Design & Technology: a wide spectrum of choice

In this issue of InformED, the focus is on Design & Technology and the broad range of courses offered by Cengage Education.

Dirk Drieberg, who oversees the overall development of these courses in his role as Head of Faculty, provides some insights into current and future developments.

Q: What learning areas are encompassed by Design & Technology?

A: The range is quite broad, but it includes:

• Design, including interior decoration, fashion design and floral design
• Visual arts, including cartooning, drawing and illustration
• Communication
• Information technology
• Applied technology, including carpentry and auto-mechanics
• Journalism, including professional writing, creative writing and photography
• Foreign languages
• Animal and plant studies.

The range is continually under review to ensure that students have access to the courses that will help them meet their personal and professional goals.

Q: Design & Technology is an area that is often subject to continual change. Is Cengage Education equipped to meet this challenge?

A: Cengage Education has often led the field in its innovative approach to learning. For example, we were one of the first training organisations in Australia to introduce course material on a CD-ROM, in 1995, along with an announcement of planned online courses. This was also when we launched our first web site, at a time when even major corporations had little or no online presence.

Q: Is there a commitment to continuous review?

A: Yes, this process lies at the heart of our approach to improving the student’s learning experience. For example, students across all of these courses will soon benefit from initiatives that will allow greater engagement and interaction with their trainers and assessors. As we add new courses or refresh the content of existing courses we are building in opportunities for firstly asynchronous and then synchronous interaction among students and between students and tutors. We are gradually redesigning the learning and assessment activities in our courses accordingly.

Q: Are there changes underway in terms of improvements to existing courses?

A: One of the main reasons for us moving to a faculty structure during 2011 is so that with enhanced educational leadership, including subject matter expertise, we can systematically review the content of our existing courses. Our instructional design team has developed a set of Course Quality Standards which allows us to evaluate the quality of our existing courses and plan for improvement.

Q: How about new courses – are there any in the pipeline?

A: We have just released three new courses in Fashion Design:
• Certificate IV in Fashion Design & Technology
• Diploma of Fashion Design & Technology

We have commenced an update of the content of our Certificate II in Information Technology. We have also begun development of a range of “streams” for our Certificate IV in Design, firstly streams in Generic Design and Interior Decoration, and then Graphic Design and Media Design.

About 

Andrianes Pinantoan is InformED's editor and part of the marketing team behind Open Colleges. When not working, he can be found reading about two of his favourite subjects: education and psychology. You can find him on Google+ or @andreispsyched.

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