TAYLOR Mary-Jane & McCORMACK Coralie

Juggling Cats: Investigating Effective Verbal Feedback in Graphic Design Critiques


A university’s mission in today’s economic performance-driven model of higher education is to assure quality learning and teaching contexts which produce the work-ready graduates demanded by employers. In this context strengthening the links between assessment and graduate qualities through authentic assessment activities has become a priority in many institutions. Project-based assessment, which is meaningful and related to real-life applications, is an established practice in art and design schools.

The question of interest for design educators in today’s quality-focused context is how to ensure this authentic assessment practice is effective in meeting the needs of the student, the teacher, the university and the profession. To be effective in the design context authentic assessment must prepare students to give and receive feedback. While most design educators are familiar with the broad parameters defining effective feedback the application of these parameters in particular learning contexts is not as well articulated.

This paper reports an action-orientated process in which students, a design lecturer and her colleagues collaborated to develop guidelines, and examples of effective verbal feedback practice, in a design critique context in a final year graphic design subject. Outcomes for the students and the teacher included shared understandings about effective feedback in the designer-client context. As graduates these students will enter their profession with a better understanding of the practice of effective feedback

Download Juggling Cats: Investigating Effective Verbal Feedback in Graphic Design Critiques (145.21 KB)

TAYLOR Mary-Jane & McCORMACK Coralie:

Mary-Jane Taylor is a Senior Lecturer in the Bachelor of Graphic Design course, School of Design and Architecture, at the University of Canberra. Mary-Jane ran a successful multi-disciplinary design consultancy in Sydney for a number of years before entering the teaching profession to establish the graphic design course at the University of Canberra. She teaches both undergraduate and postgraduate students in graphic design, convenes the senior year in graphic design and the interdisciplinary subject Exhibition Design, and is a long-time member and former state president of the Australian Graphic Design Association (AGDA). She has recently completed postgraduate studies with a focus on assessment, critique and feedback in design education.

Dr Coralie McCormack is a Senior Lecturer in the Centre for the Enhancement of Learning, Teaching and Scholarship at the University of Canberra, specialising in postgraduate research supervision, mentoring, evaluation of learning and teaching and narrative approaches to teaching and research.