This text is what I’ve learned in my two decades of teaching. It’s about design education, but it’s applicable to other fields, too. It’s for people responsible for building curriculum and designing classes, for people who are in positions to teach, and even for students who are thinking about how their own courses are structured and run.
An outcome statement is an assertion, or promise. It’s something that a student will have learned, gained, practiced, exhibited, or demonstrated as a result of completing your course.
A course schedule describes the things that happen throughout the course. This schedule includes details around the course dates, in-class exercises, out-of-class expectations, and when assignments are due.
A course description acts as the short mission statement of each class. It reads as a value proposition by declaring what students will learn, framed as a promise.
Contextual Research is one of the core tenants of user-centered design: observing real behavior in order to influence design decisions.
Synthesis is about making informed inferences, leaps from raw data to insight.
Service Design is about designing interactions that happen over time.
Evaluation is about understanding if people can use a new design easily.
Product management is the set of skills that bring a product to market: developing meaningful insights into human behavior, crafting a product vision, identifying product/market fit, and managing a product roadmap.
In a design course, the professor acts as a master, and a student is an apprentice.
The professor is responsible for guiding skill development, and also confidence development.
Most design projects are collaborative. Students learn how to work in groups, and how to manage the subjectivity of creativity.
The duration of the studio says “creativity requires dedication” and helps students build a muscle memory of expectations around how their work evolves and changes.
Exercises are succinct, contained, and highly regimented tasks that students perform to underscore and practice what they’ve learned.
Critique is a special type of learning experience that happens during a design studio. Critique emphasizes the negative in order to help students improve their work.
Design doesn't stand on its own: it needs to be presented, often through creative facilitation.
Theory gives a designer the basis to have an informed governing philosophy for the process they’ll use to do their work.
Students learn to create a design, and then create it over, and over, and over again.
A method is a discrete set of tasks or steps that can be used to achieve a goal.
In a design studio, students develop a care and attention to detail that informs the quality and refinement of their work.
Regular and formal self-assessment can give students an awareness of their personal growth over time.
Students must receive criticism and feedback of their work in a context that supports growth.
Design judgement should be delivered with immediacy: in the context in which design is presented.
Design is one of the most powerful forces we have in changing the world around us. It shapes culture and changes the way we interact with one-another. We can’t leave design education to chance, because our graduates will soon be in charge of building the designed world around us.