Spring Classes, 2008

by New Idiom


photos by Jordan Fischer

Before last Monday, I’d never seen the entire faculty in one place at one time. As usual, the topics of many recurring classes change from year to year, and there are also a lot of new classes which are, themselves, being prototyped. And so every semester, the faculty hosts this forum to tell us what’s new.

I came in a little skeptical, never having gone to one of these before, but it was very helpful for learning about the topics being covered in each class. Plus, it’s always fun to grill them when you feel they haven’t told you enough. It turns out that many of the topics are quite interesting. Personally, I need very few credits to graduate this May, and yet I was tempted to consider taking some of the new topics. I had to remind myself that it’s important to remember to take fewer classes.


Most of the courses now have descriptions up on SeeID, but we recorded the overview discussion so you can get a little more context if you want. Since some of the information can’t really be shared publicly, we’ve uploaded the video to the ID Wiki (accessible through SeeID, the “Course Overview Video” link). It’s a hefty 279mb file, so it’s easier to just download the whole thing (right-click and “Save link as …”) and skip to the segments on classes you want to learn more about.

Below are the timestamps:

Economics of Product Development, 26:38
Interaction Design Methods, 34:22
Design Languages, 54:42

Design Workshops:
Healthcare Research, 42:22
Prototyping Methods, 27:55, 33:31
Robotic Systems and Business Models, 40:26

Communication Workshops:
Visualizing Information, 53:32
Communities of Practice, 52:40

Product Workshops:
Interactive Systems, 36:43
Social Networking for Economic Development, 30:11

Planning Workshops:
Strategic Opportunities, 47:22
City Social Services, 06:18

Special Problems:
Re-Imagining Healthcare, 59:58
Applied Research, 11:45
Social Entrepreneurship, 13:33

Strategic Design Research:
Public School Systems, 14:57
Emerging Markets, 19:34
User Insight Tool, 22:46
Electronic Learning Record, 51:20

If you’re like me, you still signed up for more classes than you plan to take, test-driving them the first week and then dropping one or two later. This, of course, blocks others from signing up. But it also means that before February 5th, there’s a chance that closed class you really want will open up when someone else drops it. (Sometimes it pays to diligently camp in front of Web for Students.)


It’s true, sometimes it seems like it’s too hard to choose, but the forethought is worth it. If you need more encouragement on choosing a reasonable schedule, you can jump to 55:44 and listen to the John Grimes decry the “Crime of Optimism.”

Welcome to a great spring semester, and let’s have some fun!