading a collaborative staff and student project – ‘Typo-resource’ – to develop a hub of online resources for our graphic communication students. Although a teaching development project, it draws on our strengths in user-centred design to explore what kind of user experience, content and affordances students need from online learning resources, basing conceptualisation, design and development on research and feedback from students and staff.

Our student project leads – Peter Loveland, Hannah Tollett and Melissa Towriss – have developed and tested an initial prototype. Visiting students, Mariana Lauer Olsen and Kareen Andrade Litaiff, are now experimenting with developing new icons for the interface and bespoke resources ready for the next round of user feedback.

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Screenshot of the team’s initial prototype for Typo-resource showing the presentation of links to online resources

Project findings to date indicate that our students would like the interface to be:

  • Visual – following trends in social media interfaces such as Facebook and Pinterest, rather than the text-heavy interfaces of established educational resources like Blackboard
  • Searchable – enabling them to use broad search terms to find resources, and then to return easily to resources they have previously looked at
  • Broad – encompassing historical, practical, technical and theoretical aspects of their programme of study.

Acknowledgement: The project was initially funded as part of the Partnerships in Learning and Teaching (PLanT) scheme at the University of Reading for enhancing Teaching & Learning.


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