“A charrette is an intensive planning session where citizens, designers and others collaborate on a vision for development. It provides a forum for ideas and offers the unique advantage of giving immediate feedback to the designers.”
(The Town Paper, 2014)
“Hello, world!” – Starting at QUT
The brief assigned to each individual group centred around the notion of creating and implementing a particular product/service into QUT’s pre-orientation to help to adjust and increase engagement levels of first year CIF students.
QUT understands the significance of the transition of first year students where the university intends to provide ‘the best possible experience for new students in an environment where they are supported to take responsibility for their own learning, and to embrace an active role in succeeding to their full potential (academically and personally) as new learners in our University.’ (QUT, 2016)
The period between a FYE student accepting their course offer and the arrival for orientation at university is shown to be a key opportunity space. Instead of being mostly an inactive period of time, it is imperative this can be utilised in a way that creates a meaningful engaging time to help increase engagement within the faculty.
Group dynamics – tackling the task
In groups of 4 or 5, we were given two hours to come up with a fresh original idea for this period of time, along with creating visuals of a video and presentation slides to help increase the engagement level of the presentation.
As all four of us came from previous groups earlier on discussing the prototype of how we, as designers can “… best signal locations and areas to reduce student confusion and stress during orientation?” we all had different prototypes.
For the first 10-20 minutes we discussed how our previous ideas for this prototype may influence and adapt to the brief given. We all discussed the idea of how it was extremely difficult to enroll into our degree once we accepted our QTAC preference. It is clear that this process can cause stress and confusion for first year students, where in some cases, students find it too hard to enroll and end up not actually completing the process and not going to university. (The Good Universities Guide, 2015)
Once we altered, improved and adapted the particular idea of an app, we came up with a foundation of what we thought was a helpful tool to help students become less stressed and confused and become more comfortable and confident entering into their first year of university. The app was to be a tool to help assist students in the process of applying for university and a step-by-step instruction list of how to do so.
Due to lack of time provided, we thought it was best to split up the tasks within the group. The tasks were as follow:
- Research: Zoe Keck and Olivia Gec
- Video: myself, starring Zoe Keck and Olivia Gec
- Logo and presentation: Noviyanti Dyiyaan Wulundari and Reuben Mergard
Although this was a clever way to distribute tasks, it is clear that members of the group were unsure of how the other aspects of the presentation would come together and communication was lost. This is important to take note for the future charrette and how as a team, it is important to still delegate tasks, however it is also vital to be up-to-date with all the other jobs at the same time.
Why will people like this idea?
Through previous research, it has been established that the target audience values:
- Social life: during university, it is clear that students must balance between social life, work life, university life and sleep. Along with scheduling in the Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs to help sustain and healthy wellbeing. (Pitt, 2014)
- Food: food is fundamental to life, however as food culture has expanded, as too has the complexity we are faced with today. As time goes on, as does our need to experience food and take in the atmosphere around us. It is clear that through food, experiences and social needs can be met, through the sharing of a simple need, food. (Peabody, 2016)
- Technology: these days it is uncommon for a person to be without a tablet, mobile phone device or a piece of technology. Nearly everything is found online these days, and it is the main source of information available and easily accessible to nearly all university students. (Donley, n.d.)
- Ease of access to vital information
With the ease of access and technology being one of the main values to first year students, the idea of creating a piece of technology which is easy to use and gives stress free access to information is quite useful for this audience.
Physics says that the path of least resistance is generally the one taken. (Sisson, n.d.) So it is obvious that having a one stop shop for all needs of a first year student signing up to university is of course a handy and worthwhile tool.
In this day and age, we balance money, social life, technology, family, friends, relationships, sleep, food, and the basic needs of a human being. (Hughes, 2014) It is without reason that of course if a simple solution was given to help first year students to easily enrol into university, it will be less daunting and less stressful.
Studies have found that stress:
- Makes it difficult to control emotions
- Brings out disease
- Weakens our immune system (Krans, 2013)
It is clear that through studies like this, stress will only add to the daunting experience faced by many students. It can also decrease the exciting times ahead for university students as this first experience may affect student’s ideology of university.
So how can feedback help in future endeavours
Feedback is an imperative part of effective learning. Bellon states ‘academic feedback is more strongly and consistently related to achievement than any other teaching behaviour…this relationship is consistent regardless of grade, socioeconomic status, race, or school setting.’ (University of Reading, n.d.)
Although feedback can be positive or negative, feedback is given to help people decipher what was good and what was not so good in their idea. This helps improve and understand how future endeavors can be affected positively.
For example, our group received the following feedback:
- Engaging introduction (asking questions to the audience)
- Relatable video
- Graphics were visually appealing
- App lacked interesting factor to make people want to access
Through feedback like this, it is clear that as a team it is important to work on the marketing as to why students would want to use a service like this. Through extra research and development of the app, the idea would be improved.
Coaching 4 Teens. (2014). Why is Balance so Important. Retrieved from www.coaching4teens.org/wp-content/
Donley, M. (n.d.). Technology Influence on Education. Retrieved from http://source.southuniversity.edu/technologys-influence-on-education-76874.aspx
Hughes, T. (2014). Busy Busy Lives. Retrieved from http://www.wordconstructions.com.au/articles/general/busy.html
Krans, B. (2013). 8 Ways Stress Is More Dangerous Than You Think. Retrieved from http://www.healthline.com/health-news/mental-eight-ways-stress-harms-your-health-082713#3
Medicaid Finance. (2014). Technology Trends. Retrieved from http://www.medicaidfinance.com.au/tag/technology-trends/
Peabody Museum. (2016). Big Food: Health, Culture and the Evolution of Eating. Retrieved from http://www.peabody.yale.edu/exhibits/big-food-health-culture-and-evolution-eating
Pitt, M. (2014). Balance your social and academic life at university – Telegraph. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/universityeducation/student-life/11100038/Balance-your-social-and-academic-life-at-university.html
Sisson, M. (n.d.). Why Taking the Easy Way Out Isn’t Always a Bad Choice | Mark’s Daily Apple. Retrieved from http://www.marksdailyapple.com/why-humans-like-taking-the-easy-way-out/#axzz49HDUKJRg
Stack Exchange. (2012). Prototyping Processes in Different Software Development Methodologies. Retrieved from http://ux.stackexchange.com/questions/46644/prototyping-processes-in-different-software-development-methodologies
The Good Universities Guide. (2015). Getting into university | Good Universities Guide. Retrieved from http://www.gooduniversitiesguide.com.au/Latest-news/Getting-into-university#.V0AUCPl97IU
The Student Blogger. (2013). University league tables: relevant for decision making or just a load of old tosh? Retrieved from http://thestudentblogger.co.uk/featured/university-league-tables-relevant-decision-making-just-load-old-tosh/
The Town Paper. (2014). What is a Charrette? Retrieved from http://www.tndtownpaper.com/what_is_charrette.htm
University of Reading. (n.d.). Why is feedback important? – University of Reading. Retrieved from https://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/engageinfeedback/Whyisfeedbackimportant/efb-WhyIsFeedbackImportant.aspx