Currently the Bachelor of Design is the generic degree offered to the four disciplines of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Industrial Design, and Interior Design within the School of Design at the Queensland University of Technology. Regardless of discipline, Digital Communication is a core unit taken by the 600 first year students entering the Bachelor of Design degree. Within the design disciplines the communication of the designer's intentions is achieved primarily through the use of graphic images, with written information being considered as supportive or secondary. As such, Digital Communication attempts to educate learners in the fundamentals of this graphic design communication, using a generic digital or software tool. Past iterations of the unit have not acknowledged the subtle difference in design communication of the different design disciplines involved, and has used a single generic software tool. Following a review of the unit in 2008, it was decided that a single generic software tool was no longer entirely sufficient. This decision was based on the recognition that there was an increasing emergence of discipline specific digital tools, and an expressed student desire and apparent aptitude to learn these discipline specific tools. As a result the unit was reconstructed in 2009 to offer both discipline specific and generic software instruction, if elected by the student.\ud \ud This paper, apart from offering the general context and pedagogy of the existing and restructured units, will more importantly offer research data that validates the changes made to the unit. Most significant of this new data is the results of surveys that authenticate actual student aptitude versus desire in learning discipline specific tools. This is done through an exposure of student self efficacy in problem resolution and technological prowess - generally and specifically within the unit. More traditional means of validation is also presented that includes the results of the generic university-wide Learning Experience Survey of the unit, as well as a comparison between the assessment results of the restructured unit versus the previous year
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