Insights for Educational Practice from a Thematic Analysis of Student Experiences with Speculative Design Mini-Projects about Personal Issues

Kay Kender and Peter Purgathofer

pp.  249 - 269download






In 2020, we gave a large-scale first-year informatics course an assignment to speculatively design hypothetical solutions for issues they were experiencing due to social distancing measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this paper, we present a speculative design mini-project, then analyse student feedback and present insights about applying speculative design mini-projects around personal issues and in a large-scale technology education context. Our findings indicate that students had strong emotional experiences throughout the process and gained deeper insights into both design and the issues they were engaging with. Through peer reviews, students found new perspectives and feelings of relatedness in the face of shared hardships. From this, we summarise learnings for teaching practice about 1) peer review as a tool for feedback loops and discussions, 2) safety and student well-being when addressing personally experienced issues, 3) abridged design processes for trans-disciplinary competency, and 4) fostering safe spaces for creative vulnerability.


Keywords: Speculative Design Education, Student Well-Being, Distance Learning.



back to Table of Contents