THE WEB 2.0 AS A PLATFORM FOR THE ACQUISITION OF SKILLS, IMPROVE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE AND DESIGNER CAREER PROMOTION IN THE UNIVERSITY

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1 THE WEB 2.0 AS A PLATFORM FOR THE ACQUISITION OF SKILLS, IMPROVE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE AND DESIGNER CAREER PROMOTION IN THE UNIVERSITY F. Felip Miralles, S. Martín Martín, Mª L. García Martínez, J.L. Navarro Lizandra Universitat Jaume I (SPAIN) Abstract Nowadays, the need to become familiar with Web 2.0 and learn about new Internet platforms as a means of promoting the projects is something necessary for the industrial designer who began his professional career. Students of this discipline can consider this tool as an aid to publicize their work and an incentive to improve the quality of their proposals. This paper presents the results of an innovative educational project designed to enhance students achievement by improving their motivation and involvement. It was developed during the course in the compulsory subject 'Product Presentation', given in the third year of the Degree in Industrial Design and Product Developement at the Universitat Jaume I (Spain). The disciplines of this subject are related to the packaging and graphic design, spatial construction of scale models and advertising related to the presentation and diffusion of products. As part of the final project of this subject we have included activities in which students learn how to photograph and present their work on the Web in a professional way, by creating a blog. In it the students have made critical and constructive comments on the work of their peers, practicing and developing their reasoning skills. This proposal has had a very positive impact on the results of the course, reducing significantly the dropout rate compared to other previous courses and improving the average rating of the final work. Overall, the students have shown a greater interest and involvement in the course, knowing that their final work was going to have international diffusion in an academic blog, thus providing them with an added goal. The incorporation of this activity in the course for the first time has enabled students of the subject 'Product Presentation' to anticipate their needs on the way to the completion of their studies, to develop skills in enriching and necessary areas such as photography and new technologies offered by Web 2.0, to improve critical thinking and reasoning, and to publicize and promote their projects globally. Keywords: Industrial design, packaging, blog, Web INTRODUCTION TO THE INNOVATIVE EDUCATIONAL PROJECT This paper presents the results of the first phase of an innovative educational project designed to enhance students achievement by improving their motivation and involvement. It was developed during the course in the compulsory subjects 'Product Presentation' (given in the third year of the Degree in Industrial Design and Product Developement at the Universitat Jaume I, Spain) and Modelmaking workshop (given in the second year of the same Degree). The results presented here relate only to improvements in the subject 'Product Presentation', as the second part of the improvement project will take place in the subject 'Modelmaking workshop' imparted during Detection of shortcomings The Degree in Industrial Design and Product Developement continues its implementation process in the Universitat Jaume I. This year takes effect the third year of the degree, so efforts are still needed to adjust the subjects helping to improve the transition from the former to the new plan Need for coordination For correct student learning Grades need internal coherence and continuity among its subjects and for this, coordination between related subjects is required, especially when sharing skills. It sometimes happens that the subjects are related and continuers one from each other, but they belong to different Proceedings of INTED2013 Conference 4th-6th March 2013, Valencia, Spain 4185 ISBN:

2 areas, which can make it difficult to design a clear path for the student due to a possible lack of communication between teachers. The subjects participating in this educational project are Modelmaking workshop and 'Product Presentation'. The first one is taught in the 2nd year of the Degree, and the second one is taught in the 3 rd year. Both share disciplines related to spatial construction of scale models and conceptualizing new products. Ít is required to acquire certain skills in Modelmaking workshop that will be needed for next year 'Product Presentation' subject, and similarly, those achieved in 'Product Presentation' will serve in part to deal with projects in 'Experimental prototypes workshop', yet to be implemented in the 4th year. Therefore, it is necessary to carry out the coordination of four teachers from two subjects belonging to two different areas, in order to build a solid training program raising a coherent path for students in second and third year, and to continue in fourth year with the subject 'Experimental prototypes workshop' Need for implementing collaborative tools (Web 2.0) Currently, the need to learn the use of the tools offered by Web 2.0 and expand knowledge in new Internet platforms as a means of promoting the projects is basic to the industrial designer who began his professional career. Last academic year ( ) an educational project was implemented successfully in the subject 'Modelmaking workshop' (USE project with ref. 2387/11), consisting of the creation of a blog in which students presented their final projects for the course and performed mutually critical and constructive comments on them, developing their reasoning abilities. The project was a success and improved performance rates from the previous year: it got an increase of 1,46 points out of 10 in the final average grade of the subject, from 6.19 to 7.62, and the dropout rate was reduced in the first annual review from 35.46% to only 3.45%. This increased interest and involvement in the subject by the students was due in part to know that their final work was to have international diffusion in academic blog, providing students with an added goal. Since this educational project seeks above all an improvement in the student's final performance in the subjects by improving their motivation and involvement, in this course seems appropriate to include such an activity in another similar subject, in order to improve the performance rate. The incorporation of this activity in the subject 'Product Presentation' has allowed students to develop skills in enriching and necessary matters such as photography and new technologies offered by Web 2.0 and has allowed them to publicize and promote their projects Need for continuous improvement in the subject Modelmaking workshop' Although the two subjects involved in this improvement project will benefit from the proposed coordination and exercise related to Web 2.0, there are other aspects in the subject 'Modelmaking workshop' that can still be improved. New for this course, the subject will include practical sessions in the workshop at the beginning of the course, focused on familiarizing students in the materials and tools to be used during practice. This will provide a better response to subsequent more complex exercices. The results of this part of the educational improvement project in the subject 'Modelmaking workshop' will be disseminated through another paper throughout the year 2013, upon completion of the course Need for continuous improvement in the subject 'Product presentation' Another aspect that needed improvement in the teaching of the subject 'Product Presentation' was to give the student the opportunity to become familiar with the different types of packaging available in the market. For this we carried out an activity in which students had to analyze in group the characteristics of some physical packages, reflecting on his suitability and discussing possible improvements. In parallel, two conferences were organized in which we invited two designers of international reputation: Diego Suarez ( and José Bahamonde ( The purpose was to familiarize the students with the professional design activity, showing different projects related to the subject and listening to the analysis performed by the author himself. 4186

3 1.2 Objectives of the educational improvement project General objectives Improve coordination among four teachers from 2 subjects and 2 different areas in order to give continuity to the contents of the two subjects. Introduce the Web 2.0 tools in a subject and maintain them in the other one. Reinforce practical knowledge on packaging in the subject 'Product Presentation'. Speed up familiarization with the materials and tools in the subject 'Modelmaking workshop'. Improve motivation and involvement of students in both subjects Specific objectives related to the creation of a blog To create synergies between students of different groups of this subject. To increase the involvement of students. Encouraging critical and constructive thinking skills of students. To acquire practical and theoretical skills related to concepts and techniques of general photography and, especially, product photography. To provide students with good quality images for their CV in order to facilitate their future integration into employment. Encourage students to use new Web 2.0 technologies. To promote internationally the work done by the students. To create a database for both subjects. 1.3 Background in the use of tools associated with Web 2.0 Nowadays we can find some proposals similar to the one developed in this educational project. National and international blogs provide information on the new products introduced in the market and fairs. Similarly, they show the projects of emerging designers in some disciplines of Industrial Design, as product design, furniture, lighting or packaging. 2 METHODOLOGY 2.1 General overview The project focuses on the intervention on two subjects taught in different semesters. The first part of the project took place continuously from September 2012 until January 2013, and the second is due to start in January and end in July The teacher involvement is crucial at every stage, both in establishing relationships with other teachers of the two subjects as the daily monitoring of the activity of students (tutoring) Teacher-centered methodologies Those looking to get a dual coordination: between the three teachers of each subject and between the two subjects (in different areas): For the first kind of coordination was enabled a forum in each subject as virtual meeting place for the teachers involved, designed to collect comments dealing with the particularities observed daily in the classroom. In addition, we conducted a series of periodic face to face meetings designed to address these observations in depth and make a plan of adjustment, if necessary. With regard to coordination between subjects face meetings were conducted with four teachers in September 2012 and January 2013 (coinciding with the start and end of the subject 'Product Presentation'), and another meeting is scheduled in January 2013 in order to prepare the exercises of 'Modelmaking workshop' before the subject starts, which serve to develop skills that will be needed in the next course in 'Product presentation'. Also in this section were included other measures taken by teachers to keep daily track of the students: adjust the schedule of the subject including the tasks of this educational improvement 4187

4 project, preparation of working material for students, the management related to blogs and evaluate the students based on the performance obtained, the clarity of their proposals and the objectivity, depth and rigor of comments uploaded to the blogs Student-centered methodologies Subject 'Product Presentation'. Fully active methodologies are proposed for students. The activity aims to familiarize students with the different types of packages available in the market, to be able to recognize the different types of materials, to better understand the ergonomic implications, to analyze in group its ease of handling and propose a redesign by implementing the theoretical knowledge acquired. The activity served to teachers as formative assessment tool. Subject 'Modelmaking workshop'. For this subject, the improvement project proposes an entirely practical activity for the first two weeks of the course, designed to improve students' skills related to materials handling and use of specialized machinery in the workshops (independent learning, with teacher monitoring). This will provide a better response to subsequent more complex exercises, avoiding the appearance of some shortcomings identified in the previous year. Common to both subjects. The contribution of the project to both subjects is linked to the need to accustom the students to use collaborative tools (Web 2.0). After the development of the final course project in the 'Product Presentation' subject (learning by projects) they photographed the scale models produced, uploaded those pictures to the blog along with an explanation of the project and made critical-constructive comments about the projects of their peers (cooperative learning / assessment between students). The assessment of students in this activity was carried out according to three aspects: 1. Pictures: the picture quality was judged according to the choice of perspective and background, performing framing, depth of field, lighting, control of the shadows, contrast with background, etc. 2. Blog posts: the use of appropriate terminology, the depth of the analysis performed and the objective validity of the arguments. 3. Level of participation: depending on the number of comments made and the answer of comments (feedback received). For the second semester it is planned a very similar activity in the subject 'Modelmaking workshop'. 2.2 Phases of project development and schedule The project comprises five interrelated phases. The development of Phase D is influenced in part by the conclusions reached in the coordination activity of phase C, which depend on the results obtained in phase B PHASE A: phase of two-level coordination Activity 1 (10/09/2012): coordination among the three teachers of the subject 'Product Presentation'. Initial coordination before the course starts to define the exercises to address and outline a schedule of project activities related to the subject. Activity 2 (14/09/2012): coordination between subjects. Before the beginning of classes, it was necessary to conduct a meeting with the four teachers from these subjects to complete the coordination of educational improvement project and prepare the following meetings PHASE B: centered in the subject Product presentation Activity 3 (10/29/2012). The students worked in groups. They analyzed the features of a series of physical packages, reflecting on their suitability (physical, ergonomic and communicative aspects) and discussed possibilities for improvement by implementing the theoretical knowledge acquired. Activity 4 (11/02/2012): intermediate coordination between the three teachers of the course. Reached the middle of the first semester was held a meeting between the teachers of the subject 'Product Presentation' to analyze the progress of the course, to ensure compliance with the objectives and make appropriate adjustment measures. 4188

5 Activity 5 (11/09/2012 to 14/12/2012): implementation of the final project of the subject by the students. Work approach and execution tutored by teachers in several laboratory classes. Activity 6 (12/03/2012 to 20/12/2012): creating the blog (blogger.com). Domain registration, redirection and graphical preparation by teachers. Activity 6b (21/12/2012): making photographs of projects. Activity performed in classroom with a professional set of photography, consisting of a camera, a tripod, a light focus and a background of neutral color fabric. Activity 6c (21/12/2012 to 31/12/2012): upload the project to the blog. Made by each student at home or in the open access classrooms at the University. Upload photographs taken in activity 6b, gave a name to their project and conducted a brief description. Activity 6d (01/01/2013 to 07/01/2013): comments and constructive critical analysis of students of the 4 groups. In the blog the students performed a critical and constructive analysis of the projects of their peers, getting feedback from their projects with enriching points of view that helped to raise awareness of the positive and negative aspects of the work done in the subject. Activity 6e (15/01/2013 to 01/17/2013). evaluation of photos, comments from students and their involvement in the activity, by teachers. Activity 7 (01/18/2013): final coordination among the teachers of the subject. Upon completion of the course a balance of the initial objectives was made and conclusions were drawn about student achievement, attendance and motivation. These data were prepared to share with the teachers of the subject 'Modelmaking workshop' (activity 10). Activity 8 (22/01/2013 to 02/08/2013): creating a database on paper. Design, layout and produce a query file for students in future years, with a selection of the best works of the course. Activity 9 (March 2013): dissemination of results PHASE C Activity 10 (01/18/2013): coordination between subjects. At the end of the subject of the first semester ('Product Presentation'), a meeting with the teachers of both subjects was organized to make partial balance of the results. The shortcomings presented by the students of 3rd course indicated the need to continue strengthening aspects of the subject of 2nd course 'Modelmaking workshop'. Last minute adjustments were possible to perform before the start of this subject in the second semester PHASE D: centered in the subject Modelmaking workshop Activity 11 (01/18/2013): coordination among the three teachers of the subject. Initial coordination before the course starts to define the exercises to address and outline a schedule of project activities related to the subject. Activity 12 (01/22/2013 to 02/04/2013): practicals sessions. Laboratory classes to introduce students to materials and workshop tools. The purpose is to speed up the acquisition of skills in handling materials and familiarization with the working environment of workshops (independent learning with teacher monitoring). Activity 13 (03/11/2013): intermediate coordination between teachers of the course. Reached the middle of the first semester, it was conducted a meeting between the teachers of the subject 'Modelmaking workshop' to discuss the progress of the course, to ensure compliance with the objectives and make appropriate adjustment measures. Activity 14 (03/11/2013 to 04/19/2013): implementation of the final project of the subject by the students (similar to activity 5). Activity 15a (04/22/2013 to 04/29/2013): remodeling of the blog created in the subject during Review and improvement of the structure, the graphical environment and options of the blog created last year, adapting it to the dynamics of current course. Activity 15b (04/22/2013 to 29/04/2013): making photographs of projects (similar to the activity 6b). Activity 15c (29/04/2013 to 12/05/2013): Upload the project to the blog (similar to the activity 6c). 4189

6 Activity 15d ( to ): comments and constructive critical analysis of students of the 5 groups. (similar to the activity 6d). Activity 15e (20/05/2013 to 24/05/2013) Evaluation (similar to the activity 6e). Activity 16 (07/06/2013): final coordination among the teachers of the subject. Upon completion of the course a balance of the initial objectives was made and conclusions were drawn about student achievement, attendance and motivation. Prepare and share this information with teachers of the subject 'Product Presentation' (activity 19, phase E). Activity 17 (11/06/2013 to 06/28/2013): creating a database on paper (similar to activity 8). Activity 18 (July 2013): dissemination of results PHASE E Activity 19 (10/06/2013): Coordination between subjects. The purpose is to evaluate the project globally and take appropriate action for the next year: to modify the syllabus of the subjects, to change the approach of some exercises, and based on the level observed in students 'Product Presentation' of 3rd year, adjust the content and timing of the subject 'Experimental prototypes workshop, to be taught in the 4th year for the first time during Description of the main activities Packaging analysis (activity #3) The purpose of this activity was to give students the opportunity to become familiar with the different types of packages available in the market. A more direct contact with these provides complementary data to the theoretical content taught in class and makes students able to recognize different types of materials, to understand the ergonomic implications and to analyze its ease of handling, key skills to address proper packaging design. For that purpose it was carried out an activity in which students had to work in groups to classify a series of physical packages according to several criteria, identify the materials used, analyze its structural, ergonomic and communication features, reflect on their suitability and discuss the possibilities of improvement, putting into practice the theoretical knowledge acquired. Data extracted from the analysis of each package were introduced in a paper sheet which was subsequently evaluated by teachers Blog (activity #6) The blog was created through a free platform for creating blogs ( The aesthetics of the official website of the Universitat Jaume I has been taken as reference and the blog was hosted as part of the web of the university at this address: The students have photographed in the classroom the scale models of their final projects. The projects consisted of the design of three support elements for a campaign targeted at a young audience: a poster, a brochure and a display. This campaign was sponsored by the City Council of Castellón and was intended to improve civic awareness and promote good practice in the urban environment. The photographs were taken under the guidance of teachers, who previously have explained some basics about photography. For this, they had a simple photographic set consisting of a background, cold light lamps for artificial lighting, a digital SLR camera, a tripod and a flash. Pictures taken were uploaded to the Virtual Classroom of this subject (a Moodle-based platform) so that students could dispose of them freely. A profile as "author" was enabled for the students with the corresponding private password for granting access. Each student created a post with 3 pictures of their final project and a brief explanation of it. They put a name to their product and detailed how the design was made and the intentions and motivations leading the project developed. Each student had to perform a second task in the blog, consisting in writing a critical-constructive analysis of the projects of their peers. The purpose was to get feedback from their work with enriching perspectives, so allowing the opportunity to become aware of the positive and negative aspects of the work done in the subject, and establish a dialogue between the author of the project and the other students. The analysis has aimed that students apply the knowledge worked in the subject and the generic skills acquired in the field of Industrial Design. We have considered the following aspects: formal aspects 4190

7 that are incorrect in the design developed (constructive and reasoned analysis), analysis of the functionality of the proposal, technical viability, quality of the scale model (constructive analysis and suggestions for possible improvements), similarities with other students projects and references to products available in the market. From that time the projects have been exposed in the blog permanently so that any user on the Web can see them and comment about them, so the feedback will be perpetuated over time. Figure 1. Screenshot of the blog Product presentation of the Universitat Jaume I ( 3 RESULTS 3.1 Evaluation system and project monitoring Packaging analysis The analyses of three packages conducted in group proved mostly correct, indicating that the theoretical content of the course had been properly assimilated. The exercise was performed by 69 of 98 students enrolled in the course (70,41%). To determine the interest of this exercise students answered an anonymous survey in which they were asked to rate positively or negatively three questions: The first was of a general nature: "Do you think that analyze and directly manipulate the packages in this exercise is good for understanding some of the issues addressed during the course?" 97,10% answered positively. The second question raised the possibility of performing the exercise more broadly: "Do you think that would be interesting to to have made the exercise with a larger number of packages?" 42,03% answered that it would be interesting to do the exercise with more than three packages, compared to 57,97% who felt that three packages were sufficient to understand the most common problems. Finally, the third question was regarding the success of teamwork: "Do you think that teamwork has benefited the result of this exercise?" 100% of participants responded affirmatively. 4191

8 3.1.2 Acquisition of skills related to photography The students were able to take pictures in class under a controlled environment. They have learned the basics of photography not taught in any other subject of the Grade, as issues about spot and environmental lighting, consequences of the shadow effects that can be generated, choosing the best point of view and the framing, the proper depth of field and controlled use of flash when needed. The results achieved in the classroom were very satisfactory (Fig. 2). Student: Beatriz Renau Student: Andrea Ferrando Student: Rafael Tatay Student: Isabel Pascual Student: Oihana Aranburu Student: Emilio Navarro Figure 2. Selection of pictures taken: display and brochure 4192

9 3.1.3 Active involvement in the blog Once operational, the blog registered more than 200 comments from the students in barely two weeks (Table 1). Table 1. Involvement in the blog of the subject Product presentation Students who have participated in the blog 77 (78,57% of the enrolled students) Total number of comments 205 Average number of comments made per project 2,66% We evaluated the use of appropriate terminology, the quality of analysis performed and the depth and objective validity of the arguments. We also evaluated the constructive nature of the observations made, their basis and if students have properly argued the reasons for each observation made. In order to determine the interest of the proposal, students were surveyed voluntarily and anonymously. The survey asked them to evaluate the initiative in a positive or negative way. The question to answer was: " Do you think that the blog of the subject is an interesting tool to publicize your projects abroad and a means to see the work of others?". 77 of the 98 students enrolled answered this question and 89,61% answered that the initiative was positive Design conferences As stated above, two conferences were organized in which we invited two designers of international reputation: Diego Suarez and José Bahamonde. The students were surveyed voluntarily and anonymously, asking them to evaluate the initiative in a positive or negative way. 77 of the 98 students enrolled answered this question and 98,70% answered that the initiative was positive Final performance improvement in the subject It should be noted an increase of 1,22 points out of 10 on the average final grade of the course regarding academic year (+22,43%). This significant improvement during the course may be due to several factors, such as the reorganization of the subject to move from the old plan to the new Degree plan, or due to the incorporation of new activities. We also detected a significant decrease in the dropout rate in the first round of evaluation of the course, going from 31,96% to only 9,18%. This demonstrates that the students have shown a greater interest in continuing to work in the subject compared to previous years. It is therefore possible to think that 81,63% of students that passed this course in the first round is due to a greater involvement in learning, probably due to the three activities introduced this year: the analysis of real packages, the two conferences of designers and creating a blog to discuss and disseminate the students projects. Table 2. Statistics between courses. Subject Product presentation Course 11/12 Course 12/13 Variation Students enrolled student Average grade (1st annual review) 5,44 6,66 + 1,22 points Percentage of students approved compared to all enrolled (1 st annual review) Percentage of students presented compared to all enrolled (1 st annual review) 44,33% 81,63% + 37,3 % 68,04% 90,82% + 22,78 % 4193

10 3.2 Overall balance In view of the results obtained we can conclude that the project has been positive for students. Making a final balance we can reflect on the various goals achieved in this first phase of the improvement project on the subject 'Product Presentation': An improvement in the final course performance: increasing the number of passing students, improving the dropout rate and increasing the average rating. Creating a documentary archive on paper with the best works of the subject provides the classroom of a reference material hitherto unpublished, which will serve the student for guidance on future quality standards required in these subjects and improve their motivation. The goals achieved by the creation of the blog have also been positive: This task has familiarized students with the use of new Web 2.0 technologies and the usual problems when uploading content to the Web. Students have had an overall view of the projects carried out by all partners enrolled in the course and not only by the fellows of their own group. Being able to see a larger range of solutions for a problem will certainly promote a more open mentality on the students, raises more concerns and motivates them to improve their results. Involvement of students in the course has been increased due to give them the opportunity to learn how to take good pictures of their projects for future CV or personal portfolio, improving international promotion of their work. According to the comments made on the blog we can say that the students have improved their ability to perform critical-constructive analysis, a basic skill needed for the development of the professional work of all industrial designers. Students have obtained feedback from the other course mates. Having done a similar project, they are sensitive to the inherent problems. In addition, there is the possibility that students get feedback about their work from people outside the course visiting the blog, from anywhere in the world. Thanks to this blog, future students of this subject will check projects made by students of previous courses and take them as reference. 4 FINAL THOUGHTS The application of this educational improvement project has been very successful. It has helped the students to become involved in a different way with their work, giving them a goal beyond just academic performance. Through the blog, the presentation of their project to the rest of the subject groups and the general public of the Web, certainly promotes the acquisition of a commitment to the quality of their contributions which favors a self-critical and self-improvement spirit, very important attitudes for industrial designer today. Analyzing these positive contributions to the student, it is logical to considere this as an organic proposal that would grow and adapt course after course to the specific needs of the subjects, based on the shortcomings that students may exhibit. Being already successfully implanted in two of the subjects of the Degree in Industrial Design ( Modelmaking workshop and 'Product Presentation'), it is recommended to adapt this proposal to be implemented also in 'Experimental prototypes workshop', during , also based on three-dimensional proposals development. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This educational improvement project (reference 2645/12) has received funding from the Educational Support Unit (U.S.E.) of the Universitat Jaume I, through the annual program 'Aids for educational innovation projects at the Universitat Jaume I in the 2012/13 course'. 4194

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