An integral component of your design work (exercises, assignments, solution, projects) in this course is your process. Of course, the real value and intended learning goals are for you to develop a facility with a set of prototyping techniques, and to apply them appropriately. To foster that goal, a number of process-oriented assignments are part of this course.
- P1: Process Blog
- P2: Studio Exhibit
- P3: Portfolio Materials
- P4: Final Reflection
- P5: General Participation
Your process blog serves as a weekly journal of work in this course. It should contain not only reporting on and evidence of your work, but reflection on the work to help you place it in context of the field.
Create a blog-oriented website as a place online to record your process documentation. You can get a free WordPress site at wordpress.com, or use another service, or make your own if you prefer and have the interest/skills. The only requirement is that you be able to create chronological entries of text and media. Submit the URL where you are running your blog.
Each week, you should post at least two entries to the process blog. One is about the in-class exercise that week, and the other should be after you finish the assignment related to that week’s topic. The exercise post should be done relatively soon after the exercise, ideally within a few days. The post related to the longer assignment can be done after presenting the results the following week, so that it can incorporate feedback from in-class critique of the finished assignment.
The format for these posts is up to you, but here are some guidelines for what to include and discuss:
- What did you actually do or design? Summarize the exercise or project.
- Talk about what you learned, what was surprising, challenging, and successful about this particular technique and project.
- How do you see this fitting in to your personal toolkit? What are some pros and cons of the technique? For what kinds of applications would this technique be appropriate?
- What did it help you understand or learn about your design and design process in general?
- Include lots of artifacts, too!
The writing does not have to be formal, but it should be clear and communicative.
During the last class session, we will have an Open Studio exhibit — a showcase of all of your prototype projects from this quarter. We’ll invite colleagues, friends of the program, and other interested parties to visit and see your work, talk to you about the projects, and generally share in the fun.
For this assignment, you should bring in all of your projects, have them on display in the studio, and be prepared to talk about them with visitors.
The final assignment in the course provides you with an opportunity to look back on the work you have done, think about what you have learned, evaluate your own learning, and consider how your experience relates to the broader domain of design and practice.
Reflecting on your projects, tools, methods, and processes that you explored in this course, prepare a report in which you summarize your experience in this course. You should pay particular attention to your own thinking about the work on the project, especially how it changed during the quarter as you experienced the various prototyping processes.
You should address the following issues in your reflection:
- Learning: Summarize the challenges and opportunities in the field that this experience has made you aware of and/or interested in pursuing beyond this class. Discuss what surprised and disappointed you about what you experienced, compared to your expectations at the outset. Comment also on the value to you of the various activities you participated in (discussions, lectures, exercises, projects, critiques, etc.).
- Accomplishment: Evaluate the overall success of your work, especially the final project — what do you think were its strong and weak points? Why? How well do you think you navigated the process? What would you do differently if you started another prototyping project? What could have made the project better? Could it have a future beyond the class?
- Contribution: Discuss your specific contributions to any group efforts and the course in general. What challenges and obstacles did you face working in any team efforts? What was beneficial to your learning about this process?
This reflection should be a well thought out and professionally written and presented document. It should be approximately 500 words in length.
If you would like to exercise some creativity in the format, however, you are welcome and encouraged to do so. A written report is not the only effective way to communicate this information. I’ll be happy to read an epic poem, listen to a creative rap, watch a video, look at an animation, or consume almost any media, as long as you communicate the required information above. (You could also create a hybrid reflection by discussing some of the points in text and others in a media-rich presentation.) The Resources page of this site has some examples of alternative reflections that students in my classes have created in the past.
Your grade for this assignment will be based on how effectively, thoughtfully and creatively you complete the reflection.
Although attendance, per se, is not graded, active participation and engagement with your peers is an important aspect of your learning. Your participation grade is based on your contributions to group efforts, as reflected in your general engagement in the course, your collaborative spirit in the studio, and your sharing of your knowledge with your peers.