How design teachers approach design in the classroom



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We’re so proud to say that design schools around the world use InVision in their classrooms to teach students not only how to design, but how to communicate and work with a team.

Since the fall semester just came to a close, we caught up with some of our favorite professors and lecturers and asked them to share their thoughts on how they approach design in the classroom. And above each quote, you’ll find an image of one of their favorite student projects from the semester.

Good design creatively solves a problem that exists for a user. Great design solves a problem that a user didn’t even know existed.

—Allen Atha, Professor
Art Institute of California
Student project by Ashton Hayes

Our goal when working with students is to extend our passion for teaching design as a process. We work hard to stress the principles of experience design rather than the design of individual artifacts.

—Alison Popp, Professor
Ferris State University
Student project by Derek Brouwer

With every project, I ask my students to consider the goals they want to accomplish—for themselves, their idea, and the intended audience. This leads to focused critiques, a stronger understanding of interactions, and better projects.

—Ben Kutil, Professor
Maryland Institute College of Art
Student project by Shonali Ahooja

Design thinking spans multiple formats and contexts. The process of creating a good interaction is just as important as the visual design stage. In each step my students took this semester, they created ideation to help support the next step in the process. It’s not always what we see on the surface that matters the most—it’s the functionality that connects with the user that really counts.

—James Pannafino, Professor
Millersville University
Student project by Megan Jones and James Nguyen

Good design requires no explanation. Excellent user experience requires no manual.

—J. Blake Johnson, Professor
Saginaw Valley State University
Student project by Chris Clark

a-University-of-the-Arts-Michael-Estok-Joanna-Harasewych a-University-of-the-Arts-Michael-Estok-Stacy-Pezzola
Design is learning to speak in your customers’ language. Through testing we learn their many dialects. The more we learn, the better our products do their job.

—Michael Estok, Professor
University of the Arts
Student project by Joanna Harasewych (top) and Stacy Pezzola (bottom)

a-University-of-Trento-Silvia-Gabrielli-2 a-University-of-Trento-Silvia-Gabrielli-3
Teaching and applying design thinking in our coursework is led by the idea that good design is key in realizing more effective solutions that improve quality of life in our communities.

—Silvia Gabrielli, Professor
University of Trento
Student project (top) by Giorgia Malavasi, Matteo Avventi, Nicola De Bortoli, and Nahuèl Castellani
Student project (bottom) by Nancy Parisi, Giulia Dellagiacoma, Veronica Vecchietti, and Ylenia Giordani

Design is the intermediary between information and understanding. This is why it’s necessary to really understand user needs before embarking on any costly implementations.

—Rima Gerhard, Professor
Miami International University
Student project by Svetlana Pantepajeva

Are you a teacher who uses InVision in the classroom? Tell us about it: @InVisionApp.


Nadav Reis
As InVision’s Campus Initiative Coordinator, I work with brilliantly talented students and educators. I love coffee, learning, and my family, not necessarily in that order. Trying to make the world a better place one designer at a time.

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