02.28.2008 Lecture–Critical Review

The critique assignment is due by midnight, February 29 (thank leap year!).

  • make your writing concise and don’t go too much over the word limit
  • iterate on your ideas throughout the process from constructing your outline to written drafts
  • use the writing tutorial services , number = 812-855-6738

Critical reflection on the course:
We began the course by drawing on perspectives (e.g. Dilthey, Dewey, Turner, etc..) to understand what experience is (and the distinction between experience and an experience). This month we’ve been focusing on critical approaches to interpreting experience and how this can help inform design practice. The course will soon shift to applying this collective knowledge to experience design projects. The critique assignment gives you an opportunity to apply the dense theoretical work we’ve been talking about to specific phenomena (in the form of critical judgment–not a mere opinion!).

All of the works we’ve read this month have certain underlying themes in common:

Criticism / Judgment

  • differs greatly from opinion–they are analytical and oftentimes explicit about criteria (for criticism)
  • involves taking an explicit stance
    • case example: universal accessibility (e.g. universal design)



How do you establish critical competence? How do you yourself distinguish the validity or viability of your own thoughts and emerging critical perspectives of phenomena? There’s no framework or cookbook for doing this, however the following can play an important role in helping you along the way:

Theoretical vocabularies–help you think about phenomena and use a language to engage in productive (and thus critical) discussions

Many examples-encountering and examining a wide scope of related phenomena in the world

Many experiences–drawing on a wealth of experiences of acting (and reflecting on these interactions) in the world

Critical self-reflection
–reflection, or meta-analysis, is an important part of the process to constructing a critical argument (ties closely with Donald Schon’s theorizing in the Reflective Practitioner

*These elements are constitutive of cultivating critical discourse. Feel free to use this blog to engage in critical exercises.

Also, for those interested, there’s an interesting discussion of critical design featured on designobserver..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s