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Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy
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Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy

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The inclusion of experimental narrative writing opportunities throughout an educational program interjects critical thinking and emphasizes the importance of student experiences. Scenarios and ...

The inclusion of experimental narrative writing opportunities throughout an educational program interjects critical thinking and emphasizes the importance of student experiences. Scenarios and simulation based activities were created to help students understand the role of feelings in shaping the human experience in relation to their physical environment. Hands-on activities that create tangible associations with the disabled (or diverse user groups) is the most valuable technique for developing and encouraging positive action. They allow students to filter out personal biases and guide tactical decision making. Research indicates that autobiographical accounts of people create empathy and help students understand the world in different ways rather than relying on preconceived ideas; therefore, reflective narrative writing creates opportunities for students to identify with personas of the populations they research.
The simulation and writing activities were implemented within a junior level interior design course relating to understanding building codes for various user groups in society. Pretests were administered to students related to understanding, empathy, and critical thinking in design as it relates to different user groups. Narrative assignments were integrated and user profiles were created for simulation activities based on the information gathered from pretests. Critical writing rubrics were developed and classroom teaching tools were researched and purchased for simulation activities. Students performed simulation activities, writing assignments, class discussions, and reflections. Post tests were administered and evaluated to assess the success of narrative focused activities. The success of student development tracked through the course and was compared to previous year’s final grades and course evaluations.

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  • In the last several years, INDS curriculum changes have included the introduction of Writing 465, Preparation of Oral and Written Reports. As expected, we have seen a marked improvement in the technical nature of upper level student work. Students seem to understand the technical characteristics of reports but, as of yet, that has not appeared to have improved their ability to connect with personal user information and to exploit those connections toward a more successful design conclusion. It has been noted by all INDS faculty that the students enter into the program with a right-or-wrong mentality and want to know the scripted path they need to succeed (how many pages, what format, etc.). They believe they should receive a good grade because they followed instructions rather than because they created a document that demonstrated skill, critical thinking and empathy.
  • CIDAAlso, our CIDA (Council for Interior Design Accreditation) reaccreditation visit occurs in October 2012. During a forum coordinated by CIDA, industry members stated that for designers, the ability to employ creative problem solving was second only in importance to critical thinking skills. Student’s biased, uninformed, prejudiced, or dualistic thoughts and beliefs must be challenged. Skills must be systematically cultivated and continually reinforced to prepare our graduates.In a 2006, during the Future Vision Forum coordinated by CIDA, educators, practitioners and other industry members stated that for future interior designers, the ability to employ creative problem solving was second only in importance to critical thinking skills. In order to think critically, students must be exposed to experiences that challenge their biased, uninformed, prejudiced, or strictly dualistic thoughts and beliefs with which they enter college. These skills (critical thinking, sound research and reasoning, sensitivity to diversity, thoughtful examination of user issues, etc.) cannot be implanted in students in the Touchstone program and then abandoned within their major coursework. These skills must be systematically cultivated and continually reinforced in order to better prepare our graduates for future professional or graduate work. ‘‘Entry-level designers must have a global view and weigh design decisions within the parameters of ecological, socio-economical and cultural contexts’’ (Carmel-Gilfilen).
  • It has been shown that autobiographical accounts of people (with or without disabilities) create empathy, rather than judgment, and help designers understand the world in different ways rather than relying on predispositions or preconceived ideas. The initial step in formulating autobiographical narratives is detailed research into user needs, information gathering which could be deemed cultural anthropology, emphasizing the critical thinking and research components stressed in the Touchstone program. Anthropological research emphasizes the critical thinking and research components and in-class sharing creates another opportunity to practice oral communication skills stressed in the Touchstone Program. In order to create authentic autobiographical accounts, we must move students away from the position of being a detached observer to a position of significance and engagement. Scenarios and simulation based activities must be created to help students understand the role of feelings in shaping the human experience in relation to their physical environment. Reflective narrative writing creates opportunities for students to identify with personas they have researched in order to create.This research is used to create a persona that is integral to the oneness needed for a realistic engagement with the client or character. Personas help establish an “empathetic focus in the design process” (Williams, K). This empathetic character development can be used “to engage interior design students in a dialogue about the importance of adopting a socio-cultural perspective for insight into the social fabric, attitudes and behaviors, perceptions, beliefs, history, etc. in interior design” (Williams, S). In-class sharing of these narratives can give classmates exposure to an array of human experiences they would not have the time to explore individually, as well as creates another opportunity to practice oral communication skills, another goal of our Touchstone Program.  
  • Multi-sensory signifiers – devices integrated into the built environment, such as Tactile Ground Surface Indicators (TGSIs) and audio-tactile pedestrian signalsPassive echolocation - estimate the spatial volumes, height of the ceiling or distance of partitionsBiogram - lived diagrams based on already lived experience, revived to orient further experience. For the body the Biogram is a memory of it’s own movements shaped by sensory qualities of an environment…. It is intersensory.Keynote Sounds – Background noises … the sounds of the air conditioner, fan noise or traffic .Sound signals - Foreground sounds forming auditory warnings. Soundmark - Community sound which is unique or possesses qualities which make it specially regarded or noticed by the people in that community.

Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy Presentation Transcript

  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy WHO SAID THIS? Today just happened to be a more than usual hot and humid day, making my already uncomfortable state even more uncomfortable. I could feel the arthritis in my fingers more intensely today and not long into my walk on campus, I begin to feel my fingers starting to swell, making my grip on my walker harder to control. My slow steps felt heavy and I knew that before long I would need to sit down to catch my breath and rest my aching joints. Unfortunately, on Scholars Walk, I only noticed She did! swinging benches, nothing stable A 21 year old, enough for an elderly woman like me able to sit down on …. I kept bodied, INDS student
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy EXPERIENTIAL EDUCATION & NARRATIVE WRITING: GATEWAY TO USER EMPATHY Jennifer Blanchard Belk, IIDA, IDEC, LEED AP Skylar Spies (Undergrad Research Assistant) WINTHROP UNIVERSITY INDS PROGRAM, DEPT. OF DESIGN
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy ORIGINAL RESEARCH AGENDA Exploration of the use of narrative writing as a way of “challenging students to examine their own ways of thinking about themselves, their beliefs, and their preconceptions about others” (Bird). The inclusion of experimental narrative writing opportunities throughout a design educational program is a way to interject critical thinking and to emphasize the user centered design experience. The instructional development presented here is meant to create opportunities in interior design classes for writing, development of critical thinking skills, and advancement of user empathy. Activities were developed based on an exploration of autobiographical narrative writing. Utilize simulations and narrative writing in Interior Design (Junior level) Codes & Standards course to assist in: • Development of student empathy and a multiplistic view of design • Reaching of course objectives • Cross-curricular application of course content ….. rather than simply being a venue for memorizing building codes!
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy REASONS FOR INQUIRY…. University Touchstone Program: Student Goals To communicate clearly and effectively in standard English. To acquire and appreciate quantitative skills. To use critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and a variety of research methods. To recognize and appreciate human diversity (both past and present) as well as the diversity of ideas, institutions, philosophies, moral codes, and ethical principles. To understand scientific knowledge in terms of its methods or acquisition, its specific quantitative nature, and its dynamic and contingent character. To understand aesthetic values, the creative process, and the interconnectedness of the literary, visual, and performing arts throughout the history of civilization. To examine values, attitudes, beliefs, habits which define the nature/quality of life.
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy REASONS FOR INQUIRY…. University’s Global Learning Initiative Students must be exposed to all levels of Physical, Social and Cultural Diversity …. and be able to apply that understanding in a substantial way in their chosen area of study.
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy REASONS FOR INQUIRY…. Writing 465 (Preparation of Oral and Written Reports ) Improved student: • Technical nature of upper level student work Remaining issues: • Fail to connect with user information and exploit those connections • Right-or-wrong mentality • Want a scripted path they need to succeed. • Believe they should receive an “A” because they followed instructions
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy REASONS FOR INQUIRY…. PREVELENCE OF DISABLED STUDENTS ON WU CAMPUS • Why? - Support structure and word of mouth within the disabled community • More wheelchair bound students than ever! • Although disabilities represented on our campus are varied, most public written and visual resources related to accessibility focus on the wheelchair access. • As our campus enrollment and new physical facilities become more inclusive, so too must our methods of communicating and teaching empathy and diversity. Comparison of Percentage of Self-Identified as Visually Impaired 8.0% 6.0% 4.0% 2.0% 0.0% National Collegiate Average Winthrop Student Body
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy REASONS FOR INQUIRY…. CODES CLASS is boring  • More engaging lessons • Out of classroom experiences • Utilization of additional campus facilities
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy THE BACKSTORY (Literature Review) The goal of major studies should be to move students from “dualistic absolutes to a more contextual understanding of knowledge …..students approach knowledge as a collection of known facts that are right and wrong…. and thereby demonstrate an over reliance on the instructor” (Carmel-Gilfilin). Based on the highly referenced scholarly article, “Humanizing Design through Narrative Inquiry” (Danko), we understand that a way to interject a more critical thinking and user centered design experience is the inclusion of narrative writing opportunities throughout the design program. This happens in three typical ways : • Heightening User Empathy • Enhancing Multi-Sensory Conceptualization and Visualization • Facilitating Holistic Thinking Teaching contextual and multiplistic thinking, critical analysis of design scenarios, and narrative writing shifts the responsibility of success and knowledge acquisition onto the student.
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy THE BACKSTORY (Literature Review) “the ability to employ creative problem solving was second only in importance to critical thinking skills.” (CIDA Future Vision Forum ) ‘‘Entry-level designers must have a global view and weigh design decisions within the parameters of ecological, socio-economical and cultural contexts’’ (Carmel-Gilfilen). Student’s biased, uninformed, prejudiced, or dualistic beliefs must be challenged. Critical thinking Sound research and reasoning Sensitivity to diversity Thoughtful examination of users These skills cannot be implanted in students in the Touchstone program and then abandoned within their major coursework. They must be systematically cultivated and continually reinforced to prepare graduates for professional or graduate work.
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy THE BACKSTORY (Literature Review) “Writing is a very important component in the designer’s professional life. It creates a bridge between the visual and verbal communication; it emphasizes a communication method with which clients are familiar; and it is a method of efficient expression.” (Denise Guerin) “Reading (and writing) stories engages people in active exploration of causal links to personal experience providing a mechanism for exploring opposing views and promoting an understanding of how others form meaning in their own unique ways …. People aren’t characters until stories make them so” (Danko) “Moving beyond absolute right and wrong, design problems and processes necessarily involve critical thinking and multiple perspectives to frame and arrive at fully formulated solutions…..development of critical thinking requires a thoughtful balance between challenge and support. Critical thinking and problem-solving skills should be emphasized in order to help students see a step beyond their current perceptions, thus propelling them to the next level of development” (Carmel-Gilfilen). “Project work (within INDS and the field of design) is increasing in complexity, scale, context and content….. without a well-thought out conceptual and/or research-based foundation, projects lack substance” (Carmel-Gilfilin).
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy THE BACKSTORY (Literature Review) “Narrative writing, creative and persuasive in nature, creates opportunities for students to connect with varied user groups and identify with personas they have researched in order to create. It allows them to step outside of themselves to identify and evaluate interactions between users and their social, natural, and designed surroundings “ (Guerin). They create “counter stories – narratives which give voice to society’s out-groups and underrepresented minorities” and these stories have the unique ability to unite people on a passionate plane providing the needed inspiration to boost performance and originality (Danko). “Design narrative theory addresses the true complexity of human experience as a prevailing factor in design. It provides a comprehensive framework for understanding the internal human response to interior space” (Ganie).
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy THE BACKSTORY (Literature Review) Autobiographical accounts of people create empathy rather than judgment, and help designers understand the world in different ways rather than relying on predispositions or preconceived ideas, moving students away from the position of being a detached observer to a position of significance and engagement. Creating a persona (Faculty) • Integral to the oneness needed for a realistic engagement with the client or character. Personas help establish an “empathetic focus in the design process” (Williams, K). • Empathetic character development can be used “to engage interior design students in a dialogue about the importance of adopting a socio-cultural perspective for insight into the social fabric, attitudes and behaviors, perceptions, beliefs, history, etc. in interior design” (Williams, S).
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy THE BACKSTORY (Literature Review) Often design clients are not necessarily a person with whom a student can associate. They are often organizations and corporations into which the designer must theoretically place himself in order to understand client needs and motivations. A narrative method can be a tool for investigating concepts and guiding conclusions, a method of informing design programming, and a way a student can begin to understand corporate vision and values. This understanding can be subsequently conveyed in the development process and final environmental product (Danko). Writing the Narrative (Students) • These experiences emphasize “how humans interact with the physical world as agents of change and meaning” and writing descriptions of second hand experiences “would be limited to functional meaning, without the emotional- volitional quality of direct experience” (Fiore). • In-class sharing can give classmates exposure to an array of human experiences they would not have the time to explore individually, as well as creates another opportunity to practice oral communication skills, another goal of our Touchstone Program.
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy GOALS FOR IMPLIMENTATION Goals for students: Filter out personal biases Understand the role of feelings in shaping the human experience in relation to their physical environment Create a sensitive and user centered vocabulary Increase tactical decision making Enhance writing skills … all while learning about the accessibility codes as required by course competencies!
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy THE STEPS The simulation and writing activities discussed were implemented within a junior level Interior Design Codes and Standards course. The process included: • Literature review performed regarding narrative writing, empathy and design. • Pretests were created and administered to students re: understanding, exposure, empathy, and critical thinking in design as it relates to different user groups. • Determine implications and best practices for course integration • Simulation equipment was researched and purchased (and stored!) • Assignments, student instructions and user profiles were created for simulation activities based on the information gathered from pretests and research. • Creative/critical writing rubrics were developed from industry/university samples. • Students performed campus based simulation activities, writing assignments, class discussions, and reflections as well as had training regarding respect and professionalism prior to the onset of assignments. • Grade assignments, debrief with students, and modify as needed • Post tests were administered and evaluated to assess the success of narrative focused activities. The success of student development (via assessment of narrative reflections) was tracked through the course and was compared to previous years’ final grades and course/instructor evaluations.
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy PRE-TESTS and ASSESSMENTS Student Comfort Level Age Gender Sexual Orientation Mental Disabilities Physical Disabilities Political/Religious = Lowest Weight/Obesity Comfort Levels Higher/Lower Economic Class Race Ethnicity/Origin 0 1 2 3 4 5 Student Exposure Level Age Gender Sexual Orientation Mental Disabilities = Lowest Physical Disabilities Exposure Levels Political/Religious Weight/Obesity Higher/Lower Economic Class Race Ethnicity/Origin 0 1 2 3 4 5
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy PRE-TESTS and ASSESSMENTS Importance of Cultural Consideration Age Gender Sexual Orientation Mental Disabilities Physical Disabilities Political/Religious Weight/Obesity Higher/Lower Economic Class Race Ethnicity/Origin 0 1 2 3 4 5 = Most Important Roles for Consideration in Interior Spaces
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy PRE TEST Knowledge of users with 1= very low various 2= low mobility, aging, vision, hearin 3= neutral g, language, behavioral… 4= above average 5= high Comfort level with integrating universal design within your projects? Willingness to put user needs Pre Test above your personal design agenda? Awareness of the growing need/issues pertaining to design for aging in place? 0.00 1.00 2.00 3.00 4.00 5.00
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy THE PROCESS Discussions and Instruction On-Campus Pre-Surveys Stimulations Reflections and Discussions Off-Campus Post Surveys Stimulations
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy PUTTING IT INTO CAMPUS CONTEXT…..
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy THE PERSONAS Ms. Smith Goes to College You are a new returning student to the university. However, you are elderly, use a walker, and have multiple age related issues. There is a lot you have to do for admissions, enrollment and Welcome Week. You have come to campus to perform the Aging tasks of a normal freshman and will return home to perform the tasks of a normal home Population owner. Why can’t things just be like they used to be?.... You will experience a day in the life as WU student who was just recently paralyzed/injured and now requires the use of a wheelchair. Acting as this student, “live” Wheelchair- your first day back on campus since the accident, reflecting on how the experience felt Bound and your personal experiences from the perspective of this newly wheelchair confined student. WU Alumnus Experiences WU Preview Day Experience WU Preview Day as one of WU’s alumni who became blind after graduating; Vision however, they are now a parent who is with their child to see what WU has to offer. As an Impaired alumnus of WU, they will experience a different context between their old experiences and the new campus. A temporary, and unexpected, loss of hearing In this scenario, you are yourself … a junior, Interior Design major; however, you are Hearing experiencing temporary hearing loss due to developing middle ear infections. The Impaired pressure from the fluid has caused your ear drums to rupture; thus, impairing your hearing ability. Continue to go about your life as you need to; however, you have temporary lost your hearing. Psychological/Mental Impairments Mental You are your INDS Contract Documents Project 3 client, 40 year old couple with a special Illness needs relative suffering from an Anxiety disorder, Attention-deficit disorder, Autism and development disorder, Mood disorder, Depression disorder, Eating disorder, Communication or Tic disorder.
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy SAMPLE ASSIGNMENT COMPONENTS INTRODUCTION & INSTRUCTIONS WU Alumnus Experiences WU Preview Day Experience WU Preview Day as one of WU’s alumni who became blind after graduating; however, they are now a parent who is with their child to see what WU has to offer. As an alumnus of WU, they will experience a different context between their old experiences and the new campus. Visual Impartment Equipment List: Blindfold & Blind Cane Instructions: •Partner up to determine how you will tackle your simulation. •Partner responsibilities: •Assist your partner as a Winthrop Ambassador telling the parent about WU buildings as they travel on campus. •Photograph his/her interactions, document their responses from others, note difficulties •“Call them” on cheating but protect them from harm •Maintain notice of time & coordinate exchange of equipment for take home activity •Go as a group go to the West Center. Split into pairs for remainder of activity •Discussion about respect, dignity and decorum
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy SAMPLE ASSIGNMENT COMPONENTS ON CAMPUS As a parent, I want the right college ACTIVITIES experience for my daughter. I need to hear from Winthrop students about their first hand experiences on campus to make sure I feel comfortable with my child attending WU for college. I need to attend the College Experience small group discussion at Markey’s Food Court. Prior to lunch in Thomson Hall, Jane and I will go on an ambassador building tour of Kinard Hall since my daughter will be sociology major. On Campus Activities: Choose one of the following four profiles to complete within the 50 minute timeframe. Immediately document your experiences!
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy USING THE ENTIRE CAMPUS ENVIRONMENT My daughter is extremely excited about college and would like nothing more than to attend WU; however, I need to ensure about the workings of financial aid at WU to make my daughter’s dream possible. I am attending the Financial Aid discussion in DIG’s room 114. My daughter, Sally, will be a business major and prior to lunch in Thomson Hall our ambassador will show us Thurmond Building.
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy SAMPLE ASSIGNMENT COMPONENTS OFF CAMPUS ACTIVITIES Off Campus Activity: Do at least one of the following activities with a partner while using the visual impartment equipment. •Make the trip to your local supply store such as Hobby Lobby or Staples and navigate your way to the office supplies section. •Visit a local restaurant, place your order, and eat a meal
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy SAMPLE ASSIGNMENT COMPONENTS FINAL REFLECTION Reflection Activity: PREPARATION Once you have completed both assignments, reflect on your day’s experiences. Write a FIRST PERSON NARRATIVE ACCOUNT of your day (on campus and off) as a visually handicapped citizen, trying to lead a productive life, dealing with the navigational issues of visual impairment and the psychological/social issues they entail. This could be written as if it were a journal entry to yourself or as a letter to a close family member or friend. Some things to consider: •What were your difficulties? What were your successes? •How did you feel (physically and emotionally) and what were your needs/wishes? •What significance did your experiences have? Why? •How did people respond to you (this may come from observing your partner)? •Was the built environment helpful or stressful to you? Why? •How did you use your other senses to help you?
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy ASSIGNMENT RUBRIC Narrative Reflection Rubric Name:_______________ Concrete Examples: 5 4 3 2 1 x 4 = ______ · Indication of chosen activity (on-campus & off-campus) · Observation of the reactions of others · Reaction of the built environment Evidence of Reflective Thought: 5 4 3 2 1 x 8 = ______ · Description of feelings (physical & emotional) · Utilization of other senses/Description of use of other senses · Comparison of difficulties and successes Personal/Narrative Development: 5 4 3 2 1 x 4 = ______ · Development of character and ability to empathize · Personal thoughts and reactions · Significance of this experience has on character’s new school life Grammar & Sentence Variety: 5 4 3 2 1 x 2 = ______ · Sentence structure and variety · Spelling, punctuation, capitalization · Word choice and usage Attention to Directions: 5 4 3 2 1 x 2 = ______ · Respectful participation in on-campus & off-campus activities · Reflection written in first person · Minimum 600 words; Posted on Turitin.com Grade:__________
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy SAMPLES FROM NARRATIVES When I began my college career at Winthrop, I was able to experience the beauty and small feel of the campus. Today, I am left with only my memories of this great place. The last time I visited campus, I still had my vision. It’s strange thing, going to places that you feel you know as if they were the back of your hand, all the while feeling trapped in darkness. It’s difficult to explain the defeat of relying solely on your other senses, mainly by touch and smell. Being a mother through the years and being unable to see my sons grow up and age as they mature has been difficult for me. They were only toddlers when I lost my vision.
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy SAMPLES FROM NARRATIVES As we approached the entrance, I noticed by the feel of my cane that there was some sort of tile flooring. Sometimes, this type of flooring bothers me because my cane can easily (and frequently does) get caught in the groves of the grout. As James held the door open for me, I could easily tell by the sounds that this was a large, open space. Chitter chatter echoed and voices of dozens of people murmured in the background. At this point, I really felt like I was missing out on seeing this. My recollection of Dinkins, the old student center, did not sound like this, nor were there ever this many people inside. I knew I was the parent all of the students were watching, holding my cane and latched onto my husband for guidance. As we sat down in the
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy SAMPLES FROM NARRATIVES We started the long trek over to Thurmond. The farther we went from the central hub around Digs the less confident I was. I quickly learned to prepare myself for nuts and debris on the sidewalks when I felt shade because big trees were scattered all along the campus. The sidewalks were also a bit uneven, which made me terrified of falling. There were vehicles traveling along this route, and in the distance I could hear lots of traffic. The campus had handicap ramps with transition pads at every crosswalk we came to, which gave me a bit more independence when crossing the streets. However, at one point there were two traffic stops close together and so irregularly placed that I was confused by their sounds and lost my direction. After lunch, I started to pay more attention to
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy SAMPLES FROM NARRATIVES My cane soon hit a metal ping and I brought my hand upwards to feel what I had hit. I could feel cool glass and a handle, so I knew I was at the beverage coolers, and that these lined the left wall. Using my hand on the coolers as a guide, and my cane, I walked straight until the coolers ended and my hand dropped to a shelf. I felt around and felt the texture of a notebook, which let me know we were in the office supplies. We got in the car, and continued home. During the remainder of the drive, I began to realize how much sound and textures played a big role in my life now. Before I was blind, I never noticed the “sounds” of the buildings, or the different textures that let me know where I was or what I was
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy SAMPLES FROM NARRATIVES What I thought was going to be a walk down memory lane was altogether a new experience for me, a very humbling one. At times I felt timid and self-conscious, but the more time I spent on campus the more assured I felt in my journey. It is such a shame I took my sight for granted when I did have it. Would life be easier and would it help me if I had memorized things: for example, the placement of all the old trees at WU? Probably not, but I should have stopped and appreciated the vision of them more often.
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy SENSORY SPATIALITY Environmental multi-sensory information= fundamental for orientation The ability to establish and maintain an awareness of one’s position in space and is dependent upon gathering and interpretation of available sensory information. Info may be: Visually impaired travelers are taught to • Visual recognize and anticipate the regularities • Auditory of the environments in which they travel. • Kinesthetic ….They become landmarks which a • Tactile traveler can use to pinpoint his or her • Thermal exact location in space. • Olfactory
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy SENSORY SPATIALITY Multi-sensory signifiers – Tangible items Passive echolocation – ID by externally made sounds Biogram – Memory of movements shaped by senses Keynote Sounds – Background noises Sound signals - Foreground warning sounds Soundmark - Unique community sounds
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy SENSORY SPATIALITY
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy SENSORY SPATIALITY
  • AGING POPULATIONS Ms. Smith Goes to CollegeExperiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy You are a new returning student to the university. However, you are elderly, use a walker, and have multiple age related issues. There is a lot you have to do for admissions, enrollment and Welcome Week. You have come to campus to perform the tasks of a normal freshman and will return home to perform the tasks of a normal home owner. Elderly Simulation Equipment List (discuss): • 12 lb weight vest; Set of 3lb wrist weights with extensions (muscle weakness; discuss stroke victims!) • Adhesive bandages for fingers (joint issues); Walker (mobility and support) On Campus Activities: Choose 4 of the following activities/tasks to complete . Between tasks, take a restroom break. After your two tasks, come back to our meeting place to trade equipment. Immediately document your experiences! • Go get your WU ID and then go pay on your WU account • Go get an immunization shot and then go pick up information about internships • Go change your major to the Arts & Sciences and then go to a show at Byrnes Auditorium • Go buy a soda at Markley’s and then go pick up an application from Res Life • Go to the locker room at the gym and then go make an appointment with a personal trainer • Go watch a lecture at the Amphitheater and then go to a recital at Barnes Recital Hall Off Campus Activity: Without assistance from a family member, do at least one of the following activities in full equipment. This activity should take at least 30 minutes. • Prepare a meal • Get yourself ready for class (hair drying, dressing, etc.) • Clean a space in your home • Outdoor maintenance (gardening?) or indoor maintenance (laundry?)
  • WHEELCHAIR BOUND Why can’t things just be like they used to be?....Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy You will experience a day in the life as WU student who was just recently paralyzed/injured and now requires the use of a wheelchair. Acting as this student, “live” your first day back on campus since the accident, reflecting on how the experience felt and your personal experiences from the perspective of this newly wheelchair confined student. Mobile Impairment Equipment List: A Wheelchair On Campus Activities: Choose one of the following profiles to complete within the 50 minute timeframe. Immediately document your experiences! • My name is Allison Rode and I was a dance major until an accident left me wheelchair bound. Although I no longer dance, most of my friends are still dance majors. I plan to travel from my room in Courtyard to Johnson Hall to support my friends and watch their performances. • My name is Sally Joe and I am a business major. I was on a soccer scholarship for the WU team but I became paralyzed in training. I spend most of my time in Carroll Hall for classes and studying. I want to continue my love for sports and soccer by writing for the Johnsonian and covering WU sporting events. • My name is Blakely Reynolds and I love the outdoors and activities; however, I blew out my knees skiing on spring break. I’m a double major in education and mathematics. The majority of my classes are in Withers and I work at the Math Tutorial Center. • My name is Sydney Bright and I am an art history major who was an avid runner before my car accident. I want to continue my work at the West Center help desk with all my friends as well as working at the Academic Success Center three times a week tutoring in art history. Off Campus Activity: Without assistance from a family member, roommate, or friend, do at least one of the following activities in the wheelchair: • Prepare a meal or actively use various kitchen appliances such as oven, refrigerator, pantry, etc. • Make a short errand to a local drug store, post office, or other “walkable” errand you typically make.
  • HEARING IMPAIRMENT A temporary, and unexpected, loss of hearingExperiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy In this scenario, you are yourself … a junior, Interior Design major; however, you are experiencing temporary hearing loss due to developing middle ear infections. The pressure from the fluid has caused your ear drums to rupture; thus, impairing your hearing ability. Continue to go about your life as you need to; however, you have temporary lost your hearing. Impartment Equipment List: Set of Ear plugs & Headphones Hearing Impartment Activity: Wear headphones and earplugs for at least 5 hours during the following week. The majority of this time must be done in the presence of others (cafeteria, library, apartment, public space, etc) but you must not verbally communicate. Reflection Activity: Once you have completed the assignment, reflect on your day’s experiences. Write a FIRST PERSON NARRATIVE ACCOUNT of your day as a hearing impaired citizen trying to lead a productive life. Reflect on your feelings of separation and seclusion as well as your typical understanding and attention to your senses and the built environment.
  • NON-PHYSICAL DISABILITIES Psychological/Mental ImpairmentsExperiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy You are your INDS Contract Documents Project 3 client, 40 year old couple with a special needs relative suffering from an Anxiety disorder, Attention-deficit disorder, Autism and development disorder, Mood disorder, Depression disorder, Eating disorder, Communication or Tic disorder. Reflection Assignment: • Your reflection is in the voice of the primary client from the project having a heart-felt discussion with the designer about the clients’ concerns about accommodating the psychological / mental disability within the new environment. This might be an email written to the designer as follow up your more informational initial programming meeting. • You are NOT a designer (and therefore you do not have a designer vocabulary). You are simply a parent, child or sibling who wants the best for their family. • Talk about what your goals are for the space, your family, and their future? What should this space allow your family to do, be, feel, etc.? • Reflect on your concerns for your relative functioning in the new built environment; include specific knowledge (from your research) of impairments tied to your concerns. • The writing should represent your knowledge of the “worst case scenarios” of the occupants of the space, your understanding of the impairments, and your empathy for ALL occupants (not just the one with accommodations). • As before, lean on your senses and the less “tangible” aspects of the experiences. • Discuss the issues of your previous home and its worst case scenarios. Discuss how you hope the new home accommodates and improves your family’s lifestyle. • Some things to consider when comparing your previous home vs new home: • If the special needs occupant is new, what are your fears and trepidations about them working (and thriving) in the space? If they are not new, what were your difficulties? What were your successes? Was the built environment helpful or stressful to your family? Why? • Consider functionality, inclusion, aesthetics, independence of occupants, etc.
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy POST-TESTS and ASSESSMENTS Student Comfort Level Age Gender Sexual Orientation Mental Disabilities Physical Disabilities Political/Religious = Growth Weight/Obesity Higher/Lower Economic Class Race Ethnicity/Origin 0 1 2 3 4 5 Student Exposure Level Age Gender Sexual Orientation Mental Disabilities = Growth Physical Disabilities Political/Religious Weight/Obesity Higher/Lower Economic Class Race Ethnicity/Origin 0 1 2 3 4 5
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy PRE-TESTS and ASSESSMENTS Importance of Design Consideration Age Gender Sexual Orientation Mental Disabilities Physical Disabilities Political/Religious Weight/Obesity Higher/Lower Economic Class Race Ethnicity/Origin 0 1 2 3 4 5 = - = GROWTH
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy POST TESTS Knowledge of users with various 1= very low mobility, aging, vision, hearing, 2= low language, behavioral abilities? 3= neutral 3.29 to 4.57 = Change of 1.29 4= above average Comfort level with integrating 5= high universal design within your projects? 4.14 to 4.71 = Change of .57 Week 1 - Pre Test Willingness to put user needs Week 15 - Post Test above your personal design agenda? 3.29 to 4.29 = Change of 1 Awareness of the growing need/issues pertaining to design for aging in place? 2.86 to 4.71 = Change of 1.86 0.00 1.00 2.00 3.00 4.00 5.00
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy STUDENT COMMENTS “Reflection assignments, real world examples, and the stimulation activities were very effective. I came to understand the heightening of other senses.” “Our discussions, activities and reflections helped me to understand how to design for an elderly or disabled person… It was eye opening!” “Really enjoyed the empathy exercises… I feel that accessibility is a factor that is grossly misrepresented.” “I have a greater respect for not only the disabled community but also for the interior designer’s role in the creation of the built environment” “I would recommend this for all emerging designers …. I feel more capable now of designing for equality” “ I realize frustration is the main emotion for those who struggle in public spaces. I do not pity them … poor attention to design causes this.”
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy STUDENT COMMENTS One student who showed a marked rise in comfort level and awareness stated: “I personally felt that the simulations have given me a much better understanding of how to effectively design for various types of people. I think the reflection papers were a great way to express what certain groups of people encounter on a daily basis … that really helped me in becoming less sympathetic but more empathetic toward their struggles.”
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy OUTCOMES: GRADE COMPARISONS and EVALS FALL 2011 CLASS FINAL GRADE AVERAGE = 89.4 (B+) FALL 2012 CLASS FINAL GRADE AVERAGE = 92.5 (A-) _______________________ Rate how much the stimulation activities and reflection papers have affected your attitudes and opinions towards different user groups? Average Student Response= 4.4 (above average to high) out of 5
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy ADDITIONAL EXPECTED OUTCOMES • IDENTIFICATION OF INDIVIDUAL CAMPUS BUILDING ACCESSIBILITY ISSUES - Supplemented by Individual Building Analysis assignment in preparation for Final Scenario Exam • IDENTIFICATION OF CAMPUS CONNECTIVITY ISSUES (ACCESSIBILITY OF BUILDING TO BUILDING)
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy SUPPORTIVE CONNECTION TO COREQUISITE COURSEWORK • BUILDING SYSTEMS • PROJECT AND CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTATION • BUILDERS OF HOPE - RETIREMENT HOUSING ADAPTIVE REUSE • COMMERCIAL TENANT UPFIT • CUSTOM RESIDENTIAL KITCHEN - SPECIAL NEEDS CLIENT • JUNIOR STUDIO
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy UNEXPECTED OUTCOMES ASID Carolinas Chapter 2012-2013 Otto Zenke Student Design Competition Florence Hotel Project Challenges Design for this mixed and adaptive reuse building …….The design solution must include a sensitive response to sustainable design, accessible and universal design, through appropriate space planning within the spatial envelope, code compliance, lighting, and interior finishes and furnishings. Code and Accessibility Compliance These selected legal requirements for occupancy must be incorporated into the project. Refer to the actual code for complete information. This list is not intended to be complete in the legal requirements. Concept and Solution Statement On the first or second presentation board, include a concept and solution statement …. respond to the concept and/or solutions to research statements, sustainability, codes, and accessible/universal design.
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy UNEXPECTED OUTCOMES • INDS STUDENT CAMPUS AWARENESS and APPRECIATION • CAMPUS VISIBILITY and AWARENESS OF INDS PROGRAM
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy FOR FURTHER INVESTIGATION ….. To Do: • Develop rubrics to assess the effect this experimental education had on design classes in the current semester (INDS Junior Studio work as compared to previous course offering) regarding: • Overall Codes Compliance • Thoughtful and Empathetic Universal Design • Substantive project development ability • increased verbal and written communication skills • Results will be used to develop suggested classroom resources (lesson plans, teaching tips, etc.) for INDS faculty use in the following courses: • INDS 213 & 313 Spatial Analysis I & II • INDS 271 & 272 Int Des & Architecture History I & II • INDS 331 Lighting Design • INDS 353, 357, 453, 455 ID Studio I-IV • INDS 487 & 488 Senior Thesis Preparation & Studio
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy EXPERIENTIAL EDUCATION & NARRATIVE WRITING: GATEWAY TO USER EMPATHY … any questions???? For notes or resources, contact belkj@winthrop.edu
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy SELECTED REFERENCES "AHEAD: Association on Higher Education And Disability." RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Sept. 2012. Beacham, C., N. M. MacDonald, J.-J. Yoo, and B. S. McFall. "Design Thinking: Promoting Diversity Through Global Immersion." Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal 37.3 (2009): 344-58. Wiley Online Library. John Wiley, 2 July 2009. Web. 29 Jan. 2012. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1177/1077727X08330690/abstract . Bird, John C., and Gloria G. Jones. "CRITICAL THINKING ACROSS THE CAMPUS AND THROUGHOUT THE UNIVERSITY EXPERIENCE." Diss. Winthrop University. Abstract. Winthrop University. Web. 29 Jan. 2012. http://www.winthrop.edu/uploadedFiles/sacs/qep/focus_Jones%20Bird%20propos al.pdf . Burgstahler, Sheryl, and Tanis Doe. Disability-related Simulations: If, When, and How to Use Them in Professional Development." UW Staff Web Server. University of Washington, 2004. Web. 28 Jan. 2012. <http://staff.washington.edu/sherylb/RDSissue0220“
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy SELECTED REFERENCES Carmel-Gilfilen, Candy, and Margaret Portillo. "Creating Mature Thinkers in Interior Design: Pathways of Intellectual Development." Journal of Interior Design 35.3 (2010): 1-20. Print. Danko, Sheila. "Humanizing Design through Narrative Inquiry." Journal of Interior Design 31.2 (2006): 10-28. Print. Fiore, S., P. Wright, and A. Edwards.”Agency, Interaction and Disability: Making Sense through Autobiographical Accounts." Helen Hamlyn Center for Design. Proc. of International Conference on Inclusive Design, Royal College of Art, London, UK. Ganoe, Cathy J. "Design as Narrative: A Theory of Inhabiting Interior Space." Journal of Interior Design 25.2 (1999): 1-15. Print. "Gena Smith." Personal interview. 27 Jan. 2011 Guerin, Denise A., Michael Jon Olson, Theresa Zborowsky, and Youngsook Lim. "Exploring Writing-To-Learn in Design." Journal of Interior Design 25.1 (1999): 26-36. Print.
  • Experiential Education & Narrative Writing: Gateway To User Empathy SELECTED REFERENCES Smith, Brett, and Andrew Sparkes. "Narrative and Its Potential Contribution to Disability Studies." Disability & Society 23.1 (2008): 17-28. Print. Surbella, Kevin. "Academic Accessibility Mapping Sociospatial Perceptions by Students Who Use Wheelchairs." Thesis. Kent State University, 2007. Ohiolink. Aug. 2007. Web. 29 Jan. 2012. <http://etd.ohiolink.edu/send- pdf.cgi/Surbella%20Kevin.pdf?kent1185541127>. Williams, Karen Lindsay. Personas in the Design Process a Tool for Understanding Others." Thesis. Architecture, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2006. SMARTech. Georgia Tech, Feb. 2006. Web. 28 Jan. 2012. http://smartech.gatech.edu/handle/1853/1162 Williams, Scott. The Use of Explorative Character Narrative and Correlative Diorama as Tools for Cultural Diversity in ID Education." Proc. of 2006: IDEC South Regional Conference, UNCG. IDEC, 27 Oct. 2006. Web. 29 Jan. 2012. http://www.uncg.edu/ia