(Source: PrintCityMMU via Twitter)
(来源：PrintCityMMU via Twitter)
In the Summer of 2018, MMU played host to a collection of industry leaders as part of a fact-finding session for a new course to gauge just what they wanted from new people they looked to employ. We wanted to build a totally new course that encouraged problem-solving, creativity, common sense and a mindset that was not afraid to try new ideas. Underneath this would be a foundation of soft-skills development on which to build communication and presentation skills that are essential, not only in this domain, but indeed for every business sector in the world.
The most viewed talk (66M views) on TED is Sir Ken Robinson's 'Do Schools Kill Creativity?'. He died this August but his legacy is one that made people stop and think about how we teach and what learning actually is. 'Rewiring Education' by John D. Couch gives a more in-depth analysis of how we got to standardised tests at the cost of creativity and the arts. We can sum it up in just three statements: Exploration replaced by expectation, collaboration replaced by competition and discovery replaced by memorisation. A famous US army recruiting slogan was 'Be all you can be' but with these standardised tests, they made you believe at an early age that you were already all you could be.
TED上浏览量最高的演讲(6600万次)是Ken Robinson爵士的《Do Schools Kill Creativity?》他在今年8月去世，但他留下的遗产让人们停下来思考我们如何教学，以及学习到底是什么。John D. Couch所著的'Rewiring Education'更深入地分析了我们是如何以创造力和艺术为代价来进行标准化考试的。我们可以用三句话来概括：探索被期望取代，合作被竞争取代，发现被记忆取代。美军有一句著名的招兵口号是 "做你能做的一切"，但通过这些标准化考试，你在很小的时候就会相信你已经做了你能做的一切。
The late and great Douglas Adams had a great relationship with new technologies. He once defined technology as 'stuff that doesn't work yet' and 'anything that is in the world when you're born is normal'. Children born after June 29th 2007 will never know that smartphones were born with them, they are just normal to them but a real challenge for non-digital natives who struggle to get to grips with them. For a moment, imagine someone could not hear you but could see you. You make the 'call me' gesture with your outstretched thumb and little finger but try this with a young person and they won't as readily understand as all their calls are made on a glass slab with no design similarity to a clunky old plastic telephone handset with the microphone and speakers at opposite ends.
已故的伟大人物Douglas Adams与新技术关系匪浅。他曾将科技定义为 "还不能用的东西"，"你出生时世界上任何东西都是正常的"。2007年6月29日之后出生的孩子永远不会知道智能手机是与生俱来的，智能手机对他们来说只是正常的，但对非数字原住民来说，却是一个真正的挑战。想象一下，有人听不到你的声音，却能看到你。你用伸出的拇指和小指做出 "给我打电话 "的手势，但如果和年轻人一起尝试，他们不会那么容易理解，因为他们所有的电话都是在玻璃板上打的，与笨拙的老式塑料电话听筒的设计没有任何相似之处，麦克风和扬声器在两端。
So with that background for context, our MSc Industrial Digitalisation course was born. Even our admissions criteria changed. Generally, if you want to study Biology for example at university, you need previous entry qualifications in Biology. So what about Industrial Digitalisation? Limiting entry based on what people had done before can prevent them becoming anything else they could be. A class full of students from the same educational route is not one that is fertile with differing opinion and experience so we consider anyone from any course but interview rarely where we need to check suitability.
In the first year of the programme, we were approached by a large sportswear company who agreed to fund a 12-month research project to investigate tennis shoes and ankle injuries in tennis. We put three students on this, one was an engineer, one was a product designer and the other was a business graduate. Without any one of them, we could not have undertaken the project and we saw this as a clear vindication of our entry criteria - it worked. This amalgamation of different academic backgrounds has opened doors the other way too and we now have aspects of 3D printing embedded into programmes around the university, from fashion to furniture design and architecture. Additive manufacturing is just one spoke in the wheel of our course but it provides the perfect vehicle for design, discovery, experimentation and collaboration.
We don't do exams; we use problem-based assessments where students are encouraged to make things but then be able to support and justify their decisions and manufacturing processes to others. Knowing how you made something takes on a whole new value when you have to explain why you made it.
Around this, we strongly encourage our students to be unafraid of failure because, once again in the words of Sir Ken Robinson, 'if you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original'. When students vehemently defend a notion or idea and then back it up with logical reasoning, you know they're ready.