Melanie Scheer

perMA

After graduating from Anhalt University, Mathilde Scholz, Hannes Wilke, Celeste Meisel, Stella Kornfeld and I initiated perMA – a service design project examining how to build a user-centered and sustainable learning culture within the university’s master program "Intermedia Design". We set impulses to solve local problems at the design department and to consistently and sustainably develop the way we want to teach and learn.  


To get an overview of the challenges and potentials in the master program and on campus, we asked teachers, students and alumni about their experiences and needs through workshops, surveys and interviews.


We gave weekly workshops to which we invited all stakeholders – professors, students, employees etc. The single events were each based on the design phases. After collecting problems on campus and generating possible solutions, we prototyped, tested, implemented and reviewed some of those ideas in the following weeks. We tried applying the design process we were taught in our studies on the study program itself. This should create a mindset for an iterative and participative co-creation of one’s own working environment. perMA believes that collaboration, eye level and permanent adjustment are requirements for working sustainably. After every workshop, we asked the participants for feedback. In the final event, we reflected on our process and learning effect.

During the semester, we documented the methods and results of each event in our exhibition in order to make our work transparent and accessible to everyone. We asked visitors to further develop the ideas and used the exhibition as a research tool.

We think of every class as a designed service that can be improved continuously with each session. Therefore we created the Feedback-Block – a template which is handed out at the end of the seminar and filled out be everybody. The professors receive feedback to their course structure and can give the students feedback to their participation. The feedback is supposed to help understand the seminar’s users in order to better adjust it to their needs. In the long run, this will strengthen the feedback culture at the design department. Four iterations of the tool were tested in different classes.

I was primarily responsible for our CI, the implementation of the workshops and the documentation. Currently, we are working on a book to give other people access to the project. For the book, we also interviewed experts and teachers from other universities about Cultural Change, learning and studying in the future etc.


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