Design Thinking (Level 1)

What is Design Thinking?

Design thinking involves the critical analysis and design of systems and artefacts that use digital technologies to mediate the relationship between people and their environment. As designers, we can evoke positive and engaging experiences by gaining a deeper understanding of people’s needs and expectations in different contexts and by giving due consideration to these in designing the system or product. As a discipline, it draws on many different areas of practice and theory including sociology, graphic design, music, architecture, computer science, engineering and politics.

What will you be learning?

This single semester module consists of a series of lectures, seminars and workshops which will introduce students to important design thinking principles and methods. They will synthesize these methods and principles through the study of historical and contemporary sources. You will gain a comprehensive overview of key themes, debates and theories in the history of the design of interactive technologies. This module will examine significant contextual issues within current design thinking practice and provide a historical framework within which to evaluate these issues. Through an exploration of case studies, technological artefacts and ideas, you will gain an appreciation for persistent themes within interaction design and synthesise these within the context of design as a practice and method of enquiry in the development of user-centred technologies. The lecture series will be augmented by visits to appropriate exhibitions and guest workshops by industry and academic experts.

Teaching Structure

This module will consist of a series of lectures and seminar sessions augmented with guest workshop sessions by industry and academic experts. Students will produce research journals in the form of online blogs and will present and write a case study on an interaction design methodology from a prescribed list set by the module leader.

Weekly contact time will consist of a 1-hour lecture session and a 2-hour seminar. The lecture will introduce the students to an area of design thinking theory and practice. An industry expert will be asked to run at least one 3-hour workshop session during the module.  This will provide an opportunity for students to experience the application of design theories and methods in practical applications. The lecture will provide a historical and socio-cultural context for the week’s topic.

The seminar session will provide an opportunity for students to discuss the week’s reading around the lecture topic with the lecturer and their peers. Reading and research outside of scheduled hours is an essential component to the successful completion of the assigned work. Students will be asked to dedicate at least 3 hours a week to reading. Students will be expected to come prepared for the module sessions with assigned pre-lecture reading/research completed for active participation in subject specific discussions.