Building and Understanding Context

This course will improve critical thinking skills when wrestling with the wide variety of input and insight that often accompanies design initiatives.

Understanding the context of a particular design challenge is critical to ensuring an insightful and reliable solution. Most design challenges today require an astute understanding of the many dynamics at play to see a path forward. Context in this sense is the surrounding landscape of trends and influences across all aspects of design from brand, form, and interaction to platforms, IP, and underlying business models. The course will include basic overviews of argumentation, secondary research, and group-based discussion methods.

Learning Objectives

  • Provide a forum for students to build a repertoire of approaches to quickly understand the context of any design challenge
  • Hone critical thinking skills to question the validity of reference information and conclusions drawn from them
  • Expose students to contemporary issues in the field of design


Learning Outcomes

  • Students will be able to collect, organize, and interpret secondary information for the purposes of problem orientation
  • Student will be comfortable debating points of view developed as a result of building a context of understanding
Managing Interdisciplinary Teams Design Connoisseurship Engaging Stakeholders in Innovation Special Topics Faculty Research Design Process and Knowledge Making the User Centered Case
Modeling Complexity Theories of Communication Fundamentals of Visual Communication Advanced Diagramming Metaphor and Analogy in Design Diagram Development Communication Strategies Communication Design Workshop
Extensions of Media and Technology Interactive Space Interaction Design for Embedded Systems Interaction Design for Immersive Systems Prototyping Interactions Persuasive Interaction Design History of Interaction Design Interaction Design Methods Digital Development Workshop Interaction Design Workshop
Planning + Strategy
Designing Futures Adaptive Leadership Strategies for Open Innovation Organizational Models for Innovation Social and Economic Context of Design New Venture Design Innovation Methods Planning Implementation Business Models and Value Webs Business Frameworks and Strategy Design Planning Workshop Introduction to Portfolio Planning
Design Development & Implementation Product Architecture and Platforms Form and Materials New Product Definition Product Design Workshop
Systems and Systems Theory in Design Networked Objects Networked Cities Human System Integration Systems Modeling and Prototyping Platform-based Design Strategy Systems Approach to Design Information Structuring and Management Structured Planning Workshop Service Systems Workshop
User Research
Stimulus in Design Research Behavioral Economics Online Research Methods Principles and Methods of User Research Coding and Analysis Co-Design and Participatory Research Methods Survey Methods Cultural Probes Experience Modeling Interview Methods Research Photography Research Planning & Execution