Design, education, and the online tech-pandemic




Amidst the COVID-19, the use of technology in the learning environment was no longer a matter of choice. Forced by circumstance, educators had to adapt in order to see the academic year through. While for some, already used to an online modality, it was business as always, for others was the start of a journey through unfamiliar territory. This study inserts itself in such context. It presents and discusses results gathered through an online questionnaire about the perceptions and personal experiences of design educators in Higher Education (HE) caught in this move from in-class face-to-face onto online teaching. Objectively, it portrays how this shift impacted their ability to teach, the compromises made or alternatives sought, and views towards a more technologically enabled future in HE. From a more extensive reliance on Learning Management Systems (LMS), changes in the learning environment, and perspectives of near-future uses of Virtual Reality (VR) in distance education, this study covers uses of technology but also the identification of pain points influencing the overall experience, as well as positive perceptions and significant changes made to the learning environment.

Author Biographies

Nuno Bernardo, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University

Nuno Bernardo is a Senior Teaching Fellow in the Department of Industrial Design at the Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou, China. Before joining academia, he worked a number of years in several design practices, ranging from furniture to toy design, across different European countries. His research interests include university-level industrial/product design education, project-based learning, manufacturing processes and low tech fabrication, virtual reality applications to education, and product materiability.

Emilia Duarte, IADE, Universidade Europeia

Emília Duarte is an associate professor at IADE, Universidade Europeia, Lisbon, Portugal, where she has been teaching since 1991. She holds a master degree in Ergonomics in Occupational Safety (2004) and a Ph.D in Human Kinetics with specialization in Ergonomics (2011) from the Universidade Técnica de Lisboa. She has a B.A. in Product Design from IADE – Escola Superior de Design (1994). Currently, she is the Director of UNIDCOM – IADE’s Research Unit in Design and Communication and the Ph.D in Design program. She was appointed Vice-rector for Research of IADE-U from 2014 to 2016. Her research interests are related with subjects as cognitive ergonomics, with emphasis for warnings and safety communication, virtual reality, UX, IxD and emotional design, about which she has several international publications. Since 2009 she has already supervised 25 master's theses, having currently underway the orientation of 5 doctoral theses.






Challenges of online education