Crafting a User Experience Curriculum (02 Jan 2005)
Based on my own experience, my research, student results, and feedback from the INP advisory committee, the three courses we developed prepare students well for employment in industry, assuming they have the requisite critical thinking skills and understanding of design noted previously. Knowing information architecture principles and having a portfolio of IA deliverables landed one student an internship (moving towards a permanent position) with a local web design firm. Another student was hired as a web developer because of her usability inspection of the company’s website. (The employer had requested that applicants come ready to discuss improvements to the website; she went the extra mile by preparing a formal report and got the position over another candidate with a Masters degree). There are other examples as well, including students who have moved up in their companies, in part because of the new skills they acquired.
Another positive is that the progression from concepts to methods to domain-specific best practices introduces topics when students are ready for them, thereby supporting the learning process—and contributing to a good user experience in learning. On a personal level, I can attest that developing and teaching these courses has been an enjoyable and rewarding experience. For those embarking upon a similar course creation process, I can assure you that it will be quite memorable.
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