Embedding a Design Studio Course in a Conventional Computer Science Program
Within undergraduate Computer Science, Human Computer Interaction is often considered a blend of user-centered requirements analysis, design, implementation and evaluation. While most are teachable within the constraints of a conventional undergraduate lecture course, design is much more difficult to pass on. We know that design-oriented programs (e.g., arts, industrial design, and architecture) teach design practice as arising from the culture of a design studio. The problem is: how can we pass on the best practices of design studios within traditional programs that follow a standard lecture/tutorial format? My solution was to create a design studio atmosphere within a lecture/tutorial time-frame. Over the semester, students are introduced to four quite different state-of-the-art interaction domains, each chosen to minimize students pre-conceived notions of what comprises a standard design within these domains. They are given substantial freedom to design projects within these domains. They are required to sketch out their ideas and publicly show these sketches to other classmates for critique. Idea exchange is encouraged, where classmates can use parts of each other s ideas in their own work (conventional courses call this cheating ). Many lectures are replaced by studio work where students develop their designs during class time. Thus students and instructors see each other s work as it is being develop, they share tricks and techniques, and they engage in on-going commentaries. Students demonstrate final projects publicly within a design critique setting. Finally, every student has to create learning and professional portfolios illustrating their work using a mix of paper and electronic mediums.