I couldn’t have done that from home

My trip to Australia and being a part of the academic exchange program was on so many levels an eye opener for me. Traveling to the other side of the Globe was a welcomed excuse for me to take my family with me and thereby combine academic relations with cultural exploration and social bonding.

We started in Melbourne, at RMIT, and was overwhelmed by the scale. Coming from a relatively small school and from a small country, it was just big. Skyscrapers and a large Campus as RMIT strengthened the feeling that I couldn’t just go about as I normally would in Denmark. Luckily, there was a very well organized partner in RMIT and I had a blast holding the lecture for the attending students and having discussions with the teachers, Blair Wilde and Li Ping Thong, about the exchange project and all sorts of topics regarding the field of interaction design and using code as a design tool.

The Code for Designers workshop we have planned was also an opportunity to explore new ways of teaching and guiding students. Due to the long distance and the fact that my colleague, Stig Møller Hansen, had to stay in Denmark, we could experiment with ways of communicating and exchanging of knowledge across hemispheres.

Code for Designers workshop at RMIT - Karsten (& Stig online)

Code for Designers workshop at RMIT – Karsten (& Stig online)

Stig was holding a lecture around midnight in Denmark, broadcasting live to the students. We then experimented with different meeting-setups, chatrooms, code sharing tools and ways to make him part of the exchange program – even with about 16.000 kilometers in between.

Code for Designers workshop at QUT - Processing

Code for Designers workshop at QUT – Processing

The students were actively taking part in the workshop. Not just the part concerning creative coding, but also the tests of new ways of engaging Stig and get feedback and guidance on their projects.

Code for Designers workshop at RMIT — Stig online

Code for Designers workshop at RMIT — Stig online

The next workshop was in Brisbane at QUT where I was welcomed by Jeremy Kerr, and all practicalities was cleared, so I could focus on the teaching. I was thinking: “Same but different”. I was right to some extent, but it was easy to feel for both me and Stig, that the workshop at RMIT have bolstered our methods for lecturing and tutoring – both online and in class. Being able to teach the same course two times in succession, made the improvements very clear for us, and is something that I very seldom have the opportunity to try out.

I look back at the exchange program as an unique opportunity to get insights into teaching practices and cultural differences in a land that on all parameters was impressive for a small Dane like me. In addition to that, I have gained new and valuable academic friends by participating in this program. Something, that is valuable in the field of design and teaching on a global scale.

Karsten Vestergaard — DMJX