• Project: Interaction
and foster new risk taking to keep
pushing the spiral forward. In
Project: Interaction, learning is
compounded over time. As students continue through this cycle,
we see an increase in complex
thought as it relates to design.
We feel fortunate to be able to
share one afternoon a week with
high school students. They are passionate, ambitious, and creative in
completely unexpected ways.
More important, we learned how
challenging it is to develop an educational philosophy and communicate our knowledge to a group of
young people. We have the utmost
respect for teachers who dedicate
themselves to this work every day.
As we studied other teachers and
our own behavior in the classroom,
we realized that there are important similarities between teaching
and designing. Both require smart
planning, clear communication,
and a complete understanding of
the users involved.
We look forward to working
closely with high school teachers in future iterations of Project:
Interaction. The bridge between
standard curriculum and a complementary design class is essential.
We hope our success in teaching
interaction design can find its way
into any classroom.
1. Dubberly, H. and Evenson, S. The experience
cycle. interactions 15, 3 (May + June 2008), ACM,
N Y, 11-15.
March + April 2012
Overall they wanted more prototyping and sketching experiences.
We have used this in-class survey
tactic in subsequent classes and
found it to be an engaging substitute for a traditional survey.
We also collected feedback in
a formal, written response. We
asked each student to anonymously submit her favorite part of
class. Again, we received quality,
candid answers about the class.
Many students felt strongly about
the ability to create new ideas in
a risk-free environment, and each
student confirmed how much they
loved sketching and communicating ideas.
Our students’ qualitative feedback will have a strong impact
on the design of our future programs. One of the greatest indicators of our successful approach
was quantitative: Every week we
had a consistent number of students attend our class, a trend
that stands out compared with
most programs at our school that
lose attendance as the semester
progresses. As teachers, we were
delighted to see students bringing their friends to our class, a
peer-driven action we believe validates our classroom approach.
We didn’t think it was necessary
to give tests or grade projects, but
we wanted to solicit feedback from
our students so we could improve
the next iteration of Project:
We collected data in an in-class
survey and asked each student
to fill one Post-it note for each
of four headings: “Liked,” “Didn’t
like,” “I learned...” and “I want
more of.” We reduced the barrier to entry to communicating
their thoughts and made it easy
for them to give open, honest
feedback. In return, we received
a good variety of responses.
Our students loved the active
elements of our class, such as sharing ideas, taking field trips, and
hearing from guest speakers. They
disliked passive, rote tasks, such
as filling in worksheets and focusing on subject matter they were
not interested in. (And we agreed!)
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Carmen Dukes works as Director
of Digital Features at NFL.com.
She holds an M. F. A. in interaction
design from the School of Visual
Arts and a B. A. in film and media
arts from Temple University.
During her time at SVA, she cofounded Project:
Interaction with Katie Koch.
Katie Koch leads the user experience team at Coursekit, a New
York City start-up that is creating
a new social platform for learning.
She’s one of the inaugural graduates of the MFA in Interaction
Design program at the School of
Visual Arts, cofounder of Project: Interaction, and
an adjunct faculty member in the undergraduate
Design and Technology department at Parsons.
© 2012 ACM 1072-5220/12/03 $10.00