From here to Helsinki, Herron’s Visual Communication Design faculty operate in the vanguard

Presenters including Youngbok Hong (front row, second from right) and Aaron Ganci (back row, left) at NordDesign 2014, Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland Image courtesy Maria Solovjew

Presenters including Youngbok Hong (front row, second from right) and Aaron Ganci (back row, left) at NordDesign 2014, Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland
Image courtesy Maria Solovjew

Assistant Professor Aaron Ganci and Associate Professor Youngbok Hong recently traveled to Finland to presented findings about the senior capstone course in Visual Communication Design they team-teach at Herron. They made their remarks during the NordDesign 2014 conference at Aalto University in Helsinki. Their scholarly trip was made possible by Herron Travel grants.

The central theme of the conference was innovation, said Hong. “In the area of innovation, design and product development, we quite often seem to know that something works in practice, but might lack understanding of the theoretical foundations of why. NordDesign 2014 organizers were looking for evidence-based academic work on topical issues of design, development and innovation to strengthen both our theoretical understanding and the connection between theory and practice.”

Hong focuses on Service Design and Ganci’s specialty is a subset called Interaction Design. They have identified these two fields as important to moving the design of new products forward and are using their experiences in these fields to design the coursework at Herron.

“Twenty years ago, products were physical objects that were mostly created by engineers, not designers,” Ganci said. “Today, we have a more diverse understanding of a product. It can be software or even a service experience. So this conference was a great place for us to share our ideas on how to prepare design students for 21st century careers in product design.

‘We’re trying to create an experience that better resembles the professional work that Visual Communication Design students might be doing. We recognize that you can’t make objects in isolation anymore,” Ganci said. “We’re predicting that the integration of several tracks into one is where the future of the visual communication design teaching lies. What we shared at this conference was the approach we are taking to help explain our vision of the design profession to our students.”

Ganci said this approach works well at Herron because “we are rooted in design thinking and people-centered design.”

Herron’s Visual Communication Design senior capstone provides a base of knowledge that can be applied to many different types of things a designer might make,” Ganci said. “We ask students to solve problems with a broad, integrated set of solutions, sometimes called touchpoints. We want our students to know how to identify these touchpoints and then design them at a high level.”

“Designers are great at seeing things through the eyes of the user,” he said. “A skilled visual communicator is a an asset when it comes to understanding and documenting an experience in order to improve it.”

In addition to traditional forms of visual communication design, Hong and Ganci believe “experience design is primarily what our students will be doing in the next five to 10 years.”

Read more about Hong and Ganci’s work and see examples of student projects here.

NEH/DFG Bilateral Digital Humanities Program

dfg_logo_schriftzug_blau_orgneh_at_logoThe National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in the United States and the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft e.V., DFG) are working together to offer support for projects that contribute to developing and implementing digital infrastructures and services for humanities research.

In order to encourage new approaches and develop innovative methods in any field of the humanities, these grants provide funding for up to three years in any of the following areas:

  • developing innovative methods—as well as standards and best practices—for building and merging digital collections that are significant and of major current interest, for use in humanities research;
  • developing and implementing generic tools, methods, and techniques for accessing and processing digital resources relevant to humanities research;
  • creating new digital modes of scholarly communication and publishing that facilitate international cooperation and dissemination of humanities scholarship; and
  • developing models for effectively managing digital data generated in humanities research projects (for example, texts, audio files, photographs, 3D objects) and exemplifying those models in case studies.

Collaboration between U.S. and German partners is a key requirement for this grant category. Each application must be sponsored by at least one eligible German individual or institution, and at least one U.S. institution (see Section III, Eligibility, below), and there must be a project director from each country. The partners will collaborate to write a single application package. The U.S. partner will submit the package to NEH via Grants.gov, and the German partner will submit it to DFG via regular postal service and preferably also by e-mail.

Program Statistics

In the first four competitions the NEH/DFG Bilateral Digital Humanities Program received an average of nineteen applications per year. The program made an average of five awards per year, for a funding ratio of 27 percent.

The potential applicant pool for this program is limited, since applications require international cooperation between German and US institutions.

The number of applications to an NEH grant program can vary widely year to year, as can the funding ratio. Information about the average number of applications and awards in recent competitions is meant only to provide historical context for the current competition. Information on the number of applications and awards in individual competitions is available from odh@neh.gov.

Receipt Deadline September 25, 2014 for Projects Beginning May 2015

Questions?

If you have questions about the program, contact the Office of Digital Humanities staff at odh@neh.gov. Applicants wishing to speak to a staff member by telephone should provide in the e-mail message a telephone number and a preferred time to call.

Student pitch competition: solutions to social and economic challenges

An innovative plan to tackle obesity and a new e-commerce tool for online purchases are among the ideas students will pitch next week during a competition at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

The IUPUI Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, in partnership with its Center for Research and Learning, will host the third annual Ideas Solving Social and Economic Challenges on Thursday, March 6.

The student idea “pitch” competition will take place from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the IUPUI Campus Center Theater, 420 University Blvd.

This event is open to the public and free of charge.

Thirteen finalists will take the stage this year to share their ideas as the first step in potentially making them a reality. The projects and ventures represent a broad cross section of fields. For example, ideas to be pitched include a system establishing art therapy programs in high-risk schools, an e-commerce tool for use when purchasing clothing online, and a plan to tackle obesity through an innovative new program for college students.

Ideas Solving Social and Economic Challenges was established to encourage IUPUI students to provide innovative ideas to solve some of the social and economic challenges facing Indiana, the nation and the world. IUPUI students, as individuals or working in teams, are asked to propose new products and/or ventures, within both the for-profit or nonprofit sectors.

The finalists will have three minutes to present their concept or solution to a panel of business community judges using an “elevator pitch” format — without the benefit of slides or other props. The objective is to convince the judges that an idea is an incredible venture or opportunity. The time constraint challenges the students to present themselves, and their ideas, in a concise and persuasive manner, a skill they will need in their professional lives and as future innovators and entrepreneurs.

The students judged to have the most innovative ideas will be awarded cash prizes of $2,500, $1,500 and $500 for first, second and third place, respectively. Audience members will also have a chance to cast a ballot for their favorite idea in an “Audience Choice” category for a prize of $1,000.

For more information, contact Karen White at kfwhite@iupui.edu or 317-274-1083.