Dundee and Angus College’s Computing and Creative Media Department stands apart for many reasons. One being the proactive approach to revamping the learning environment to provide the best experience and education for all learners. A shining example of this is the Digital Mile, a partnership programme run with local businesses to transform traditional classrooms to replicate industry environment. The initiative has been so successful it was awarded the Partnership of the Year award at the Scottish Qualifications Authority Star Awards in 2018. Head of Learning, Gillian McGovern, was keen to take this one step further and asked the Service Design Academy to support an approach to co-design and develop of a new Cyber Security Lab.
In December 2018, we ran a Co-Design Bootcamp with this as our ‘live pitch problem’. At all SDA bootcamps, participants learn by doing, tackling a wicked problem put to us by a real client. We had a diverse range of participants including employees from NHS in Scotland and Northern Ireland, college employees from Computing and Creative Media and Horticulture. Over two days, participants worked collaboratively to conduct pop up research and undertake informal interviews with students and staff to help determine some of the most important points that should be considered when designing the new Cyber Security Lab.
Feedback, based on experiences of the classrooms and courses to date, helped to provide direction, invaluable insights, and a deep understanding of student and staff needs. The information was gathered and collated using service design tools and determined how SDA participants co-designed their own co-design event! They ran some of the most fantastic interactive and immersive co-design workshops we’ve seen at SDA with 45 students taking part.
Participants had three prototype classrooms, where Computing and Creative Media students and staff took part in a series of co-design exercises to help determine how the new Cyber Security Lab should look and feel. Students and staff had the opportunity to prototype their own desk (using magic whiteboard secured to tables) and working area (marked out with masking tape) as well as the actual infrastructure of the Cyber Security Lab using a mix of Lego, hands-on prototype materials, drawing, cardboard and brainstorming on post-its with dot voting to help identify priorities!
The results were absolutely fantastic and inspiring with students and staff creatively and collaboratively designing their ideal workspace, classroom and ultimately providing a foundation for the first co-design Cyber Security Lab! Everyone was genuinely enthusiastic and had many valuable comments, ideas and insights to shape a learning environment that would meet the needs of not only the learners, but also the staff, whilst providing an immersive and industry-based learning experience. Students highlighted the need for comfortable environments to work, from wall colours to seating plans, space to chairs. They judged the traditional front of room teaching and classroom layout as particularly inappropriate for the subject, and were vociferous in their support of a defend/attack scenario.
This ideation, led the teams to prototype a classroom which acted as the location for the final presentation to Gillian as our bootcamp ‘live pitch problem’ client.
Students and staff were excited to be included in the workshops and to be asked for their opinions, it created a real buzz for SDA participants. The feedback we received was extremely positive with students asking to be included in more things like this!
We can’t wait to see the outcome of this innovative work. The logistics of delivery will need to be considered and Gillian has taken away plans to discuss with the Estates Team, other staff and Executive. We look forward to working with Gillian and her team to take everything forward.
If you have a wicked problem which our students could use as a brief, please get in touch with SDA at firstname.lastname@example.org