June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
New Engineering Educators
11.533.1 - 11.533.13
Empirically Derived Design Principles for Engineering Educator Resources
As a discipline, engineering education is in a time of great innovation. Committed to teaching excellence, educators and researchers have explored issues specific to engineering education and have developed a number of relevant resources. These resources include teaching workshops, one-on-one instructional consultations, online resources, and engineering-specific course materials. In the face of this resource explosion, however, one can wonder about the degree to which some of these products are effective and useful to their intended users. The use of design principles drawn from empirical research with engineering faculty can provide a powerful adjunct to resource design, increasing the potential for relevance, usability, and satisfaction.
User experience researchers investigate the needs and goals of a product’s target audience with the intention of gathering useful information to guide the design process. There are a number of methods by which these researchers frame their findings for designers, including heuristics1, patterns2, and principles3. Design heuristics focus on common issues that users have with a particular type of product and how those issues should be approached. Design patterns often focus on standardized solutions to common problems.
Design principles, on the other hand, are guidelines that address issues surrounding content, form, and interaction behavior. Such principles can be derived from a number of sources: empirical research of the target user group, the designer’s knowledge of the design context, previously published information about the context, and administrative policy. Design principles differ slightly from heuristics and patterns as they are more generalizable and applied to multiple genres of resources.
In this paper, we will first describe an initial set of principles for designing engineering education resources and the data-driven rationale for creating them. We will then present the initial page designs for our current prototype web site for engineering faculty, explaining how these designs instantiate our design principles. The current prototype can be found at http://depts.washington.edu/next.
We will also impart the results of our first round of expert evaluation and the relationship between these experts’ feedback and our design principles. We offer the details of our website and the results of our evaluation in order to further explicate the design principles; as a result we will not focus on possible alternative web site designs. The following section describes the empirical research from these design principles were derived.
Eliot, M., & Neal, R., & Turns, J. (2006, June), Empirically Derived Design Principles For Engineering Educator Resources Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1292
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