My latest project has been designing the experience of teaching experience design.   

The opportunity presented itself and when I learned my co-instructor (friend, person I admire and all around amazing person) Christina Wodke  was involved, I knew it was the real deal.
I was a skeptic at first; The task of taking 20 people who come from different backgrounds and turn them into something resembling a UXD seemed preposterous to me, the traditionally trained graphic designer, academic, HCI part of me slightly ruffled at the thought.
But,  I love a challenge and I love it when I get to prove my own inner skeptic wrong.

So, I left my job for this unique opportunity, decided to see what happened and co taught the pilot course.

 

It is, to my knowledge, the first ever short course of it’s kind.  It is an 8 week, in the classroom program with a 3 month apprenticeship program following the course.

We take students through a crash course hurtling through 4 projects of varying degree of complexity and difficulty and they emerge at the end of this experience ready to start an apprenticeship as a UX designer.  The class is challenging, somewhat ambiguous, involves teamwork,  collaboration, self reliance, can be occasionally frustrating, deceptively simple and I think is one of the most accurate representations of preparing students to thrive in a real-world design situations.

The students learn how to:

  • effectively do guerrilla research
  • understand a business strategy (and create one when none exists)
  • learn about interaction design (particularly for mobile devices)
  • understand the nuances of service design
  • get their hands dirty in prototyping
  • get over their shyness quickly by learning to talk to users
  • get to love doing participatory  design research
  • learn how to make deliverables that really matter,
  • get comfortable with presenting and defending their ideas
  • learn the language of communicating an idea to different teams, stakeholders
  • work with others and respect their team mates and work toward a shared vision
  • understand the methods and process of design by living and breathing it 8 hours a day

and  most importantly, they are given the keys to be self sufficient – to gain the wisdom of knowing what to do and how to approach most any challenge thrown at them and thrive. Not of the students will make it.  Life has no guarantees, but the tools, the support and the basics are there. And I hope, it is the launching pad to an entirely new chapter in someone’s life.

I love a challenge and I never thought I would love teaching as much I have. I know beyond a shadow of any doubt that knowing you were a part of changing someone else’s life feels better than any other career accolade one can receive.

Some of the students work from the Fall course:
http://uxdifall2013.tumblr.com/

And current course:
http://uxdiwinter2013.tumblr.com/