Strategies for critiquing student problem-based projects

Matthew Manos, Associate Professor of Practice, Design Strategy at USC’s Iovine and Young Academy, discusses challenging students to consider ethical implications in design.

Watch this 2-minute video and scroll down for the full interview, plus tips for implementing this in your course!

Read more about this approach in Matthew’s own words:

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Want to get started or revise your approach to critique?

Tips for implementing critique-style assignments in your course:

  • Provide case studies of designs relevant to the discipline, or student’s future careers.
  • Introduce an example challenge or problem that requires a design, and work with the class to model the design of a solution. Identify the grading criteria, challenges, and implications as the design unfolds.
  • Ask students to identify a challenge for which they are interested in designing a solution, and provide the rubric to frame the assignment.
  • Provide students with guidelines on how to effectively give feedback during critique.
  • Provide in-class opportunities for feedback on their designs in one or all the following formats: one-on-one, small groups or whole-class presentation
  • Grade students’ final designs, based on the grading criteria.

More resources for planning critique activities:

What does the research say?

Holmgren H, Haugnes N, Springborg M. Meaningful Grading : A Guide for Faculty in the Arts. 1st ed. West Virginia University Press; 2018. (USC Libraries link)

Boehnert J, Sinclair M, Dewberry E. Sustainable and Responsible Design Education: Tensions in Transitions. Sustainability (Basel, Switzerland). 2022;14(11):6397-. (USC Libraries link)

Corple DJ, Zoltowski CB, Kenny Feister M, Buzzanell PM. Understanding ethical decision‐making in design. Journal of engineering education (Washington, DC). 2020;109(2):262-280. (USC Libraries link).

Smith JS. Assessing Creativity: Creating a Rubric to Effectively Evaluate Mediated Digital Portfolios. Journalism & mass communication educator. 2017;72(1):24-36. (USC Libraries link).


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