Teaching Design

I am due to start teaching a short product design course at some point and I am preparing the materials. It will be my first time so I am a bit nervous about it.
It would be great to hear any input for newbies regarding the preparation of a short course, pointers on how to be a good tutor, and any ideas to put together short design tasks. It will be a postgrad course for 25-30 year olds possibly with experience in design but not in ID.

How much time do you have with them and what is the purpose and scope of the course? Is it hard skills or understanding designed products?

Your student’s age demo is a key lecture/seminar ingredient. This is what I would advise…

25-30 yos are ready to hit the ground running and have put behind them all of the teenage immaturities. If it is a short course as you say, they need to know what the market was 5 years ago, today and where the market for design will be going in the next 5 years based on evidence. ( you have some homework to do here).

What they learn in your course should allow them to interact with other professionals on a day to day basis. (i.e.strategy planning, trends, global issues, design management, Design Thinking and big picture issues).

I find it useful to split the course in half and teach module one to introduce material that then build upon it in the second half of the course. This illustrates to students how to apply design in a problem identification/solving environment.

Very important to set expectations on the first day. Tell them what they will be learning each class and what the outcome will be at the end of the course.

If this kind of information piques their interest further after the course, then they can choose to go deeper into other more traditional classes that teach more ‘hands on’ skills, history of design and contemporary design process methods.

Good luck…

P.S. - If you can design a social media component that allows information to be shared outside of class then you will capture more of their interest and attention.

One month, four classes of 30 to 60 min each. The purpose is to give an overview of the design process, including all steps although my module relates to concept design, idea generation, form finding, I.E after briefing but before CAD. I woud like the module to be quite hands on, task based.
I’d say it’s more understanding designed products, generating ideas and assessing their merits.

Thanks, much food for thought there…I wonder what could be a good short task/brief to foster specifically problem identification?

That is a good scope for organizing the course like a sprint session, where first you introduce some global themes and statistics to gain awareness, have people explore several ideas and directions, in the second week develop a concept further, in the third have them complete a prototype and for the last week have them evaluate the concept with a selection of people representative of the prospective customers. People will get an understanding of the design process, how to run it rapidly and towards a realistic product proposal.

For example, have people perform a few tasks involving products. For example, digital cameras. Task analysis can then be used for further analysing of the problem, and the general issues can be noted down on post-its and grouped - that is called affinity diagramming.

Thanks Ralph, task analysis and affinity diagramming are good skills to think of the early stages and practice in solving problems.