Using Instagram to Increase Student Engagement with Design History


Industrial Design, Bloom’s Taxonomy, Participatory Learning, Design Culture, Design Education


In today’s rapidly evolving design disciplines, design history students should demonstrate an understanding of the social and cultural impact of design of both historical and contemporary designers and their methods. To increase student engagement with design history and discourse, we prototyped a new format for our design history course in Brigham Young University’s Industrial Design department. Our goal was to enable students to process designs they encounter, both in person and social media, through a critical and cultural perspective, and then turn those lenses towards their own design work with greater social and cultural awareness. To do this, we utilized Instagram as the primary platform (@byudesignhistory) for course discussion and altered the way we framed student assignments. This new curriculum was prototyped in the spring of 2018. Outcomes were measured by monitoring student engagement, responses, and comprehension scores on verbal and written assignments and examinations. Students also responded to a series of reviews to gather their perspectives on the class. Results indicate an increase in their understanding of the cultural position design holds in a way that was absent in student results from the previous course structure. If our course interventions are effective, students should move from concrete to abstract knowledge as well as from lower order to higher order thinking skills. Students will thus be better prepared to assess, understand and discuss both current and historical design cultures and trends while influencing their own design work through an informed perspective.

Original Publication Citation

Cardall, H., & Howell, B. (2018). Using Instagram to Increase Student Engagement with Design History. Conference proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education; Design Education: Diversity or Conformity? (E&PDE18) (pp. 726-731), London, UK, September 6-7.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

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Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology



University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor