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Fostering creative collaboration in a postsecondary art and design course through multimodal pedagogy within virtual worlds

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Thesis type
(Thesis) Ph.D.
Date created
Author: Meng, Yi
This research investigates the applications of Virtual worlds (VWs) to foster creative collaboration within art and design education, an under-explored area. It centers on three interrelated theoretical perspectives—team-based VW multimodal design, design thinking-oriented activities, and transformative arts engagement (TAE) practices. The research aims to 1) identify the affordances of multimodal design practices for promoting creative collaboration using VWs; 2) recognize and validate students' individual and collective creative actions in addressing complex constraints and difficulties during design thinking stages and activities in VWs; and 3) explore the transformative potential of collaborative VW multimodal design practices for empowering young design students with TAE-associated capacities—engaged agency, connection, and positive values and beliefs. To achieve these aims, this study employs a practical action research design in the author's 8-week course with 15 second-year art and design students. The creative affordances of VW design pedagogy were examined using multimodal analyses that included three case studies of collaborative design processes and completed projects by three student groups. Students' perceptions of change in valuing the VW design practices for fostering their creative collaboration in relation to TAE capacities were evaluated using an innovative retrospective post- and pre-assessment. Finally, a constant comparative method was used to analyze fifteen semi-structured interviews to understand better students' perceptions of their collaborative VW design practices. The findings indicate that the purposeful use of pedagogies aligned with the affordances of VWs creates a space for creative collaboration and empowers students to become innovative, autonomous, and resilient agents through a process of transformative engagement. The findings suggest that art and design education should foster both the individual and collaborative creativity of students, which often manifests itself through their resourcefulness in exploiting new digital affordances to produce meaning that is transformative and innovative.
296 pages.
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Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: O'Neill, Susan
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