Expectations of Reciprocity? An Analysis of Critique in Facebook Posts by Student Designers
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Expectations of Reciprocity? An Analysis of Critique in Facebook Posts by Student Designers

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Teaching design relies on critique as a component of its pedagogy. As mediated communication becomes progressively more pervasive in the learning experience of developing designers, we see a need to ...

Teaching design relies on critique as a component of its pedagogy. As mediated communication becomes progressively more pervasive in the learning experience of developing designers, we see a need to explore how critique manifests in these mediated spaces. This study explores how learners of design use Facebook groups to collaboratively bring about design learning via critique. Facebook group communications of graduate Human-Computer Interaction design (HCI/d) participants at a large Midwestern American university were analyzed. Data included 4558 status updates and 15273 comments from 160 students. A preliminary analysis of computer-mediated communication (CMC) in this Facebook group revealed that communication centered on quasi-professional social talk, and under this framing, informal peer critique emerged as a form of phatic, professional communication.
Seventy-four threads, out of a corpus of 4558, focused on critique, suggesting learners did not capitalize on the potential of the media. Critique threads were primarily posted in groups with larger numbers of members, reflecting the desire for a broader venue of potential critique participants employed by those who recognize the potential of the media. A participation coefficient was devised to represent the level of reciprocity, addressing both the students’ participation in requesting critique through status updates, and in providing feedback to other student requests for critique. No significant relationship was found between these two participation metrics, despite the assertion by multiple students that reciprocity was, or should be, present in these online critiques. Three outliers were located in this participation matrix, and are discussed as a framing for future work in understanding informal communication around critique as a type of designerly talk.

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Expectations of Reciprocity? An Analysis of Critique in Facebook Posts by Student Designers Expectations of Reciprocity? An Analysis of Critique in Facebook Posts by Student Designers Presentation Transcript

  • Expectations of Reciprocity? An Analysis of Critique in Facebook 
 Posts by Student Designers Colin M. Gray & Craig D. Howard November 28, 2013
  • INTRODUCTION How is informal critique being enacted outside of the formal pedagogy and how digital tools can enable this form of critique Understanding the pedagogy as experienced and constructed by students Exploring these questions through a set of student-created Facebook groups
  • RELEVANT LITERATURE Informal critique 
 (Bowring; Conanan & Pinkard; Gray; Xu & Bailey) Hidden curriculum and critical pedagogy (Freire; Dutton) Theories of computer-mediated communication
 (Herring; Walther)
  • CONTEXT Student-created set of Facebook groups Within a Human-Computer Interaction design Master’s program at a large Midwestern US university
  • POSTS 1206 All Years 1269 Current Years 2012 Cohort 2013 Cohort 2014 Cohort 475 655 953
  • COMMENTS 4165 All Years 3771 Current Years 2012 Cohort 2013 Cohort 2014 Cohort 966 2501 3870
  • 2012 Cohort All Years Current Years 2013 Cohort 2014 Cohort 4,558 Status Updates 15,273 Comments
  • QUESTIONS 1. To which Facebook groups do learners address their requests for critique? 2. Is there a relationship between the comments given to peer critiques and to the comments one’s receives?
  • INITIAL CODES • • • • addressing new technologies explicitly (e.g., motion control) professional development relating to projects outside coursework  (e.g., portfolio sites) idea-related discussions (e.g., what is HCI; role of intuition or ethics) • recommending/posting a resource or interaction design exemplar • dealing with selecting courses • relating to other forms of talk that have a critique component • referencing critique about public events (e.g., HCI Connect)
  • INITIAL CODES • • • • addressing new technologies explicitly (e.g., motion control) professional development relating to projects outside coursework  (e.g., portfolio sites) idea-related discussions (e.g., what is HCI; role of intuition or ethics) • recommending/posting a resource or interaction design exemplar • dealing with selecting courses • relating to other forms of talk that have a critique component • referencing critique about public events (e.g., HCI Connect)
  • 2012 Cohort All Years Current Years 2013 Cohort 2014 Cohort “feedback” | “look at” | “portfolio” | “critique” = 204 Status Updates
  • INCLUSION CRITERIA 1. Does it directly ask for critique/suggestions/ feedback or help? 2. Does it link to, or reference, a concrete designed artifact or idea created by the poster? 3. If it references a non-digital critique, does it include requests for getting together with the explicit goal of feedback in person, or organizing such an activity around a distinct artifact or genre of artifacts (e.g., cover letters)?
  • # of Critique Threads Group Name Average # of comments (SD) Current years 28 7.5357 (5.7909) All years 26 7.1538 (4.4609) 2012 cohort 8 3.8750 (3.9824) 2013 cohort 3 3.3333 (2.4944) 2014 cohort 9 7.4444 (5.1232) TOTAL 74 6.8243 (5.1527)
  • Averaged Discourse Characteristics Critique Threads, 
 n=74, (SD) Entire Corpus, n=4558, (SD) Length of status update in words 50.9324 (37.0122) 31.1404 
 (48.0496) Length of comments in words 34.7515 (59.4333) 19.3485 
 (30.5103) Number of interlocutors 3.8649 (2.2799) 2.2251 
 (2.7920) Total number of words in thread 234.3378 (253.6336) 64.8333 
 (165.7053) Character length 
 of words 4.2632 (0.4202) 3.9528 
 (1.1682)
  • 36 74 Posts Requesting Critique (158) 383
  • RECIPROCITY I could really use some critique on mine, but rather than just ask for it like a freeloader I'll make you a deal: If you give a critique of mine and post your link, I will give you a critique in return. All Years, status update
 22 January, 2013 All Years, status update
 20 January, 2013 Happy to receive any feedback you guys might have; let me know if there's something of yours I can look at as well! My portfolio is up, and I am jumping on the "you critique mine ill crique your's [sic]" boat. All Years, status update
 22 January, 2013
  • participation = coefficient # comments/thread # comments posted on other threads
  • participation = coefficient # comments/thread # comments posted on other threads Average  Comments/Initiated  Critique  Thread
  • participation = coefficient # comments/thread # comments posted on other threads Pearson’s r = -.233 Average  Comments/Initiated  Critique  Thread
  • 74 Posts Requesting Critique <10 posts are requests 
 for class projects
  • 74 Posts Requesting Critique <10 posts are requests 
 for class projects primarily critique of 
 professional development 
 materials
  • INSTIGATION 2014 Cohort, 
 11 December 2012 i would love more feedback All Years,
 7 November 2011 I really need some hard critique and bugs pointed out. Any feedback would be appreciated. Can anyone of you please check if you can access my portfolio URL 2014 Cohort,
 6 March 2013 2014 Cohort, 
 22 January 2013 I am open to any kind of comments 
 or critique.
  • PHYSICAL LOCATIONS Anybody around tonight and available to critique a cover letter? 2012 Cohort,
 1 February 2012 Anybody free to quickly give feedback on a few ideas I have for my poster image? I'm wanting to get it finished and printed today... 2012 Cohort, 
 23 April 2012
  • IMPOSITION OF STRUCTURE This is still a work in progress, but I'm ready for some critiques. Please say a) something nice, b) something not nice (but in a nice way), and c) a suggestion for improvement. 1-2-3 go! All Years,
 10 January 2012 the following is a link to our in-progress [project name] document. If anybody would like to read through it and give us feedback, that would be awesome. Even if all you can do is quickly skim it and give us one meaningful response. 2012 Cohort, 
 18 February 2011
  • IMPOSITION OF STRUCTURE Finally worked out some bugs on the portfolio and I would appreciate any thoughts or critiques on it. If it takes a long time to load, let me know, I'm considering backing off on the one page experience if load time is an issue. All Years,
 10 January 2012
  • OTHER LOCATIONS I've posted the questions on a google doc for you to edit and make changes and suggestions. I'm getting started next week but will continue to adjust my approach throughout the project, so feel free to contribute anytime. I know everyone is very busy but any feedback is greatly appreciated. 2012 Cohort, 
 3 June 2011
  • Balanced  Participant “Expert”  Participant “Freeloader”      Participant Average  Comments/Initiated  Critique  Thread
  • FREELOADER Requested feedback and received 15 responses, but never commented on other student requests ! My portfolio is up, and I am jumping on the "you critique mine ill crique your's [sic]" boat. All Years, status update
 22 January, 2013 ! Unclear whether participation in critique occurred in other spaces
  • EXPERT/AUTHORITY Frequent commented on other student requests for critique Low critique on their own work (avg. of 2.5 comments per request) Disparity could suggest that other students view this individual as an authority, possibly making them more difficult to critique
  • BALANCED One of relatively few female (n=10) and international (n=11) students participating in critique Started 4 threads (receiving an avg. of 4 comments) and contributed 36 comments on others’ threads Most balanced, but appears to be an outlier
  • CONCLUSIONS Learners changed modes and discussed differently when engaged in critical discourse about design despite the “social” nature of the media Reciprocity did not appear to play a role in these critiques Profiles of different types of participation emerged from the participation coefficient Critique happened around professional concerns, not program concerns
  • LIMITATIONS Descriptive, and doesn’t explain why reciprocity does not occur in the virtual space Doesn’t address critique in other physical or virtual environments Limited to the socialization and pedagogical particulars of a specific academic program
  • FUTURE RESEARCH Importance of understanding the felt experience of a design pedagogy Understanding the hidden curriculum, including how formal and informal components impact learning How are virtual spaces conceived, 
 created, and sustained over time?
  • QUESTIONS?