General Card #1834
Building Solutions for Real Customers
Students use the design process at a local nonprofit to create value for users
This is a sophomore level course in a sequence of EML core courses offered at Lawrence Technology University. Four sections are taught each semester. Each semester 65-80 students participate in the design studio. In this project based course, students work on teams of 3-4 and work through each step of the design process around a design theme. The current theme is “Accessibility in the Workplace.” Students identify opportunities to solve problems for real customers at a local non-profit. An emphasis is placed on creating solutions based on customers’ needs. Finally, students design, build, and test working prototypes that create value for these customers. This course meets twice a week for 2.5 hours each class period. This class works well for sections of about 20 students each that are able to meet in a dedicated studio that functions as a classroom as well as a maker space. It is important to have tools and resources to allow for multiple levels of prototyping throughout the semester.
In addition to building a prototype, the teams must manage a long term project, account for cost and market implications, and communicate to all stakeholders. Assessments are in the form of written, verbal, and public presentation formats. In the studio based format, the content needed for each stage of the design process is spread progressively through the course and delivered at the appropriate points in the design process when students are ready to apply the concepts.
1. Integrate information from a variety of sources to generate, screen, and select promising design opportunities that will create value for potential customers.
2. Assess and manage risk in design choices to organize, plan, and manage a long term engineering project within a team environment.
3. Explore prior and accepted solutions to identify and communicate the value of a unique design solution in terms of economic, personal, and societal value.
4. Describe the perspective of others in order to translate insight gained from customer feedback into design specifications at multiple stages in the design process.
5. Utilize and persist through a systematic design process in order to bring a unique design solution to fruition.
6. Identify and utilize technical tools and skills needed to test concepts quickly via customer engagement and develop a viable design solution.
7. Assess and manage cost, value, and market implications at all stages of development.
8. Communicate design status and results to all stakeholders in verbal, written, and public presentation formats at appropriate points in the development timeline.
- The opportunity to interact with these customers is critical
- Communication with the customer to obtain feedback at multiple stages in the structured design process is invaluable and takes place at site visits during scheduled class time.
- Have teams present milestones at customer workplace rather than in classroom to communicate their progress and gather feedback from stakeholders and other professionals
- Have an equal distribution between individual assignments and team scores