Teaching the Next Generation of Technical Designers About Cotton Performance Technologies Through a Problem-Based Learning Project
The purpose of this project was to increase students' awareness of advancements by Cotton, Inc. to enhance the functional properties of cotton. In teams of two, students in a technical design course worked on a semester-long project that involved developing an innovative performance apparel ensemble for an underserved market using technologically enhanced cotton fabrics. Students created technical packages for each garment and submitted a comprehensive report documenting the entire design process and outcomes. Fabric and support was provided by Cotton, Inc.. The class was framed by a Problem-Based Learning (PBL) approach in which the students learned about cotton through the experience of solving an open-ended problem which was: How can cotton technologies add value and increase performance apparel end-users? Through this question, the author framed the delivery of technical design concepts (e.g., development of tech packs, fittings, sample development) as they related directly to the student's project.