Industrial design students’ reflections on cross-institutional and distance collaboration

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


As an inevitable outcome of the increasing globalization of design and manufacturing of new products, distributed design teams bring new opportunities and challenges for creative engagements. In recent studies, there is a growing interest in the ways design teams collaborate and communicate. This paper builds on this strand of work by exploring a virtual design studio course conducted across three higher education institutions, Middle East Technical University (METU) from Turkey, Loughborough University from the UK, and University of Applied Arts Vienna from Austria, in 2017-18 fall semester. In this course, students work in teams in their home university, paired with another team from one of the other institutions. Each team writes a design brief and commissions it to the coupled team, who is then expected to deliver the design solutions. In the process, each team simultaneously works as clients and designers, interacting through online conference tools and e-mails, gives and receives feedback, and documents all the process on an online design process diary. Drawing on three sets of data derived from (1) systematic participant observation in every session, (2) reflective essays students submit at the end of the course, and (3) interviews conducted with students once the course has finished, this paper investigates how and in what ways pursuing a process-focused design studio provides industrial students with a different learning experience compared to their previous experiences in traditionally end-product-focused design studio courses.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of DRS Learn X Design 2019 : Insider Knowledge
EditorsNaz A. G. Z. Börekçi, Dalsu Özgen Koçyıldırım, Fatma Korkut, Derek Jones
Publication date2019
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-912294-00-8
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • distributed design teams
  • collaboration
  • design education
  • digital skills


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