Jennifer Turns

Spring 2021

Research through Design for Educators and Clinicians

Research through design (RtD) offers designers a way to learn from the process of conducting their own work. However, practitioners in fields not as directly associated with design may also undertake design-like activity. Recognition of and valuation of design-like activity may vary between fields. A lack of recognition of practitioners’ design-like work may contribute to missed opportunities to move fields forward through knowledge and governance; it also may invisiblize these practitioners’ work and hinder practitioners from advancing individually within their fields. Enhancing recognition of such activity, especially accounting for the knowledge of field and opportunity practitioners hold, may address these tensions. 

In this DRG, we aim to study two such practitioner populations, educators and clinicians, and explore how the lens of RtD may frame and potentially inform these practitioners’ work. Questions could include: 

  1. Can we articulate RtD as a method for practitioners to create knowledge of design activity in their own fields using their own practice as RtD content?
  2. Is practice within a field intrinsically RtD? Are humans intrinsically designers? How might we come to see practice within a field as RtD? 
  3. Could RtD serve as a bridge between wicked problems and reflective practice?
  4. Who advances self and field, and how does recognition of practice as RtD influence these types of politics?

This 2-credit DRG will be led by Alainna Brennan Brown with guidance from Dr. Jennifer Turns. We will establish a regular  meeting time during the first week of the quarter based on students’ availability. This DRG is open to students at all levels. To apply, please fill out this interest form.

Preference will be given to those expressing interest by end of day Friday March 26, since we will need to choose a time based on those who express interest. We will do rolling decisions, and will base decisions on the participants’ ability to bring a range of relevant professional backgrounds plus experiences with and interests in RtD. 

Spring 2021

Exploring Power Dynamics in Co-Design for Engineering Education Research Part II

In Exploring Power Dynamics in Co-Designing Engineering Education Part II, participants will use data from the previous quarter to develop a more refined research agenda.  Informed by readings that explore co-design as an inclusive process intended to create change and address power dynamics, participants will be involved in different parts of the research project, including data analysis, knowledge dissemination, and more study design and piloting. 

Participants are not required to have participated in the Winter DRG.

As researchers, we are exploring how power relations between college level educators, students, and researchers can be addressed when co-designing for more inclusive STEM, and more specifically, engineering, college level classrooms. 

We will think about questions such as:

  • How do power relations affect the co-design process?
  • How is power enacted?
  • How might we mediate power relations to produce more inclusive co-design sessions?

This will be a 1-3-credit DRG. We will plan to meet for 1.5 hours each week via zoom and expect approximately 1-7 additional hours of engagement each week outside of our meeting times, depending on the number of credits you are registered for. Meeting Times are Wednesdays from 3:00-4:30 p.m. PST.

If interested, please fill out this google form. We are planning on having up to 8 DRG participants. Decisions will be made by March 25th. Decisions on participation will take into account the order in which applicants express interest and a desire to have diverse perspectives in the group. 


1-3 credits
Wednesdays from 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. PST

Spring 2021

Noticing Enactments of Equity 

There is no shortage of people who care about issues of equity in design, education, and HCI. As equity conversations permeate our lives, as human centered designers we might ask: 

  • How do conversations about equity translate to commitments in action? 
  • How do we notice equity in our moment-to-moment interactions? 
  • How might we document, reflect on, and analyze moments when we enact a commitment to equity?

In this DRG, we will collectively explore these questions to develop a praxis for engaging in equity oriented design approaches. Over the course of DRG, we will: (1) Create a shared understanding of equity through reading related work and reflecting on lived experience, (2) Analyze existing analytical memos of a researcher’s attempt to document her equity commitment across projects, and (3) Translate the process of documenting and noticing equity enactments to your own practice. 

This 2-credit DRG will be led by Wendy Roldan with guidance from Dr. Jennifer Turns. We will meet on Tuesdays from 2:30 - 4 p.m. PST on Zoom. 

We invite all levels of academic standing and background. To apply, please fill out this interest form by March 26. The google form will close on March 26th and decisions will be emailed by March 28. Decisions on participation will take into account the order in which applicants express interest and a desire to have diverse perspectives in the group.

Dr. Turns' Research Group archive