Other People’s Good Ideas:

Assessment on the Web

Participating is learning. By observing and chiming in with your ideas in an online community, over time you’re learning several things: the domain of the community (i.e. code, techno, lolzcatz), and how to communicate within it (i.e. communication tools, but also etiquette, are emotiji appropriate?). An online presence is a blend of “soft” and “hard” skills, and they are interconnected. Communities decide what’s acceptable. Voting an answer up-or-down, liking a post, or remixing a project–these are different levels of granularity, but anyone in the community can give feedback on any project. The community decides what’s good and what’s not, and folks who make stellar contributions are celebrated.

Feedback is key. It’s actually a core skill in a community of practice. Whether it’s leaving a comment on a post, suggestions on a project, or answering an open question, giving feedback is a way to apply the norms and values of a community. Giving feedback is also a kind of learning–in and of itself.

P2PU, Assessment on the Web

Liz Lerman: The Critical Response Process

I Like, I Wish, What If

Designers rely on personal communication and, particularly, feedback, during design work. You request feedback from users about your solution concepts, and you seek feedback from colleagues about design frameworks you are developing. Outside the project itself, fellow designers need to communicate how they are working together as a team. Feedback is best given with I-statements. For example, “I sometimes feel you don’t listen to me” instead of “You don’t listen to a word I say.” Specifically, “I like, I wish, What if” (IL/IW/WI) is a simple tool to encourage open feedback.

Stanford Design School, “I Like, I Wish, What If” Method of Feedback

Critical Response Process

The Process engages participants in three roles:

  • The artist offers a work-in-progress for review and feels prepared to question that work in a dialogue with other people;
  • Responders, committed to the artist’s intent to make excellent work, offer reactions to the work in a dialogue with the artist; and
  • The facilitator initiates each step, keeps the process on track, and works to help the artist and responders use the Process to frame useful questions and responses.

The Critical Response Process takes place after a presentation of artistic work. Work can be short or long, large or small, and at any stage in its development.

The facilitator then leads the artist and responders through four steps:

  1. Statements of Meaning: Responders state what was meaningful, evocative, interesting, exciting, striking in the work they have just witnessed.
  2. Artist as Questioner: The artist asks questions about the work. After each question, the responders answer. Responders may express opinions if they are in direct response to the question asked and do not contain suggestions for changes.
  3. Neutral Questions: Responders ask neutral questions about the work. The artist responds. Questions are neutral when they do not have an opinion couched in them. For example, if you are discussing the lighting of a scene, “Why was it so dark?” is not a neutral question. “What ideas guided your choices about lighting?” is.
  4. Opinion Time: Responders state opinions, subject to permission from the artist. The usual form is “I have an opinion about __, would you like to hear it?” The artist has the option to decline opinions for any reason.

Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Method

Iteration and Reflection

The practitioner allows himself to experience surprise, puzzlement, or confusion in a situation which he finds uncertain or unique. He reflects on the phenomenon before him, and on the prior understandings which have been implicit in his behaviour. He carries out an experiment which serves to generate both a new understanding of the phenomenon and a change in the situation.

Donald Schön “The Reflective Practitioner”

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