The DesignCollaboration.org website contains case studies of student collaborative projects, aimed at helping tutors share best practices relating to planning, managing and assessing issues of collaborative work. In addition, the website also contains practical resources for design tutors to use with students in order to foster collaborative learning.
The initial thoughts behind DesignCollaboration.org originated from a book produced by Kathryn McKelvey alled ‘Inside Out’, which documented student collaborative learning projects and design processes at Northumbria University's School of Design. The website has been developed by Dr. Joyce Yee, Kathryn McKelvey and Emma Jefferies through a research project funded by Northumbria University.
The research project identified common problems in different types of collaborative learning and translated this implicit knowledge into an online resource for the design education community. The development of these tools is divided into four stages (see image below). The first seeks to identify a range of common issues and challenges faced by tutors during collaborative projects through a questionnaire. The second stage involves reviewing existing collaborative learning tools in order to evaluate and match their appropriateness with the list of issues identified in the first phase. The third stage is the development and translation of collaborative tools into a format that is communicable and usable for tutors. These resources are published on the Design Collaboration website. Finally, the issues and tools are connected back to the real experiences of design practitioners through a series of filmed interviews. These are meant to serve as a teaching resource for students and to provide real-world grounding of the challenges and issues related to design teamwork. The teaching resources provide design tutors with the tools to encourage and foster collaborative learning amongst design students.