DE7002 - Design Process

What will I learn on this module?

You will learn concepts, methods and principles aligned with three knowledge portfolios: Action research and reflective practice, cross cultural collaboration, innovation and enterprise. Whilst grounded in a literature review these fields of knowledge are also supported and informed by academic staff research specialisms.

You will learn about action research methods and will build your own action research process models and recording templates that you will apply in practice to facilitate your development as a reflective practitioner. In parallel you will learn about theories of enterprise and innovation and will apply this knowledge in action by exploring business models and intellectual property. You will also learn about cross-cultural collaboration by applying relevant concepts from literature whilst working in multi-cultural teams.

The underpinning knowledge and understanding will be applied in the context of a collaborative project with industry or other organisation, which will help you learn effective ways of working in multi-cultural/multi-disciplinary teams. Recent industrial collaborations have included projects with Lakeland, Tucano, Kitchen Craft, Thermo Fisher and the Tuke Insitute.

Through this module you will learn about three fields of design knowledge described above, which you will interpret relative to your own practice and in line with your PDP. You will apply this knowledge in co-creative practice and will reflect on your experience to summarise the utility and limitations of methods employed.
You will appreciate the transferability of design thinking and will be able apply your knowledge in different contexts and domains.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn through the School of Design’s extended studio approach (X-Studio) that embraces our physical studios and making workshops as well as our virtual spaces to create a flexible and rich environment that is responsive to our learners’ needs.

This dedicated approach has been developed over many years of continuous teaching innovation, research and industry collaboration. It has created a supportive extended studio culture that encourages our students to learn flexibly, dynamically blending their learning and University experience between physical and digital interactions both in real-time and online at their own pace.

We believe that this extended studio culture not only helps our students to become more confident autonomous learners but also prepares them for a dynamic design industry in which an extended studio philosophy is current practice.

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, and project supervision that cover three core areas of design process:

• action research and reflective practice; you will synthesise relevant literature to develop your own action research based reflective practice model that you will then apply in action through your design practice, and (for campus-based students) through a team based collaborative project. You will use your reflective practice template as a diary planning and reporting tool throughout the rest of the course.
• enterprise and innovation; you will develop an entrepreneurial approach to design-led innovation by creating your own business model canvas that reflects the facets of your value proposition. You will also distinguish different forms of intellectual property developed in your practice.
• cross cultural collaboration; you will work in multi-cultural / multi-disciplinary teams to identify barriers to and develop strategies to enable effective cross cultural communication and collaboration

The module will enable you to review, interpret and apply design process knowledge in the context of real business and social challenges. This experience can inform your own unique learning journey articulated by your PDP.

Part of your directed learning will be based on practical engagement in the X-studio environment where you will work on a team project to apply and test the theory, knowledge, and concepts that you have learnt. Small group seminars and workshops will allow you to engage with tutors whose research portfolios align with cross cultural collaboration, enterprise, innovation, action research and reflective practice. You will also conduct independent study that will centre on the identification and pursuit of areas of interest, gaining deeper/broader knowledge and understanding of the subject through a range of learning activities including extended reading, reflection, research etc.

You will access Blackboard Collaborate via the e-learning portal (eLP) for live discussions and virtual taught sessions. These weekly online sessions will deliver relevant knowledge, information and direction for you to fulfil the module learning outcomes. Through the eLP you will be provided with resources relevant to your module, and you will build upon the provided reading list to create your individual reading resource as well. You will use module discussion boards to share your work and create a knowledge base for your peers.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported by a team of academic experts in scheduled timetabled lectures and seminars and will have the opportunity to discuss your ideas and methods through project supervision. You will engage in a rich dialogue with tutors (and fellow students) and receive feedback on on-going work giving you the opportunity to respond directly and as part of your process. You will keep a record of this feedback in order to progress your work to enhance both your skills and intellectual understanding and also to develop your Portfolio and PDP.

The Masters programme curriculum has been developed to capitalise on the extensive, active and well defined research emphasis of the School and channel this expertise to support your development in line with your PDP through a range of expert lecture, seminar, project supervision and tutorial support delivered both on campus and by distance learning. The e-Learning Portal provides important learning resources for both campus based and distance learning students and many lectures and seminars are recorded through BB collaborate and Panopto so that students can review their content after the event.

ESAP support is integrated with the programme and aims to develop study skills to support students’ achievement of module learning outcomes.

Where appropriate, students may also be directed to engage with Study Skills +, or other resources offered through the University Student Support Services such as Dyslexia Support.

The Library is open 24 hours a day and e-Learning Portal houses all your module documents including your timetable. These services can be accessed on a range of devices

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding (KU):
1) Demonstrate scholarship in masters level research through a comprehensive literature review in the fields of enterprise and innovation, cross cultural collaboration, action research and reflective practice.
2) Develop your personal interpretation the theory and develop personal insights relevant to your field of practice

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
Application (IPSA):
1) Demonstrate the application of knowledge/theory/methods (as described in KU) in the context of your creative practice

Personal Values Attributes (PVA):
1) Critically review and reflect on the application, utility and limitations of the action research and reflection, cross cultural collaboration, and enterprise and innovation, knowledge you have applied and the impact of this knowledge on your practice.

How will I be assessed?

You will prepare a single illustrated portfolio of three components (as 1,2,3 below) evidencing your interpretation of existing theories and methods in the field (through literature review), application and implementation of this knowledge in your practice and a summarising the adoption and utility of this knowledge including evaluation and possible recommendations.

1) Action research and reflective practice
2) Cross cultural collaboration
3) Innovation and enterprise

The module will be marked as Pass/Fail.

This module is exempt from the Anonymous Marking Policy. The nature of working closely and directly with the students in workshops makes anonymity unfeasible.

Formative assessment will take place at 2 staged points and through on-going dialogue in group work, project supervision, assignment discussions and tutorials throughout the course of the module.

Summative feedback will be provided to students on a module assessment sheet against the module learning outcomes.





Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

Credits 30

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year Full Time

Department Northumbria School of Design

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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