Courses at the d.school may be popular, but here's one assumption the teaching teams and staff never make: every student needs to take a d.school class.
This means students don't sell us on why they should be in classes at the d.school. On the contrary, we sell the courses to them. This sale comes in the form of Pitch Night -- an evening dedicated to introducing Stanford students to the array of courses available at the d.school. Both full-quarter, two-quarter and short-form (or "pop-up") classes are presented with the goal of making a memorable sale -- or pitch -- to the students assembled.
Instructors are responsible for explaining why their class matters, why it's worth the time and/or the course credits, and telling students what they stand to learn should they take their course. All of the classes are taught in teams, which means the pitches are also conducted in teams.
Students are then asked to sign up for the courses they might be interested in taking. A strong pitch may not correlate to a list full of names, but it can't hurt.
Pitch Night is one of the most vibrant events at the d.school. The atrium -- the large gathering space in the center of Building 550 on campus is packed with students -- some new and some veterans. Some students have as little as a quarter's-worth of credits left, while others may have years before they see graduation.
The pitches take place in two forms: there are the presentations by the full-quarter and two-quarter class teaching teams. Then there are the presentations in expo format undertaken by the pop-up teaching teams. The presentations featured a suitcase, a blender and even an hydraulic drill. There were videos pitching students on the K-12 Lab Network, on becoming caretakers of the d.school in their spare time, and on really (seriously, please!) considering to apply to take a pop-up class.
All in all, the evening is an opportunity not only for students to get an introduction to the d.school and what it has to offer, but for the d.school's team members -- new and old (some of whom had their first full evening at the d.school) -- to get to know the students. Part meet-n-greet, part sales pitch and part community building, Pitch Night is an evening of fun, learning, engagement and appreciation.
If you were able to make it to Pitch Night last night, let us know what you thought. If you're interested in learning more about the d.school's class offerings, check them out at dschool.stanford.edu -- we'll be posting more details in the coming days.