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During the course you will work in groups to address a problem of educational practice with design thinking – FOR EXAMPLE, you can design an application, an informal learning space, an informal learning activity, a curriculum for secondary schools in a subject area, a parent communication strategy, a teacher training, an educational game – and many other things.


Stage 1: Emphasize (Session 2) – frame the problem

Design thinkers start with a need: After you pick a problem space you want to work on, you spend time to carefully frame your problem from the perspectives of stakeholders. Tools we use in class are personas and customer journeys. Additional project work / research beyond the classroom for the groups: Gather additional data on your stakeholders (interview?, demographic data?, reports?)

Stage 2: Ideate (Session 3-4-5) – get inspired and develop divergent ideas

While it is important to start with a need, design thinking also thrives by incorporating many different perspectives and divergent information.

  • How can Open Educational Resources help you address your problem? (Session 3)
  • How can you use innovative pedagogies to address your problem? (Session 4)
  • How does the learning space influence your problem (Session 5)
  • Brainstorming Techniques (Session 5)

Project work / research beyond the classroom: Document your group work and your outcomes for each session.

Stage 3: Prototype (prior to session 6) – prototype your selected idea

Prior to session 6: Create a presentation of your personas, customer journeys, any additional stakeholder data you gathered, related OER materials, innovative teaching concept, innovative room concept, brainstorming results (all ideas), and selected idea(s). Add additional sketches or digital material as you see fit.

Stage 4: Test (Session 6, after session 6) – test your idea

Most of session 6 will be spend on group presentations and feedback. You can use your classmates to test your ideas and get feedback. If you can get additional feedback on your idea from stakeholders, please use the opportunity. This can be with just one or two people. Remember what we heard from Christian Kohls about evaluating ideas. It is much harder to give negative feedback than positive feedback, so appreciate the effort of productive criticism.

Stage 5: Iterate (before / after Session 7)

In session 7 the groups will have time to reflect on the feedback and iterate. The final group project submission should document both the initial idea / prototype, and the ideas for improvement.

Before session 7, review the feedback your group received. Prepare to answer the following questions:

  • What small change in your design can make big difference?
  • What is the biggest strength of your design?
  • Starting over, what would you do differently?