Members of the d.school's winter-quarter teaching community gathered in Studio 2 at the end of the first week of classes. The topic: improving the d.school classes application process.
The workshop focused primarily on the application process, but it naturally veered into how d.school classes were put together. I worked with three other members of the d.school community on a prototype for one particular type of class offering. It was prompted when one of our team members asked as we were brainstorming, "What would McDonald's do?"
That got us thinking about the fast-food restaurant's menu. What if a class was offered in the form of a fast-food value menu? If one person wanted fries and a double cheeseburger while someone else wanted chicken nuggets and a milk shake, how would that work?
We created a prototype where one class offering would be split into multiple parts. Let's say, for example, one class had six sessions. Each session would represent a single unit students could choose. One unit would be a mandatory introductory design thinking workshop. Then students would be allowed to mix and match, choosing, say, three of the remaining five available units to attend.
The goal was to create a class from which no student could be rejected. We also wanted to provide students with some creative agency in formulating their class experience.
We decided to make the prototype using cutouts of food items, with a hamburger representing a mandatory, introductory class. A class on creating and using stokes (short activities or games to raise or lower the energy in the room) was represented by french-fries.
And on and on we went...
The prototype led to a few insights. The selection process, for example, would need to be crystal clear. People found it confusing when they were asked to select only a select number of available classes. They were unaware that the hamburger represented a mandatory workshop for everyone registered. One user suggested having the introductory class be a sampling from each of the other classes, giving students a chance to make a more informed decision when they choose their remaining classes from the menu.
It was also suggested that students accepted into the class be called on to bring a project with them. This would let them choose classes that would help them better direct their learning. It would also make each class more relevant and their choices even better informed.
It had been a while since I prototyped something in this way. Overall, the experience was refreshing and, as always, fun. If you're interested in taking this prototype to another level, let us know in the comments.