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Design thinking locates the designer as the arbiter of the design space, personally responsible for managing uncertainty, leveraging failures, and gaining insight through reflection to maintain momentum and deliver meaningful design outcomes. As design education becomes more closely aligned with design thinking, the field will need to shift its understanding of the role of the designer and support students in developing professional identities that reflect this understanding. This study investigated the use of reflective writing in an introductory design course to help students explore and interpret their design beliefs, experiences, and self-awareness. The results indicate that authorial presence, analysis, and narrative quality are common qualities in reflective responses, but emotion is notably lacking from student writing. Students were highly reflective in relation to a general experience with uncertainty and least reflective when discussing ideation processes. Implications for design education and research are discussed.


Education | Educational Administration and Supervision