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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Arts and Architecture (A&A)

A&A 121 (GA) Design Thinking and Creativity (3) An introductory and multidisciplinary exploration of the theory, process, methods, and artifacts of design, achieved through an examination of ideas, examples, and applications.

A&A 121 Design Thinking & Creativity (3)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

This course is an introductory, general education level course based on the premise that design is a fundamental human activity that everyone engages in one way or another. Design encompasses both the ability to imagine that which does not yet exist and to make it appear in concrete form. Design is a form of deliberate, considered action that seeks solutions to problems and creates useful and purposeful artifacts. Design is simultaneously used as a noun and a verb, and to describe a discipline and many fields of practice. Yet design remains essentially a black box to most people – its methods, processes, and components are mysterious, magical, and opaque. This course will turn the “black box” of design into a glass box.
The course focuses on the relationship between ideas, tools, and artifacts in order to connect theory, practice, and outcomes. Using theory, practice, and artifacts from a range of design fields (including architecture, landscape architecture, product design, engineering, graphic design, environmental design, and design theory itself), the course will empower students to understand design from the perspective most useful to them and their work - ideas, application, and the things they encounter in the world. The course focuses on the kinds of problems, situations, and processes of thinking that are critical for designers, business professionals, engineers, humanists, social scientists and natural scientists.
The course is divided into eight distinct units, allowing a thematic and comparative analysis of a breadth of design topics: What is Design?; Design Artifacts; Design Problems; Creativity; Design Thinking; Models of the Design Process; Design Action; and, Design Tools and Methods.
By the end of the course, students will be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to understand and analyze the role of design in the world and to take action themselves, including:
• the breadth of design in the world
• the power and responsibility of design
• a range of design artifacts
• how designers think and work
• what creativity is and what it entails
• understandings of design, design thinking, and creativity across a breadth of disciplines
• the parts of design problems
• how the design process can be described
• strategies and methods applicable to the stages of the design process
There are no prerequisites for this course. The course will serve as an introduction to fundamental ideas of design and complement design-focused courses in other departments/programs across the university. The course satisfies general education requirements for Arts (GA) requirements.

General Education: GA
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: Arts
Effective: Summer 2015

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

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