Social Media + Parallel Prototyping

A Light Fixture Classroom Approach


  • Hoa Vo Department of Design, Housing, and Apparel, College of Design, University of Minnesota
  • Abimbola O. Asojo Department of Design, Housing, and Apparel, College of Design, University of Minnesota


social media, online learning, design education, design classroom, interactive learning


Turning students’ proficiency and engagement with social media into vehicles for classroom activities can enhance students’ performance. Instant interaction, the nature of social media, is equivalent to a rapid-feedback-cycle that allows students to learn and adjust quickly. Social media, thus, is especially helpful for evaluating multiple students' works at the same time. This practice, in interior design, is parallel prototyping. Based on this potential fit, the authors conducted a mixed-method study on this account in a light fixture design classroom at the University of Minnesota in three consecutive years (2015 to 2017).
In collaboration with a Texas-based furniture and fixture manufacturer, students created light fixtures and received feedback from the chief executive officer (CEO). On a private Facebook group, students posted 15 sketches to the folders with their names. Once the CEO provided informative feedback on each sketch, students could instantly access to this resource to revise and enhance their ideas. Later in the process, students uploaded 3 idea developments and the feedback cycle started again. Students final concepts, in terms of scale models, displayed at a renowned trade show where attendees voted for the most creative and profitable solutions.
The authors compared the interaction-frequency of students and the CEO and students’ performance (i.e., in-class grades, trade show vote results). This poster discusses their initial findings.

Author Biographies

Hoa Vo, Department of Design, Housing, and Apparel, College of Design, University of Minnesota

Hoa Vo, M.F.A., is a 3rd year Ph.D. student, graduate instructor, and research assistant in Interior Design program, College of Design, University of Minnesota. She is a current student-member of Interior Design Educators Council (IDEC) and Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA). Her research focuses on the notion of creativity, feedback as a tool to foster creativity in design educational and -professional contexts, and human well-being in the built environment. Hoa is especially curious about the cognitive aspects of creativity and measures of its domain-specific outcomes. With the guidance of her advisor, Dr. Abimbola O. Asojo, Hoa works on multiple projects and got published on Academic Exchange Quarterly, IDEC, EDRA, Creativity & Cognition (C&C) conference proceedings.

Abimbola O. Asojo, Department of Design, Housing, and Apparel, College of Design, University of Minnesota

Abimbola O. Asojo, Ph.D. is the Associate Dean for Research, Creative Scholarship and Engagement and Professor in the Interior Design program at the University of Minnesota, College of Design. Her research focuses on cross-cultural design issues, African architecture, computing and design, architectural lighting design, and sustainable post-occupancy evaluation. Her research has been disseminated in the Journal of Interior Design, International Journal of Architectural Research, Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review, the Handbook of Interior Design, LEUKOS, the Journal of the Illuminating Engineering Society, Building Research and Information, and Bauhaus Imaginista journals. She has an upcoming book titled African Humanity: Creativity, Identity and Personhood co-authored with Dr. Toyin Falola, UT Austin to be published by Carolina Academic Press. In 2018, she received the Environmental Design and Management, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria, Distinguished Alumni Award, and has been twice named one of Design Intelligence’s Most Admired Educators (2017, 2010). She is a licensed architect, NCIDQ certified and a LEED Accredited Professional.