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About This Course


Course Overview and Schedule

Introduction to Design Thinking is a beginners course, meant to be a 4 week course, which will take about 12-16 hours to complete. This course does not require any outside software besides a computer and modern web browser. No programming experience is necessary; we will be interacting primarily with the creative aspects of application development. However, the final project of this course will be to create a prototype of your very own application. You will not be required to implement this using code, but if you intend to continue your project after this course, knowledge of the app development will be helpful.


Introduction to Design Thinking is a self-paced course that is made up of 4 modules. We anticipate that it will take around 16 hours to fully complete, although this will be entirely dependent on the effort students put into the course. The assignments in this course are open-ended, so students might find themselves putting in more or less than 16 hours. That said, I encourage you to be as thorough as possible while completing these design projects. As is the case with MOOC-style education, the more time and effort that you put into this course, the more you will get out of it.

Module Structure

This course is split into 4 Modules, each covering a different step in the design process.

Modules 1-2 contain multiple sections of instructional content, videos, and practice quizzes. Practice quizzes are graded on participation only, so don’t worry if you get these wrong, just focus on committing the correct answer to memory.

The last section of each Module contains a graded Module Quiz (worth 15% of your grade per quiz, 15×4=60% total) and a Required Module Project. Module Projects will require you to get out of the house and perform offline tasks then create a short report for each task. Reports will be graded by your peers, who will score you based on completion (making sure you really did the work).Module Projects make up 25% of the Final Grade.

Course Outline

Module 1 | Discovery

  • Choosing a Problem Space
  • Needfinding
  • Contextual Inquiry & User Interviews
  • User Empathy

Module 2 | Synthesis

  • Organizing Information
  • Generating User POVs
  • Affinity Maps
  • Problem Statements

Module 3 | Protoype

  • Storyboarding Flows and Tasks
  • Creating Wireframes
  • Paper Prototyping
  • User Testing

Module 4 | Iteration

  • Building on Feedback
  • Visual Design
  • Accessibility
  • Implementation

Getting Around This Course

Getting Around This Course

If you’re new to edX, here is some information to get you started. Even if you’ve used edX for other courses, the information here will help you understand how this course is organized. This course is structured into modules, sections, and units. Each module contains a combination of written documentation (reference documents) and lab activities that cover the topic areas for that module. This course is primarily lab-focused, so you will be spending more time working through the hands-on activities than reading about design techniques. Each module contains all of the material that you’ll need to learn the included topics, and we’ve included links to additional sources of information if you are interested in digging even deeper into the technologies. To navigate through the sections of a module, use the navigation bar at the top of the display window. You can use the left and right arrows to move back-and-forth through the units, and you can hover your mouse pointer over unit icon to see the unit title.

As noted above, each module in this course will have some combination of reading material, labs, and video content. The modules and the labs are meant to be taken in order, but you can skip around in the resource document sections, or even skip over a topic if you have already mastered the material in a particular unit. In order to get the most out of the lab assignments, you should make sure that you understand the material in the resource documents.


Given the nature of this MOOC-style course and the large number of students enrolled, it’s not possible for instructors to provide feedback to students. However, we encourage you to use the discussion boards to seek help and feedback from your fellow students. This is a great way to help each other and enrich your learning experience. For this same reason, lab write-ups will be peer-graded.


edX Student FAQ: This FAQ answers many questions about the edX student experience. Read the questions, so if you encounter any issues during the course, you can refer back to this document for help.

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