These courses were developed and taught by me between 2007 and 2017 for the School of Design and Department of Information Systems at Carnegie Mellon University. Each one is founded on the idea of design as mediator between people, products, information, and environments. From this perspective, students addressed wicked problems from early on, employing research methods to inform designs and frame complexity. Each course broke out of traditional design disciplines which allowed the work to take a wide range of forms, from physical spaces to conversational interfaces, social impact programs to service experiences. Each course incorporated a range of intellectual models of design, research methods, and real-world application.

Course concepts are free to be adopted under Creative Commons license BY NC 2.0. Using any of this material in your courses? Please send me a quick note and say where you’re from! I like to know where my work ends up.

Design and the Human Experience

A seminar course that examines the nature of the designed world, how it’s built, how to analyze it, and the values that shape it. Surveying design across its many forms, this reading- and writing-intensive course develops critical thinking on how we design information, products, technology, architecture, services, public policy, as well as inquiry into emergent human ecologies and whole earth systems. This course begins 1.76 million years in the past with the Acheulean hand axe and ends 10,000 years in the future with the Sandia WIPP Report.

Design Studio 1: Design for Interaction

Introductory course in interaction design, user experience, and the process of designing for people and technologies. Introduces students to basic human-centered design research and concept development in the development of digital, service, and user experiences. Students also develop component skills in simple user interface design. Coursework promotes design thinking and practice for application in tech fields.

Design Studio 2: Shaping Data & Information

Introductory course in communication design, visual hierarchy and organization, the development of messaging and production. Students develop skills in the organization and visualization of qualitative and quantitative data, and the structure of information for strategic purposes. Projects hone component skills in production and presentation for screen using data visualization, screen layout, color strategy, and typography.

Design for Service

Design for Service introduces design research methods, the creation of services with a human-centered focus, and how a designer can scaffold meaningful and efficient experiences within broader systems. This course brings an added emphasis to the role of technology products in services including ambient devices, mobile applications, wearables, embedded technologies, or connected devices along user pathways. Design teams work directly with clients who have included mathaf: arab museum of modern art, the Embassy of India in Qatar, and the Embassy of Japan in Qatar.

Design for Behavioral Change

Our behaviors are influenced in large part by the built world around us. Information, devices, physical environments and architectures all contribute to our decisions from what we consume to how we participate as citizens. Designers and technologists have a more direct hand in how our world takes shape and subsequently on people’s actions. In this studio, students employ a variety of human-centered design methods to shape to information, products, interactions, and environments, then test and iterate those ideas in a variety of contexts. Students practice a few of the ways designers act as agents of positive change for individuals, communities, and the environment.


01. Introduction

Design for Organizational Change

Developed for organizational leaders who deal with intractable problems and with authority to drive change, this eight hour course helps participants frame and define organizational challenges, then advance solutions through practical frameworks. Participants are trained in thinking tools and visualization methods that can be used to shape innovative organizational strategy. From framing organizations as a complex, interconnected systems, participants then transfer this new knowledge to a vision of the future, clarifying high-level organizational values and designing an actionable plan for change. Co-taught with Ludmila Hyman, Ph.D.


Past Courses

Industrial Design Fundamentals
Communication Design Fundamentals
Design for People & Planet
Design Thinking for Business
Information Design
Interaction Design & Technology
HCI Interaction Studio