CPID COURSE DESCRIPTIONS
Graduate Design Seminar I: Design and Human Experience
Through extensive reading, examples, and discussion we explore design in its relationship to human interaction and communication. We consider differing ways of thinking about inter-action and communication and the practical implications of these lines of thought in the design of products. We examine the enduring arts of design and how they relate the conceiving, planning, and making of products to the lives and living of people and their environments. Finally, we conclude by considering design in its ethical relationships to global, cultural, and individual life. Prerequisite: concurrent registration in Graduate Design Studio I or approval
Graduate Design Seminar II: Topics in Communication Design
In this seminar, we will examine communication design from multiple perspectives, including rhetoric, information design, cognitive psychology, philosophy, and design theory. We will read and discuss significant works that have influenced modern communication design, paying close attention to their impact on today’s communication practitioners as well as outstanding opportunities for further research. In addition, we will explore these ideas through small case studies from a variety of contexts—from data visualization to advertising, product brochures, public relations, and political campaigns. Required assignments include a brief weekly response report to the readings, one short paper, and a final research paper about a topic chosen by students based on their professional or research interests. This course is primarily designed for students in the CPID program. It is intended to provide the students with the broad intellectual foundation relevant to their professional field, and to help them prepare for thesis work. Prerequisite: concurrent registration in Graduate Design Studio II or approval of instructor.
Narrative and Argument
This course presents and gives students practice in writing as a form of experiential design. Students learn how texts that present narrative, argument, and information differ in the local design choices writers make as they plan the reader’s experience. Students learn and gain practice in seven “prototypes” of reader experience that are foundational to the spectrum of English written genres, from fiction to non-fiction. The seven prototypes include helping a reader create personal acquaintance from the first person (self-portrait) or third person (observer portrait) point of view; helping a reader become acquainted with a present space (scenic writing) or time-bound spaces from the past (narrative history); guiding the reader’s learning (information), manual problem-solving (instruction) and decision-making (argument). Students learn to think systematically about the writing craft and concrete techniques to improve their own craft.
Graduate Design Studio I: Visualizing Complex Information
This course explores visualizing the content and structure of complex data. The effective integration of words, images, sound and motion at the service of communicating complex information is the core of this semester’s work. Understanding the differences between static paper-based methods and dynamic digitally-based methods will inform our discussions and critiques. Theories of communication, learning, and human-centered design and evaluation, presented and discussed in the graduate seminar course, will inform the design process as students work independently and collaboratively on projects. Prerequisite: concurrent registration in Graduate Design Seminar I or approval of instructor.
Graduate Design Studio II: Graduate Design Project
An extension of Graduate Design Studio I, with an emphasis on applying the principles of Studio I and Seminar I to a semester-long team project. The focus is on research, strategic thinking and design process which leads to planning and development of communications systems or services. This is an externally-sponsored project that involves teamwork, collaboration, and client interaction—critical skills for any designer. Past clients have included Motorola, Microsoft, and the Carnegie Museum of Art. Prerequisite: concurrent registration in Graduate Design Seminar II or approval of instructor.
This course introduces graduate students in the Master of Design programs to a range of prototyping methods—from paper to interactive prototypes. The course provides students with the concepts and vocabulary, as well as the practical skills of prototyping through a series of hands-on exercises. Prototyping interactive user interfaces with Flash/Action Script, prototyping use-case scenarios with video sketches, and prototyping web-based applications with Web 2.0 technologies will be the primary focus of the course. Students are expected to develop the foundational prototyping skills that are necessary to create effective design prototypes in their future classes as well as their professional work. Prerequisite: concurrent registration in Graduate Design Seminar I or approval of instructor.
This seminar exposes students to the emergent issues in the research and practice of Design through weekly discussions with individual faculty members. The seminar also serves as a broad overview of research topics students may pursue in their second year thesis project. Restricted to first semester students in the Master of Design programs.
Research Methods: Human-Centered Design
This course will present an opportunity to examine and discover research methods currently employed by the design professions, and to understand the conceptual foundation of research methodology. Methods may include basic statistics, scales and measures, archival research, surveys, questionnaires and interviews, observational methods and ethnographic studies, contextual inquiry and usability testing, participatory techniques and workshops, and the role of visual description within the design research process as expressed and analyzed through drawing, collage, modeling, photography, and diagramming. The course will equip students with the necessary tools to determine appropriate methods for specific design research needs, how to find supporting resources, and the ability to critically evaluate existing research. Prerequisite: concurrent registration in Graduate Design Studio II or approval of instructor.
Participation in this course is limited to students in the Master of Design in Interaction Design and Master of Design in Communication Planning and Information Design Programs who are scheduled to start their Thesis Project the following semester. Throughout this semester course, students prepare their proposal for their Masters Thesis project. Students are expected to select their thesis topic and identify and engage a thesis advisor who agrees to advise their project during the subsequent semesters. Students must submit a completed Thesis Project Proposal signed by their advisor in order to pass this course. This course is a pre-requisite to Thesis I.
Thesis I & II
At the close of the first year, each student proposes a thesis project to be carried out in the second year. Projects may be individual or collaborative. Students also identify faculty members to serve as thesis advisors, monitoring progress on the project throughout the year. Over the second academic year, students carry out the reading, analysis, exploration, and networking required to plan, research, and deliver a thesis project. Students present their projects for public review and critique in the middle and at the end of the academic year. Prerequisite: advanced standing in the graduate program.
Elective courses enable students to pursue their specific interests in shaping their educational experience at Carnegie Mellon, as well as overcome deficiencies in their design or writing preparation. With faculty advice, these courses may be selected from Design, English, and other departments throughout the university. For example, students may wish to take a course in Organizational Behavior from the Tepper School, a course in Time, Motion, and Communication from the School of Design, or a course in Technology in American Society from the History Department.