The Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design offers a sophisticated post-experience program in interaction design, attracting students from Denmark and all over the world, as well as consulting with companies and organizations. They have a lot of really interesting projects on their website spanning a range of sixteen courses. It’s well worth a browse!
I was there last week to give a talk called Teaching & Learning Design. I made a pdf of the slides that you can download here if you want. It’s a bird’s-eye view of design, first looking at different types of design and then identifying ways of learning how to practice them, with some examples of my ideas about the best teaching environments. I also talked about the ways in which the contexts that frame our design activities are expanding, drawing on some examples from the current show at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, the National Design Triennial, Why Design Now?
Gillian Crampton Smith
I first met Gillian Crampton Smith in 1989 when she joined the faculty at London’s Royal College of Art to start an interaction design program, for which I became the external assessor and then visiting professor. It was called CRD (Computer Related Design) and was the first graduate program where designers could learn to apply their skills to interactive products and systems.
In 2001 Gillian moved to Ivrea, the Italian town in the foothills of the Alps famous as the home of Olivetti, to establish IDII (Interaction Design Institute Ivrea), which offered a post-experience interaction design program producing very interesting and influential work.
IDII Building on the Olivetti Campus
Simona Maschi was one of the teachers in Ivrea. When IDII closed in 2005, Gillian moved to teach in Venice, and Simona moved to Denmark with a group of colleagues and friends to found CIID. These pioneers of teaching interaction design have helped this new design discipline emerge and become accepted.
Simona Maschi teaching at CIID
Some argue that interaction design, meaning the design of everything digital, can no longer be considered a separate discipline, because all of the design disciplines now reside in a digital world. I agree that everything that can be digital will be, but I still think there is a lot of value in learning how to design in virtual space, gaining fluency in thinking about the abstractions of the digital realm, such as user’s conceptual models or navigation journeys.