What to teach interaction design students

15 Oct 2008 - 5:02am
5 years ago
26 replies
2070 reads
Andy Polaine
2008

I've been teaching interaction design (often still called "multimedia
authoring" in many of my institutions, ugh!) for some time, but I
always feel it's a battle between tools, principles and techniques.
Over the years I've tried to steer away from any specific technology
(they all think they should learn Flash) and focus on process and
principles because I feel they have longevity.

So, tapping the hive brain out there. What would you like to see
students taught about your discipline? What would you teach a total
beginner or someone moving into the area (as often happens with
Masters students)?

Any thoughts for some fresh and interesting project briefs?

Best,

Andy

Comments

16 Oct 2008 - 4:06pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

>
> So, tapping the hive brain out there. What would you like to see students
> taught about your discipline? What would you teach a total beginner or
> someone moving into the area (as often happens with Masters students)?

This won't help you immediately, but the WaSP Education Task Force has been
working on a curriculum framework for educators. It'll be announced
officially at SXSW in March. It's been headed up by Aarron Walter, and
contributors include Stephanie Troeth, Nick Finck, Tood Zaki Warfel, myself,
and others. It includes an IxD intro course (which I put together), as well
as courses on visual design, presentation, prototyping, IA, web standards,
and many other things relevant to an aspiring IxDer.

-r-

16 Oct 2008 - 4:47pm
DampeS8N
2008

IxD is best taught interactively. It is very hard to tell someone why,
it is much easier to show them.

So my advice is to not teach IxD, it is to demonstrate it. Show why
it needs to exist by showing what happens when it doesn't. The ATM
problem is good, demonstrate that design-by-committee doesn't work,
demonstrate that development focused design doesn't work,
demonstrate that graphics design focused design doesn't work, and
then solve the problem with Goal Directed Design.

You can't teach IxD and be respected if you teach it in the way that
classes are traditionally taught because it is akin to someone
teaching public speaking by showing a series of really bad
power-point presentations that don't follow the guidelines it is
espousing.

What to teach should come naturally if you apply IxD to the teaching
method. That is, after all, what IxD is all about.

I'd also intentionally remove computers and high-technology from the
classroom and force your students to develop the tools they will need
to describe their designs properly. Use paper, whiteboards and
overheads exclusively. Limitation fosters creativity.

Aside from that, thinking outside the box should be highly rewarded.
Anyone who thinks of something you didn't think of should be praised
publicly, and in a related way, praise should be given to students who
ask dumb questions. Since dumb questions are how we probe the edges of
the box for holes.

I hope this is helpful,
Will

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34437

17 Oct 2008 - 9:49am
Itamar Medeiros
2006

During the time I was lecturing at the Raffles Design Institute at
DongHua University, I wrote the outline of an "Introduction to User
Interaction Design" couse, based mostly on Ben Shneiderman's
"Designing the User Interface", Nathan Shedroff's "A Unified
Field Theory of Design", and Cooper's Personas.

A few topics I covered on that course where:

1- Introduction to Interaction Design
Discuss the difference between designing objects and designing
interaction, and the aspects of interaction.

2- User Requirements Document
Develop a clear understanding of the characteristics of the
product%u2019s users; understand the tasks users perform; analyze the
data gathered and create the product%u2019s user requirements.

3- Methodologies
Students were shown the importance of using methodologies in the
design process, and were introduced to the concept of
personas/scenarios.

4- Information Architecture & Way-finding
Student were introduced to the concept of information architecture
and principles of way-finding

5- Information Architecture & Content Organization
Student were introduced to the concept of information architecture,
principles of content organization and CARD SORTING technique.

6- Wireframing & Prototyping
Student were introduced to the concept paper prototyping and to the
designing of WIREFRAMES.

{ Itamar Medeiros } Information Designer
designing clear, understandable communication by
carefully structuring, contextualizing, and presenting
data and information

mobile ::: 86 13671503252
website ::: http://designative.info/
aim ::: itamarlmedeiros
skype ::: designative

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34437

17 Oct 2008 - 10:01am
Atul N Joshi
2007

Andy,
I have been teaching Professionals and University Students (UG and PG in
Design) from time to time over the last 4-5 years. Please note that I teach
only part time, for 60 to70 days a year.
I teach "User Experience Design for HCI" and surrounding courses and have
created about 160 hrs of learning content up till now. I keep reinventing
it every year. I have been told (by educators, students and
professionals) that the overall break up of course work I teach makes Design
activities easy to understand and work with. I seem to give a sense to
students about what is important to learn in design and why. After that, I
only provide exposure and generate interest as a teacher and let the
students explore, and then guide them.
What I fundamentally do is, compartment the important Design Concerns in
to 5 parts (taught consecutively at first)
1) Introduction to UXD
2) User Research and Requirements
3) Structural Design, Interface Architecture and Interaction Design
4) Visual Design & Aesthetics
5) Design Evaluation
This leads the students through all aspects of a complete Design Lifecycle,
from requirements, visualization, creation, execution, all the way to
evaluation. The hardest bit to teach is visualization. Its too abstract to
teach how to imagine structures and interface, and remains a slow discovery
process. Each student usually shall need individual time to be spent with.
Further, I focus on the 'wholesome meal' of learning by enabling
1) Concepts- through lectures, case studies and projects
2) Skills- through repeated exercises and demonstrations
3) Sensitivity- through independent projects and observation
Its obviously not a formula thingy. There are too many gray areas and every
batch of students take it differently. My insight has been, once students
get the skills and concepts right, I tend to press them on the design
process and make them think about it consciously. That helps them a lot.
This usually helps them generate insights of their own. After all, for a
Designer, the most important thing to learn is to be able to interpret and
judge things. PG students will have a lot lesser time at hand than UG.
Conversely, PG need longer to get sensitive (I guess due to age and
unlearning).
I think projects help to learn this best in this stage. The ability to
wonder and understand what they do also helps generate interest. Which, I
feel is important to absorb learning.
I feel that the most important thing for the student to discover in Design
is Sensitivity- to what to do, when to do, how to do and why to do it? The
teacher may need to help the student to learn to balance creativity with a
structured and methodical approach. (True about almost all Design streams)
I am often reminded of Star-Wars when I think of teaching young design
students. "Obi-Van has trained you well, young Skywalker".
:- )
I feel a teacher plays a very critical role of a mentor by infusing right
amount exposure at the right time so the student experiences just-in-time
learning. I think teachers who practice the profession actively can provide
better exposure through demonstration and mentoring. However, they also need
to balance practical exposure with academic thought and avoid focusing only
on practical skill.
You can see some of the course work I offer to Industry Professionals (I
teach students for longer durations of these courses) at this link here:
http://www.designincubator.com/training_current.htm
Do let me know if this was usefull and if you have any feedback that can
help me improve my course work.
Regards,
--
Atul N Joshi
Design Director,
Design Incubator R&D Labs (P) Ltd,
Mumbai - India
Info: www.designincubator.com
Mailto: atuljoshi at gmail.com

17 Oct 2008 - 7:23pm
Chris Noessel
2005

Hey Andy. I%u2019m in both a perfect and lousy place to answer.
Perfect because I%u2019ve been thinking a lot about it since I begin
teaching a course in Interaction Design at the California College of
the Arts here in San Francisco next week. I%u2019m in a lousy
position because I actually haven%u2019t taught it yet and have no
practical idea if my ideas will work. But I%u2019ll float the core
thread out there and see if it helps.

I recall one of the best learning experiences of my undergraduate
experience was from a drama professor in an acting class, who
approached us to discuss every scene we did%u2014whether it was
Shakespeare or Durang%u2014with the same question: What%u2019s the
backbone of this scene? What are you fighting for? (I think he
modified it from Shurtleff, but that%u2019s neither here nor there.)

The point is, he gave me a technique that I was able to apply to
every theatrical experience thereafter. Now I left the theatre
behind some time ago, but his technique is kind of thing I want to
give the students: a memorable framework with which they can approach
most any interaction design problem, and from which they can branch
out and investigate the giant bodies of knowledge that touch on it,
including current tools, and best practice principles.

So, short answer, I think that technique is the most fundamental and
lasting thing to teach, and from which you can introduce tools and
principles.

For more detail, here are the topics we%u2019re hitting and the
order:

1. What is interaction design? (As a practice, historically, & as a
profession.) How do you approach interaction design challenges?

2. WHO ARE THE USERS? How do you research and model users? How do you
use these models in design?

3. HOW DO THEY USE IT? How do research and model prospective
technology? How do you specify and demonstrate its use?

4. How do we connect users to the technology they are using?
(Practical interface design considerations.)

5. DOES IT WORK? How do we evaluate our (and others%u2019) work?

I%u2019m also augmenting my class with discussions and exercises
around systems thinking and professional processes.

But it%u2019s those three capitalized questions, which I developed
while I was at marchFIRST, that will form the structure that
we%u2019ll return to, and form the basis of a consistent approach.

So this is the structure I%u2019m proceeding with and my two cents.
I%u2019ll see how it works over the next several weeks.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34437

17 Oct 2008 - 9:23pm
Jarod Tang
2007

Hi Chris,
Maybe one more points to be added, What's the GOOD interaction/ux
design? And how to evaluate it in effective way?

Cheers,
-- Jarod

On Sat, Oct 18, 2008 at 8:23 AM, Chris Noessel <chrisnoessel at hotmail.com> wrote:
> Hey Andy. I%u2019m in both a perfect and lousy place to answer.
> Perfect because I%u2019ve been thinking a lot about it since I begin
> teaching a course in Interaction Design at the California College of
> the Arts here in San Francisco next week. I%u2019m in a lousy
> position because I actually haven%u2019t taught it yet and have no
> practical idea if my ideas will work. But I%u2019ll float the core
> thread out there and see if it helps.
>
> I recall one of the best learning experiences of my undergraduate
> experience was from a drama professor in an acting class, who
> approached us to discuss every scene we did%u2014whether it was
> Shakespeare or Durang%u2014with the same question: What%u2019s the
> backbone of this scene? What are you fighting for? (I think he
> modified it from Shurtleff, but that%u2019s neither here nor there.)
>
> The point is, he gave me a technique that I was able to apply to
> every theatrical experience thereafter. Now I left the theatre
> behind some time ago, but his technique is kind of thing I want to
> give the students: a memorable framework with which they can approach
> most any interaction design problem, and from which they can branch
> out and investigate the giant bodies of knowledge that touch on it,
> including current tools, and best practice principles.
>
> So, short answer, I think that technique is the most fundamental and
> lasting thing to teach, and from which you can introduce tools and
> principles.
>
> For more detail, here are the topics we%u2019re hitting and the
> order:
>
> 1. What is interaction design? (As a practice, historically, & as a
> profession.) How do you approach interaction design challenges?
>
> 2. WHO ARE THE USERS? How do you research and model users? How do you
> use these models in design?
>
> 3. HOW DO THEY USE IT? How do research and model prospective
> technology? How do you specify and demonstrate its use?
>
> 4. How do we connect users to the technology they are using?
> (Practical interface design considerations.)
>
> 5. DOES IT WORK? How do we evaluate our (and others%u2019) work?
>
> I%u2019m also augmenting my class with discussions and exercises
> around systems thinking and professional processes.
>
> But it%u2019s those three capitalized questions, which I developed
> while I was at marchFIRST, that will form the structure that
> we%u2019ll return to, and form the basis of a consistent approach.
>
> So this is the structure I%u2019m proceeding with and my two cents.
> I%u2019ll see how it works over the next several weeks.
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34437
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
http://designforuse.blogspot.com/

18 Oct 2008 - 2:48pm
Jason Pamental
2008

I think much of what you're seeking has been covered really really well - but what strikes a cord with me personally are those who stress the fundamental processes in an analog way. By removing the blessing/curse of technology, the students can really focus on solid, basic design principles before they get caught up in the nuts and bolts of building something. Don Norman's book 'The Design of Everyday Things' should be required reading - by focusing on something as simple as consistently placed and clearly designed door handles and how that can impact the usability of a building you can set a great foundation for understanding the importance of good user experience. If they don't have things fundamentally thought through before diving into Flash or whatever other design/development tool they choose it's far to easy for projects and classes to devolve into 'why can't I build this' rather than evolving higher into 'this is just what should be built'.

Cheers,

Jason

18 Oct 2008 - 10:41pm
Chris Noessel
2005

@Jason: Hear, hear. The Design of Everyday Things is the first part of
the reader. Additionally, my students don't necessarily come to the
class with programming or development skills, so I've tried to make
sure that most of the discussion can be about analog examples. For
example, one day of the interface week we're going horseback riding
together, and the students are tasked to evaluate the saddles and
tack as interfaces to the horse, documenting what they find with the
principles we've been discussing.

@Jarod: We'll be dealing with evaluation throughout the course, and
I should have been more specific in that "Does it work?" concerns
evaluation and judgment.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34437

19 Oct 2008 - 12:09am
Jeff Howard
2004

Hi Andy,

A former classmate of mine came up with this eloquent prescription
for learning interaction design:

. . .

http://tinyurl.com/69r5mg

"You tell him I said to take a long unstructured walk around his
city. Talk to strangers. Take pictures. Visit at least one museum.
Pretend like he's from somewhere else for an hour. Stop in a
park to read Raymond Carver's "What we talk about when we
talk about love." (out loud would be rad, but I leave that up to
him.) Go into a music store, find two people who seem completely
different from him and buy whatever they are buying. And then end his
travels at your house where he'll tell you the story of his day
over a bottle of Bombay Sapphire Gin. The story should last as long
as the bottle.

"Then like Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid tell him all the things he
already knows interaction design without even realizing it.

"And to answer the question before you ask - why Bombay Sapphire
Gin? Gin because it's yummy. Bombay Sapphire because it's
beautiful. We're still designers after all. ; )"

. . .

I'd love to have had a class like that at some point.

On a more practical note, Dan Saffer's syllabus from his Visual
Interface Design course is available online. It's got readings and
projects all wrapped up in a tidy little bundle:

http://www.odannyboy.com/vid05/

// jeff

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34437

19 Oct 2008 - 5:20am
Dave Malouf
2005

GREAT thread. Before I go all up and theoretical, I wanted to point
people to Jon Kolko's work in this regard. He is my predecessor at
SCAD as the Prof of IxD there. He has his course materials and other
thoughts on IxD education on his site:
http://www.jonkolko.com/education.php

I think "what I teach" will really depend on the structure. If I
was teaching inside another discipline (as I will be) I will only
have to teach those things that the primary program does not cover.
I.e. I won't be teaching drawing/sketching to a bunch of industrial
design students. But if I was teaching in an interactive media
program, I most certainly would be. In either case I would supplement
a standard sketching lab with tidbits about how to make sketching a
more effective IxD tool.

But generally, I like how people are speaking about the analog of
interaction design. I'm not so sure this is so necessary in a formal
education background as it is is a continuing ed background.
Especially at the masters level I would expect that complete studio
work you will have had to take the materials labs/studios in order to
continue your work. "Flash" might be too specific, but
basic/intermediate multimedia computer programming is definitely not.

Futher, I think the Jeff's example of exploring and re-telling is
great! It is really a classic ethnography course exercise but I would
add that would "story telling" is a hugely important lesson we need
to teach our students, there are some additions here I'd like to
make.
1) There is story telling. I would want my stuents to explore this in
various cross-cultural forms.
2) There are media. Take the same story and see it played out in
various media. The Oddessy for example has been done (to death) as
book, graphic novel/comic, TV show, radio show, movie, and
interactive CD-ROM. Learning how the story changes both in media and
as well over time is really important.
3) Once the critique is done, then it is a question of learning how
to take that ethnography you did and then express *A* story in those
observations as a problem, that needs to be solved, and then telling
the story of the solution.

The last point I'd like to make here is that "Does it work?" is
the classic problem with UCD related design education. While this may
not be the intention of the words, in no doubt do the words themselves
focus our attention on "function". While usability and workabilit
and stakeholder demands are important, as a design discipline there
is more. There are aesthetics in interactions and it is important if
interaction designers are to work side by side and be in a position
to direct other trained designers (from other disciplines) to be able
to walk and talk about aesthetics not just of IxD but of the form
designers they will work with. Design History, not just of IxD, but
of architecture, industrial design, interior, graphic, etc. is
important. A learning of the great design schools of Europe and how
they influenced and got turned up-side-down in the US and Asia is
also important.

Then all of this that I don't see needs to be turned into
"critique". Someone recently said (I forget if it was posted on
this list) that graphic design is completely subjective with a means
of evaluating beyond the personal. HOGWASH! Critique is real in
visual design and industrial design, and it just doesn't mean that
it can be used, read, or communicated successfully. It speaks about
emotions like HCI theorists speak about cognition. While it can be
fuzzy, there is predictability the same way 5 wine tasters can all
agree on great wine, so would 5 design masters on specific qualities
of a visual, 3D or spatial design.

I'm not saying that what has been posted already isn't important,
but for a design education on IxD, not just a "continuing ed" UX
education, these elements were missing from the postings above.

-- dave

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34437

19 Oct 2008 - 3:03pm
Jason Pamental
2008

@Dave: I think that you've touched on one of the most interesting challenges in design education: that of evaluation, or critique. I think that I enjoyed the critiques I sat in on in school in painting and drawing and sculpture classes, and those of the printmaking classes I took perhaps moe so than the design courses mainly due to the variety of perspectives. There were invariably students and sometimes faculty from many disciplines in the room, and the discourse was always lively and and insightful. The graphic design course critiques were always more homogenous. One reason I always attributed this to was the more blatant focus on 'content' or message in design taking more primacy over aesthetic. Adding a layer of technology and another of more intense interaction takes UXD further from the comfort zone of those other artists and ability to engage that wider audience in discussion and evaluation.

This field has more balls to juggle in this respect; more constituencies to consider (aesthetics, usability, producability, business objectives, etc.). The unfortunate side effect is that there are fewer potential participants in that discourse and therefore fewer points if view and perspectives represented. A challenge we all face in educating others about this field is how to engage that wider audience so that we don't run the risk of becoming too insular and introverted.

It would be really interesting to hear how those of you teaching on the field go about this. I imagine it would be invaluable for those of us in applying some of those techniques with colleages in other areas of agencies and with clients.

Thanks - this thread has been a fascinating read!

Cheers,

Jason

19 Oct 2008 - 6:43pm
jkolko
2010

> Date: Sun, 19 Oct 2008 03:20:54
> From: David Malouf <dave at ixda.org>
> Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] What to teach interaction design students
> To: discuss at ixda.org
> Message-ID: <20081019102056.14953CC752 at otto.dreamhost.com>
>
> GREAT thread. Before I go all up and theoretical, I wanted to point
> people to Jon Kolko's work in this regard. He is my predecessor at
> SCAD as the Prof of IxD there. He has his course materials and other
> thoughts on IxD education on his site:
> http://www.jonkolko.com/education.php

I've been following the thread, and enjoying the discussion. Having placed
~99% of my 50 or so interaction design undergraduates in interaction design
jobs or grad degree programs, it looks like the interaction curriculum I
developed with Professor Bob Fee works. That said, the reason it worked so
well is because the students I had were passionate, aggressive, interested,
and fired up - and the ones who weren't realized quickly that they couldn't
hack it in courses that were as demanding as industry. And so the best
suggestion I can give to someone structuring an interaction design program
[really, any design program at all] is to make it demanding, challenging and
difficult, and do your best to establish a reputation for it and yourself as
being equally as demanding, challenging and difficult. The students learn to
self-select classes based on reputation, and you control quality through
word of mouth.

After my experience teaching, I'm solidly of the belief that anyone can
learn any design "skill" - any practical ability and set of methods - but
not everyone has or can acquire the passion and fire to learn something as
challenging and as ambiguous as design. A good curriculum and a good
professor exists, essentially, to feed the fire of passion.

-
Jon Kolko

Co-Editor-In-Chief, interactions
http://interactions.acm.org/

17 Oct 2008 - 2:47am
Andy Polaine
2008

Thanks for that, Robert - I'll look out for it.

Any other suggestions from folks out there?

> So, tapping the hive brain out there. What would you like to see
> students taught about your discipline? What would you teach a total
> beginner or someone moving into the area (as often happens with
> Masters students)?
>
> This won't help you immediately, but the WaSP Education Task Force
> has been working on a curriculum framework for educators. It'll be
> announced officially at SXSW in March. It's been headed up by Aarron
> Walter, and contributors include Stephanie Troeth, Nick Finck, Tood
> Zaki Warfel, myself, and others. It includes an IxD intro course
> (which I put together), as well as courses on visual design,
> presentation, prototyping, IA, web standards, and many other things
> relevant to an aspiring IxDer.
>
> -r-

17 Oct 2008 - 9:43am
Andy Polaine
2008

Thanks, that's great. I forgot to mention that it's not necessarily
web-based, so these last parts probably suit best. I've always tried
to teach interaction design on a broader basis so that the skills
don't go out of date as the tools change. Good to confirm that I'm
probably on the right track.

Anthony Zeoli wrote:

> Oh, I almost forgot. My Fundamentals of Interactive Multimedia class
> was of
> critical importance, as it gave me a fuller understanding of
> interactivity.
> It was based a lot on theory about how we navigate interactive
> spaces and
> how we may be immersed in 3-D environs in the future; for example,
> walking
> into a room where you might be able to interact with something you
> are only
> seeing through some type of headgear.
>
> Also, I took a class in gaming, which focused on play as an theory
> while
> asking us to create interactive play experiences, both digitally and
> in the
> analog domain. Very useful to see how people think about solving
> problems
> and implementing steps to complete to get to the end of a process.

18 Oct 2008 - 2:48am
Andy Polaine
2008

Thank you all for your input. I should probably add that this isn't
something new for me - I've been working in the area for 15 years
and teaching alongside that for about 9 of them. But I felt the need
for a bit of fresh input and I thought it would be good to get people
thinking about this now that more pure interaction design courses are
springing up.

Most of the time interaction design is embedded, sometimes buried,
within a broader digital design programme or media arts course (like
most of mine have been), so some of that 'unlearning' has to go on.
It also means the remit is broader - sometimes its very different to
talk about how to develop an interactive artwork compared to an web
interface, but there are more similarities than differences and both
worlds can learn a lot from each other. I prefer talking about the
user experience that context more %u2013 albeit with interactivity as
a central aspect %u2013 because it allows some flexibility in
thinking.

I thought I would return the favour and let people know what has
worked for me and what hasn't in the past:

- Level of hands on help. When I first started teaching, I wanted to
help my students do everything, although my own learning process as a
student was much more self-directed (because at that time nobody knew
how to use the tools much - Director 3 and Photoshop 1.5). What I
noticed with my students was that the more I gave them help, the more
helpless they became through a kind of learned helplessness. Now I
point my students in the right direction and let them work it out
because that way they learn.

- Learning by teaching. Teaching other people how to do something is
the best way to learn it. Getting the students to do that, even if
it's just informally in collaborative work is a goldmine.

- Debugging everything, including design. This relates to what Chris
mentioned. The process of learning to problem shoot both code and
design and how to go about fixing it isn't just for developers, but
goes right the way up through the whole project. Problem solving the
meat and veg of design. It's particularly important in interaction
design because there are far less "standard" or "right"
solutions.

- Keep it small and simple. Smaller briefs, experimental studies of
styles of interaction, etc. seem to be much more successful at
getting students' heads around the principles and ideas than large
projects, which never get finished anyway. They also allow small
successes in an area which for some people is a steep learning curve
(especially if they're learning some coding too).

- Get off the computer. Lots of people mentioned this, and I'm
really glad to see it. I try to talk about process and idea
generation and iterative design without it being about the computer.
In fact, it's best if it's not on the computer. The pencil is still
the quickest idea generation tool.

- Forcing prototyping. I used to tell my students that they really
needed to have a prototype by about half way through the semester, if
not earlier. Most of them ignored it and felt it was "doing the
project twice" until the end when they realised the thing they had
been working away was really dull and/or didn't work how they
imagined. Now I build the prototyping into the course as a graded
component - they lose marks for fancy graphics and finished artwork
(!) - it really has to be a bare bones engine/skeleton. This way they
get to the end of the semester and find that they've already done
most of the hard work and the finishing up stage isn't the usual
caffeine-fuelled nightmare. It also gives them the chance to change
track halfway through the semester if things are working out with
their idea.

- Expose them to lots of stuff. This, I think, is the most important
thing. To show students work that existed before the web, to show
them where interaction design and the stuff they currently see fits
on a longer continuum of history. It both makes sure that they're
not reinventing the wheel as well as gets them beyond the "how do I
know what to do if I don't know what I can do?" stage.

Perhaps I can finish with one last question: What's the most
valuable thing you learned in terms of interaction/user-experience
design (either in education or through experience on the job)?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34437

18 Oct 2008 - 8:20am
Andy Polaine
2008

Thank you all for your input. I should probably add that this isn't
something new for me - I've been working in the area for 15 years
and teaching alongside that for about 9 of them. But I felt the need
for a bit of fresh input and I thought it would be good to get people
thinking about this now that more pure interaction design courses are
springing up.

Most of the time interaction design is embedded, sometimes buried,
within a broader digital design programme or media arts course (like
most of mine have been), so some of that 'unlearning' has to go on.
It also means the remit is broader - sometimes its very different to
talk about how to develop an interactive artwork compared to an web
interface, but there are more similarities than differences and both
worlds can learn a lot from each other. I prefer talking about the
user experience that context more %u2013 albeit with interactivity as
a central aspect %u2013 because it allows some flexibility in
thinking.

I thought I would return the favour and let people know what has
worked for me and what hasn't in the past:

- Level of hands on help. When I first started teaching, I wanted to
help my students do everything, although my own learning process as a
student was much more self-directed (because at that time nobody knew
how to use the tools much - Director 3 and Photoshop 1.5). What I
noticed with my students was that the more I gave them help, the more
helpless they became through a kind of learned helplessness. Now I
point my students in the right direction and let them work it out
because that way they learn.

- Learning by teaching. Teaching other people how to do something is
the best way to learn it. Getting the students to do that, even if
it's just informally in collaborative work is a goldmine.

- Debugging everything, including design. This relates to what Chris
mentioned. The process of learning to problem shoot both code and
design and how to go about fixing it isn't just for developers, but
goes right the way up through the whole project. Problem solving the
meat and veg of design. It's particularly important in interaction
design because there are far less "standard" or "right"
solutions.

- Keep it small and simple. Smaller briefs, experimental studies of
styles of interaction, etc. seem to be much more successful at
getting students' heads around the principles and ideas than large
projects, which never get finished anyway. They also allow small
successes in an area which for some people is a steep learning curve
(especially if they're learning some coding too).

- Get off the computer. Lots of people mentioned this, and I'm
really glad to see it. I try to talk about process and idea
generation and iterative design without it being about the computer.
In fact, it's best if it's not on the computer. The pencil is still
the quickest idea generation tool.

- Forcing prototyping. I used to tell my students that they really
needed to have a prototype by about half way through the semester, if
not earlier. Most of them ignored it and felt it was "doing the
project twice" until the end when they realised the thing they had
been working away was really dull and/or didn't work how they
imagined. Now I build the prototyping into the course as a graded
component - they lose marks for fancy graphics and finished artwork
(!) - it really has to be a bare bones engine/skeleton. This way they
get to the end of the semester and find that they've already done
most of the hard work and the finishing up stage isn't the usual
caffeine-fuelled nightmare. It also gives them the chance to change
track halfway through the semester if things are working out with
their idea.

- Expose them to lots of stuff. This, I think, is the most important
thing. To show students work that existed before the web, to show
them where interaction design and the stuff they currently see fits
on a longer continuum of history. It both makes sure that they're
not reinventing the wheel as well as gets them beyond the "how do I
know what to do if I don't know what I can do?" stage.

Perhaps I can finish with one last question: What's the most
valuable thing you learned in terms of interaction/user-experience
design (either in education or through experience on the job)?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34437

19 Oct 2008 - 2:04am
Andy Polaine
2008

Thanks for everyone's responses here. I did write a lengthy reply via
the IxDA website with my own experiences to share a couple of days
agp. I've worked in interactive media for 15 years and taught
alongside that for about nine of them. But the reply appears to be in
the moderation queue still, so if someone has access to that, please
let it through, I don't want to spam the list.

Best,

Andy

20 Oct 2008 - 10:11am
Christine Boese
2006

These are excellent points Jon, and many programs sincerely strive to do
this.

But having worked in such programs through bad economic times as well as
good, I have another question to pose to you. What do you do when
administrators REQUIRE numbers, and the quality of your students, for
various reasons, is not that good, and the majority can't survive the rigors
you want to put them through?

There are two sides of this, particularly with grad class recruitment
efforts and admissions. In good economic times, the primo students are being
snagged up straight to industry, so you can end up with weak classes of
students that way.

And in bad economic times, really bad times, beyond when layoffs send folks
to grad or second degree programs, people just don't have the money to spend
on an expensive school (esp if student loan sources are completely drying
up).

There is a sweetspot, I suppose, where bad economic times fill classes with
great students, before they start to cull them due to lack of funds.

But there's an administrative imperative (you must admit a new class of 15
grad students every fall, for instance) that can be quite demoralizing for a
faculty member, I have to say. And then the next thing you know (probably
not at SCAD, but elsewhere), you've got a class of students you have to show
how to open and close multiple windows and save files on a server for
collaborative projects.

It's a dilemma, so if you don't have an answer to my question, join the
club! If you do have an answer, tho, please share! It will make me feel
better.

Chris

On Sun, Oct 19, 2008 at 7:43 PM, Jon [GMAIL] <jkolko at gmail.com> wrote:

> > Date: Sun, 19 Oct 2008 03:20:54
> > From: David Malouf <dave at ixda.org>
> > Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] What to teach interaction design students
> > To: discuss at ixda.org
> > Message-ID: <20081019102056.14953CC752 at otto.dreamhost.com>
> >
> > GREAT thread. Before I go all up and theoretical, I wanted to point
> > people to Jon Kolko's work in this regard. He is my predecessor at
> > SCAD as the Prof of IxD there. He has his course materials and other
> > thoughts on IxD education on his site:
> > http://www.jonkolko.com/education.php
>
> I've been following the thread, and enjoying the discussion. Having placed
> ~99% of my 50 or so interaction design undergraduates in interaction design
> jobs or grad degree programs, it looks like the interaction curriculum I
> developed with Professor Bob Fee works. That said, the reason it worked so
> well is because the students I had were passionate, aggressive, interested,
> and fired up - and the ones who weren't realized quickly that they couldn't
> hack it in courses that were as demanding as industry. And so the best
> suggestion I can give to someone structuring an interaction design program
> [really, any design program at all] is to make it demanding, challenging
> and
> difficult, and do your best to establish a reputation for it and yourself
> as
> being equally as demanding, challenging and difficult. The students learn
> to
> self-select classes based on reputation, and you control quality through
> word of mouth.
>
> After my experience teaching, I'm solidly of the belief that anyone can
> learn any design "skill" - any practical ability and set of methods - but
> not everyone has or can acquire the passion and fire to learn something as
> challenging and as ambiguous as design. A good curriculum and a good
> professor exists, essentially, to feed the fire of passion.
>
>
> -
> Jon Kolko
>
> Co-Editor-In-Chief, interactions
> http://interactions.acm.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

20 Oct 2008 - 11:03am
jkolko
2010

Hi,

I've heard a number of times that some faculty (and program heads) consider
their programs as contracts with the students - that you pay a certain
amount of money, and you get a degree. "Professional" programs are often
framed this way (those that attract more disciplined and often older
students). While I can certainly see the appeal of this (particularly from
an administrator's point of view), if a program is accredited, there needs
to be a sense of rigorous assessment built into the grading schema. A "C"
has always meant "average", and if your students are doing average work,
give them average grades. The flipside of aggressive and difficult grading
is that you need to be prepared to do aggressive and difficult
rationalization, and I know a lot of professors who are turned off by this.
But this seems only fair to me - if you give a harsh grade, you need to
offer both constructive criticism and a thorough substantiation of the
grade. This is no different than a harsh critique - "It sucks" doesn't cut
it in Design, as you have to explain WHY it sucks.

So I guess my answer to your question about administrative imperatives is
that your grading should be in no way connected to or influenced by that
imperative - you can give fair grades and still have 15 students in a class.
And I truly think you owe it to all paying students to give fair grades,
because when someone who gets straight As and naively thinks they can get a
job at a high pressure consultancy has no design skills to speak of, they
get a rude awakening during their interview and they begin to negatively
taint the reputation of the institution. That isn't fair to the company, to
the student, or to the school.

"And it annoys the pig..."

:)

Jon

On Mon, Oct 20, 2008 at 10:11 AM, Christine Boese <christine.boese at gmail.com
> wrote:

> These are excellent points Jon, and many programs sincerely strive to do
> this.
>
> But having worked in such programs through bad economic times as well as
> good, I have another question to pose to you. What do you do when
> administrators REQUIRE numbers, and the quality of your students, for
> various reasons, is not that good, and the majority can't survive the rigors
> you want to put them through?
>
> There are two sides of this, particularly with grad class recruitment
> efforts and admissions. In good economic times, the primo students are being
> snagged up straight to industry, so you can end up with weak classes of
> students that way.
>
> And in bad economic times, really bad times, beyond when layoffs send folks
> to grad or second degree programs, people just don't have the money to spend
> on an expensive school (esp if student loan sources are completely drying
> up).
>
> There is a sweetspot, I suppose, where bad economic times fill classes
> with great students, before they start to cull them due to lack of funds.
>
> But there's an administrative imperative (you must admit a new class of 15
> grad students every fall, for instance) that can be quite demoralizing for a
> faculty member, I have to say. And then the next thing you know (probably
> not at SCAD, but elsewhere), you've got a class of students you have to show
> how to open and close multiple windows and save files on a server for
> collaborative projects.
>
> It's a dilemma, so if you don't have an answer to my question, join the
> club! If you do have an answer, tho, please share! It will make me feel
> better.
>
> Chris
>
>

20 Oct 2008 - 11:20am
Christine Boese
2006

Jon, I agree with you on all points, and basically operated under those
principles.

However, there is a fly in the works with a weak class, one I ran into head
on. #1: You can't give Cs in grad school. Basically, as a student, if you
make more than one C, you're out of the program, or at least on probation
and could lose an assistantship, if you have one. Administrators who need to
keep their program numbers up for funding would FREAK if Cs were showing up
with any frequency.

#2: Grad students know this, and will not risk getting even 1 C. If it even
remotely looks like they are at risk of getting a C or worse, they'll drop
the course, if it isn't a core requirement course. Obviously core
requirement courses are different, and there's other stuff to take special
care with on those.

But, for a case in point, in a technology-intensive, Flash and
RIA-interaction design course I taught which was dual-listed, 400-600 (at
the time, a new course I had proposed and gotten thru curriculum cmte, so
definitely not a core requirement), I had drawn in a number of my
engineering undergrads, some very talented honors kids, to work alongside my
master's students studyingg IA and interaction design. I thought, cool, I
can put them in collaborative groups and they can help each other,
Vygotsky's "zone of proximal development."

The problem? The undergrads ran circles around a very weak class of grad
students (to keep the numbers up, administrators had even admitted folks
UNDER our previous GRE cutoffs) who could barely manage the technology, but
weren't doing well on the design or theoretical issues either. It was a
disaster, and the grad students were crashing under the rigors big time. By
six weeks into the course, all but one of the grad students had dropped.
Meanwhile, the undergrads finished with flying colors, produced an
incredible CD of rich and fantastic projects. But boy was I in the doghouse
with my administrators.

Chris

On Mon, Oct 20, 2008 at 12:03 PM, jon kolko <jkolko at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi,
>
> I've heard a number of times that some faculty (and program heads) consider
> their programs as contracts with the students - that you pay a certain
> amount of money, and you get a degree. "Professional" programs are often
> framed this way (those that attract more disciplined and often older
> students). While I can certainly see the appeal of this (particularly from
> an administrator's point of view), if a program is accredited, there needs
> to be a sense of rigorous assessment built into the grading schema. A "C"
> has always meant "average", and if your students are doing average work,
> give them average grades. The flipside of aggressive and difficult grading
> is that you need to be prepared to do aggressive and difficult
> rationalization, and I know a lot of professors who are turned off by this.
> But this seems only fair to me - if you give a harsh grade, you need to
> offer both constructive criticism and a thorough substantiation of the
> grade. This is no different than a harsh critique - "It sucks" doesn't cut
> it in Design, as you have to explain WHY it sucks.
>
> So I guess my answer to your question about administrative imperatives is
> that your grading should be in no way connected to or influenced by that
> imperative - you can give fair grades and still have 15 students in a class.
> And I truly think you owe it to all paying students to give fair grades,
> because when someone who gets straight As and naively thinks they can get a
> job at a high pressure consultancy has no design skills to speak of, they
> get a rude awakening during their interview and they begin to negatively
> taint the reputation of the institution. That isn't fair to the company, to
> the student, or to the school.
>
> "And it annoys the pig..."
>
> :)
>
> Jon
>
>
> On Mon, Oct 20, 2008 at 10:11 AM, Christine Boese <
> christine.boese at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> These are excellent points Jon, and many programs sincerely strive to do
>> this.
>>
>> But having worked in such programs through bad economic times as well as
>> good, I have another question to pose to you. What do you do when
>> administrators REQUIRE numbers, and the quality of your students, for
>> various reasons, is not that good, and the majority can't survive the rigors
>> you want to put them through?
>>
>> There are two sides of this, particularly with grad class recruitment
>> efforts and admissions. In good economic times, the primo students are being
>> snagged up straight to industry, so you can end up with weak classes of
>> students that way.
>>
>> And in bad economic times, really bad times, beyond when layoffs send
>> folks to grad or second degree programs, people just don't have the money to
>> spend on an expensive school (esp if student loan sources are completely
>> drying up).
>>
>> There is a sweetspot, I suppose, where bad economic times fill classes
>> with great students, before they start to cull them due to lack of funds.
>>
>> But there's an administrative imperative (you must admit a new class of 15
>> grad students every fall, for instance) that can be quite demoralizing for a
>> faculty member, I have to say. And then the next thing you know (probably
>> not at SCAD, but elsewhere), you've got a class of students you have to show
>> how to open and close multiple windows and save files on a server for
>> collaborative projects.
>>
>> It's a dilemma, so if you don't have an answer to my question, join the
>> club! If you do have an answer, tho, please share! It will make me feel
>> better.
>>
>> Chris
>>
>>
>

20 Oct 2008 - 11:32am
jkolko
2010

Yup, I hear you and agree - but again, I would let the grades be legitimate.
I gave Cs to grad students at midterms when they earned them; many dropped
the class. The system self policies, to some degree. And sure,
administrators freak. That's their job. IMHO, it isn't your job as a
Professor to worry about the immediate repercussions of a poor grade. It's
absolutely your job as a Professor to worry about the long term
repercussions of a poor grade (ie, someone loses a scholarship), but there's
a fine line between "worry about" and "prevent".

Jon

On Mon, Oct 20, 2008 at 11:20 AM, Christine Boese <christine.boese at gmail.com
> wrote:

> Jon, I agree with you on all points, and basically operated under those
> principles.
>
> However, there is a fly in the works with a weak class, one I ran into head
> on. #1: You can't give Cs in grad school. Basically, as a student, if you
> make more than one C, you're out of the program, or at least on probation
> and could lose an assistantship, if you have one. Administrators who need to
> keep their program numbers up for funding would FREAK if Cs were showing up
> with any frequency.
>
> #2: Grad students know this, and will not risk getting even 1 C. If it even
> remotely looks like they are at risk of getting a C or worse, they'll drop
> the course, if it isn't a core requirement course. Obviously core
> requirement courses are different, and there's other stuff to take special
> care with on those.
>
> But, for a case in point, in a technology-intensive, Flash and
> RIA-interaction design course I taught which was dual-listed, 400-600 (at
> the time, a new course I had proposed and gotten thru curriculum cmte, so
> definitely not a core requirement), I had drawn in a number of my
> engineering undergrads, some very talented honors kids, to work alongside my
> master's students studyingg IA and interaction design. I thought, cool, I
> can put them in collaborative groups and they can help each other,
> Vygotsky's "zone of proximal development."
>
> The problem? The undergrads ran circles around a very weak class of grad
> students (to keep the numbers up, administrators had even admitted folks
> UNDER our previous GRE cutoffs) who could barely manage the technology, but
> weren't doing well on the design or theoretical issues either. It was a
> disaster, and the grad students were crashing under the rigors big time. By
> six weeks into the course, all but one of the grad students had dropped.
> Meanwhile, the undergrads finished with flying colors, produced an
> incredible CD of rich and fantastic projects. But boy was I in the doghouse
> with my administrators.
>
> Chris
>
>
> On Mon, Oct 20, 2008 at 12:03 PM, jon kolko <jkolko at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> Hi,
>>
>> I've heard a number of times that some faculty (and program heads)
>> consider their programs as contracts with the students - that you pay a
>> certain amount of money, and you get a degree. "Professional" programs are
>> often framed this way (those that attract more disciplined and often older
>> students). While I can certainly see the appeal of this (particularly from
>> an administrator's point of view), if a program is accredited, there needs
>> to be a sense of rigorous assessment built into the grading schema. A "C"
>> has always meant "average", and if your students are doing average work,
>> give them average grades. The flipside of aggressive and difficult grading
>> is that you need to be prepared to do aggressive and difficult
>> rationalization, and I know a lot of professors who are turned off by this.
>> But this seems only fair to me - if you give a harsh grade, you need to
>> offer both constructive criticism and a thorough substantiation of the
>> grade. This is no different than a harsh critique - "It sucks" doesn't cut
>> it in Design, as you have to explain WHY it sucks.
>>
>> So I guess my answer to your question about administrative imperatives is
>> that your grading should be in no way connected to or influenced by that
>> imperative - you can give fair grades and still have 15 students in a class.
>> And I truly think you owe it to all paying students to give fair grades,
>> because when someone who gets straight As and naively thinks they can get a
>> job at a high pressure consultancy has no design skills to speak of, they
>> get a rude awakening during their interview and they begin to negatively
>> taint the reputation of the institution. That isn't fair to the company, to
>> the student, or to the school.
>>
>> "And it annoys the pig..."
>>
>> :)
>>
>> Jon
>>
>>
>> On Mon, Oct 20, 2008 at 10:11 AM, Christine Boese <
>> christine.boese at gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>>> These are excellent points Jon, and many programs sincerely strive to do
>>> this.
>>>
>>> But having worked in such programs through bad economic times as well as
>>> good, I have another question to pose to you. What do you do when
>>> administrators REQUIRE numbers, and the quality of your students, for
>>> various reasons, is not that good, and the majority can't survive the rigors
>>> you want to put them through?
>>>
>>> There are two sides of this, particularly with grad class recruitment
>>> efforts and admissions. In good economic times, the primo students are being
>>> snagged up straight to industry, so you can end up with weak classes of
>>> students that way.
>>>
>>> And in bad economic times, really bad times, beyond when layoffs send
>>> folks to grad or second degree programs, people just don't have the money to
>>> spend on an expensive school (esp if student loan sources are completely
>>> drying up).
>>>
>>> There is a sweetspot, I suppose, where bad economic times fill classes
>>> with great students, before they start to cull them due to lack of funds.
>>>
>>> But there's an administrative imperative (you must admit a new class of
>>> 15 grad students every fall, for instance) that can be quite demoralizing
>>> for a faculty member, I have to say. And then the next thing you know
>>> (probably not at SCAD, but elsewhere), you've got a class of students you
>>> have to show how to open and close multiple windows and save files on a
>>> server for collaborative projects.
>>>
>>> It's a dilemma, so if you don't have an answer to my question, join the
>>> club! If you do have an answer, tho, please share! It will make me feel
>>> better.
>>>
>>> Chris
>>>
>>>
>>
>

--
-
Jon Kolko

Author, Thoughts on Interaction Design
http://www.thoughtsOnInteraction.com/

Co-Editor-In-Chief, interactions
http://interactions.acm.org/

20 Oct 2008 - 11:39am
Andy Polaine
2008

@Christine and Jon,

I think you are always going to get students that are a mixed bag
unless they're in an entire programme that is very specific, which is
really only the case in a small percentage of institutions. Most
interaction design courses I've ever taught on are part of broader
programmes and sometimes students are there because it's a mandatory
course/module, not because they want to be.

Although I'm slightly wary of pigeon-holing too much, I do feel that
there a number of types of student persona and appropriate responses:

1. Students that are great and want to be there. It's easy to either
fawn over them or, paradoxically, ignore them somewhat because they
don't need so much handholding. I think it is important to give them
attention and push them far, because that enthusiasm and ability
should be nurtured. But they are, by default, often the easiest and
most rewarding to teach.

2. Students that are enthusiastic but not that great. Again, I feel
the enthusiasm is something to nurture. I'm as happy to help someone
move from A to B that is really hard for them as I am for a hot
student to get to Z because its easy for them. Happier actually. I'm
less concerned by innate talent (something I don't subscribe to) than
the willingness to learn and get into it. I think this is what you
were saying, Jon, right?

3. Those that just want to do the stuff, get a pass and move on. Not
a lot of enthusiasm, but they do the stuff averagely and want/need to
pass the course to continue. I find these the biggest challenge to
teach. Sometimes a lot of energy can go into trying to motivate people
who really aren't that bothered, but it's hard to tell if they're not
bothered because they don't get it (and I need to change teaching
strategy) or because they don't care.

4. Students that don't want to be there and aren't interested. I used
to be really worried about them. I used to feel personally wounded
that they didn't like my discipline/course and, maybe, didn't like me.
Then I remembered that there are plenty of subjects I used to dislike
at school but had to do. It's not personal. Obviously you can try and
win them over, but I think you expend an inordinate amount of energy
on those people (because it feels personal) than you do on the first
three categories. Better to spend the time on the people that want it.

Like any design project, though, asking the students what they want
and like and hate and observing their own processes as I would any
client brief is crucial to working out where the problems lies (you,
them, the structure of the course/programme/institution or all of the
above).

p.s. Not interaction design related as such, but the best book I've
ever read about teaching is Stephen D. Brookfield's The Skillful
Teacher. It not only deals with the pedagogy, but also the emotional
and institutional experience of being a teacher.

Best,

Andy

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Andy Polaine

Research | Writing | Strategy
Interaction Concept Design
Education Futures

http://playpen.polaine.com
http://www.designersreviewofbooks.com
http://www.omnium.net.au
http://www.antirom.com
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

20 Oct 2008 - 11:48am
Andy Polaine
2008

> This is no different than a harsh critique - "It sucks" doesn't cut
> it in Design, as you have to explain WHY it sucks.

Absolutely. It's the same reason why students can't simply say "I did
it that way because it looks cool". The process has to work both ways.

> And I truly think you owe it to all paying students to give fair
> grades,
> because when someone who gets straight As and naively thinks they
> can get a
> job at a high pressure consultancy has no design skills to speak of,
> they
> get a rude awakening during their interview and they begin to
> negatively
> taint the reputation of the institution. That isn't fair to the
> company, to
> the student, or to the school.

Totally agree here too. I've taught in an art and design school and a
lot of the students who came up through the art stream argued the old
"but it's all subjective" point when getting bad or average grades for
work that is clearly awful. It is subjective, but so is any other
judgement. You are, as a teacher, chosen to be a judge based on your
ability (hopefully) and knowledge. So it's not a subjective judgement
based out of ignorance and that makes all the difference because, as
Jon said above, those in the industry judging their work won't be
bound by any rationale not to judge that work as they see fit and give/
not give that person the job.

Best,

Andy

20 Oct 2008 - 1:47pm
Jef Lippiatt
2008

I am offering my 2cents on this topic from the other perspective. I am
a former hopefully successful student of Jon Kolko's. I am currently
working in UED/UX for an insurance company.

The program was fairly new at SCAD during my time there. But Jon
definitely helped grow the program. A handful of us also tried to
pass along the importance of this program to other students.

I believe Jon made sure we were challenged and working hard. I
believe he graded hard but fairly. As a few times struggled myself,
but looked for ways to do my best and improve. There were students
that did not adapt to the program as well as others.

I believe we had plenty of beneficial discussions and round table
question and answer sessions. I thought the program was structured
well (even as a student who took a few classes out of their proper
sequence).
I think the bottom line is that if you work hard and are passionate
about the subject it is easier to improve the subtle details. The
students who understood that, I believe are doing well.

There were some disagreements, between students and between students
and Jon, myself included. But from the overall perspective, I learned
a lot from the program. I also have much of that because Jon took the
time to address individual concerns and help us succeed as long as we
were putting in the effort. For that I thank him graciously.

With that said, I think it mainly has to do with classes that hinge
on real world application, professors that don't mind giving some
individual attention, student work ethic and excitement to some
extent.

Again, I owe many thanks to Jon Kolko. His book Thoughts on
Interaction Design is a great resource to share with those less
familiar with Interaction Design.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34437

26 Oct 2008 - 1:03pm
Ali Naqvi
2008

Hello,
-target group analysis, where you focus on qualitative research
methods. Focus group interviews etc.
-introduction to Interaction Design and ethnography. (field
observation, empatic design, service design etc)
-Concept development
-Usability and User Interface Design
-Cultural differences and how the right communication might prevent
misunderstanding from occuring.

Hope I could help >)

Ali

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34437

27 Oct 2008 - 1:01pm
Anonymous

Not sure how this would shake out in terms of actual classes but from
the student perspective, I would say that the highest priorities
while in school are: learn fundamentals that will be useful
regardless of how you choose to specialize (25%), expand your mind by
learning about the obscurities of the field and trying different
things/theory(10%), learn marketable skills that will get you a job
as soon as you walk out the door (60%). Community building is nice to
have (5%), but it doesn%u2019t help you pay off your student loans
(except when your alumni network helps you get a job!) For newbies,
it seems like the best guide on what-do-I-need-to-know-to-get-a-job
are actual job descriptions since they list specific skills.
Unfortunately, they tend to ask for everything under the sun.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34437

Syndicate content Get the feed