Teaching Information Architecture The 2nd Academics and Practitioners Round Table

Summit 2014
Thursday March 27 2014, 9am — 5pm
San Diego, CA, USA
Register: http://2014.iasummit.org/register/

Visit Reframe-IA.org for complete details.

Today’s students of IA will be the ones to forge the path ahead in the years to come. Karen McGrane’s 2013 closing keynote called for a doubling down on IA and this not only includes how we sell and position our practice in the marketplace but also how we educate our next generation of learners.

Overview and Goals

Following the enormous success of the 2013 Academics and Practitioners Round Table, this year we will extend the conversation to "Teaching Information Architecture."

  • What and how should we be teaching students of IA?
  • How do we mature the practice of IA through education?
  • How do we bridge practice, theory and education?
  • What does the field as a whole require from education? This includes businesses, agencies, academia and the community of practice.
  • What is the full breadth of IA education? When does it end? And how could we co-ordinate its development?

The workshop will take the form of short ignite style presentations by authors whose papers have completed a formal double-blind peer review process. Following this, a series of co-design sessions will bring academics and practitioners together to explore key issues central to the teaching of IA.

What will attendees take away from the round table? Those attending the workshop will benefit from deep discussion, lively debate and co-design sessions that explore the intersection of education, practice and theory. More specifically:

  • A deep knowledge of the current global state of IA education
  • Contemporary theoretical positions and case studies on teaching IA
  • An understanding of what is required to challenge and develop the field of IA through education
  • Models for the critique of IA produced both for students and practitioners
  • Definition of what we should be teaching from and for the field of IA Innovative approaches to teaching IA


Introduction: 1 hr.

Welcome and setting the scene: why teaching IA matters now, more than ever
The state of IA education: findings of a global review of IA education
Case study: Learning’s from five years of teaching IA in the Fine Art, Design and Architecture Faculty of the University of Johannesburg (J. Hobbs and T. Fenn)
Paper presentations: 2 hrs.

Ignite-style presentations from the authors of academic texts submitted for the workshop
Questions, discussion, debate and identification of key themes from submissions
Co-design sessions: 4 hrs.

Exercise 1: The path ahead: what is needed to mature the discipline of IA through education
Exercise 2: A fully formed student: what and how should we be teaching students
Exercise 3: A language of critique: how do we practice the critique of IA in education
Exercise 4: Innovating education: new approaches, methods and techniques for teaching IA

The proceedings of the workshop will be published in a special issue of the Journal of Information Architecture, an open-access peer-reviewed scientific journal (http://journalofia.org/, ISSN 1903-7260) pending confirmation of other publishing deals that will be pursued with a number of academic publishers.

The full length of the workshop will also be documented in video and / or audio.

Participating as an auditor

Conference participants that do not submit papers are welcome to register for the workshop and join in the day-long event. Participants will benefit from the presentations, contributing to discussion and inclusion in the co-design sessions.

Both practitioners and academics are welcome to join us.


All attendees, both speakers and non-speakers, will need to register for the workshop. The nominal fee of $75 to be paid will be used to cover the bare costs of the workshop.


Together, Jason Hobbs and Terence Fenn have succeeded in embedding the principles and practice of IA through the Design Department of the Faculty of Fine Art, Design and Architecture in the University of Johannesburg. Over the past five years they have taught a unique course on UX to undergraduates at the same institution merging Design Thinking and IA practice with a focus on complex problems situated in social realities. They have written and published extensively on these topics in both academic and practitioner publications and conferences both in South Africa and Internationally.

Their experience of teaching spans academia, corporate training, guest lecturing, presentation at conferences, workshop facilitation, agency training, mentoring, skills transfer and client-side institutionalization of UX governance, methodologies, resourcing and training.

Terence (tfenn at uj dot ac dot za) is a full time lecturer in interaction and multimedia design at the University of Johannesburg. He gained his Masters in Art and Design Education from the University of New South Wales and is currently completing his second Masters at the University of Cape Town.

Jason (jhobbs at nomensa dot com) is Director of Information Architecture at Nomensa. He has over 15 years experience in practicing IA, UX and service design internationally, lectures part time, conducts academic research and has been deeply involved in developing the IA community of Practice.

Produced by The Information Architecture Institute and The Journal of Information Architecture

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