Workshop on Teaching “Design for Living Complexities" (Thurs Oct 20, 9.30-11.20am, RMIT University)
Led by Peter Taylor, Director, Graduate Program in Critical and Creative Thinking, and Science in a Changing World track, University of Massachusetts, Boston,

Overall goal: To use the opportunity of Prof. Taylor's visit for participants to share, expose, and explore their ideas, experiences, and projects that connect some or all of the following: design education, transformative learning, innovation in online pedagogy and collaboration, and mid-career personal and professional development.

Background: Since 1980, CCT has worked to provide its mid-career post-graduate students with “knowledge, tools, experience, and support to take the times it takes to become constructive, reflective agents of change in work, education, social movements, science, and creative arts.” It could be said that CCT is more about students learning to design their work and lives, than it is about becoming exponents of critical thinking and creative thinking.
In recent years, classes in CCT have shifted to a hybrid format in which students from a distance join with students in the classroom in synchronous online sessions. The tools and processes of turn taking, listening, feedback used to make such sessions work well and build a learning community have drawn from online “collaborative explorations” (CEs) open to a wider public and from project-based learning.

“Design for Living Complexities” is the name of a course that has run in parallel with a CE; both “explore critical, creative and reflective practices for design, meant in the general sense of being intentional and playful in considering alternative materials, collaborations, steps, and principles that inform their choice.”

Prof. Taylor will not lecture about the above developments, but the workshop would be informed them. Consultations would be based on the experience that in a way it helps people if they explain their work to an outsider, even if they had not been aware of the outsider's work.

Links to relevant sites and other information available via


Many of us innovate in, but do not often get to publish on this, in some or all of the following areas: design education, transformative learning, innovation in online pedagogy and collaboration, and mid-career personal and professional development. How can we make plans and get support to enable us to better share, expose, and explore our ideas, experiences, and projects?


Freewriting (4 minutes) on "what I bring to my time here and where I'd like to gain insight and support to move me ahead"
Pair-share (5 minutes) on some hopes you have for the time together

Principle 1: Participants at any session always bring a lot of knowledge about the topic of the session. So, allow that to be brought to surface and acknowledged.
Principle 2: What you really learn from a workshop or participatory experience is what you integrate with your own concerns.

Autobiographical Introductions (5 minutes each), with Connections and extensions responses.
Gives participants an opportunity to
1. introduce themselves in narrative depth, their current and emerging work,
2. learn more about each other
3. provide diverse material for cross-connections
Peter Taylor will go first to model.
After every third intro, stop to pair-share on emerging themes.

Connection with 4Rs framework and Collaborative explorations

Intended second half (but not enough time): Discussion in which participants take turns to connect a shared reading to their own work and questions, with reading being the second half of Taylor et al., "Slow EdTech: Pedagogical principles, collaborative explorations, and persistent challenges."

In time left, two go arounds in the spirit of Closing Circle and Plus-Delta Feedback.

[1] In brief, a Connecting-Probing-Reflecting (CPR) space is a workshop or learning activity that fosters carryover of outcomes into participants' work and lives in the following manner. The CPR space has a topic that the participants explore in relation to their individual interests, aspirations, and situations. The exploration introduces and makes use of tools and processes, not only for the exploration, but also to develop connections among participants – connections that help participants open up, probe into, and flesh out their contributions to the topic.

[2] In brief, CEs are an extension of Project-Based Learning (PBL) and related approaches to education that begin from a real-world scenario or case in which the problems are not well defined, which leads participants to shape their own directions of inquiry and develop their skills as investigators and teachers (in the broadest sense of the word). The basic mode of a CE centers on interactions in small groups (online or face-to-face) over a delimited period of time in ways that create an experience of re-engagement with oneself as an avid learner and inquirer. (more detail on CEs)