Spring 2018 – 497-320: Designing a More Inclusive Campus: Applying User-Centered Methods to Design Innovative Objects, Services & Communication Strategies More Sensitive to Diversity

Meeting Day/Time
Tuesdays from 1:50 to 4:30 pm
Maryam Heidaripour (Undergraduate Education – User-Centered Design) (maryam@id.iit.edu) and Nell Taylor (Undergraduate Education – User-Centered Design)
Appropriate Majors
All interested students are welcome
Social Innovation

At Illinois Tech we honor our diverse community when we discuss issues of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, class, ability status, and religion. Diversity enhances critical thinking by exposing students to new information, raising new perspectives, and confronting stereotypes. Although we are exposed to all sorts of diversity, without reflecting on the ways in which the same systems and practices are treating us and our colleagues differently, it does not necessarily prepare us for the challenges of an increasingly diverse workforce and acquisition of competencies required of future leaders.

In this IPRO class, in small teams, you will begin to identify issues related to diversity and inclusion that are present in your day-to-day experiences of the university community. Then, you will apply user-centered design methods to understand how these issues are being reinforced by current systems, structures, and practices at the university. For example, exploring the ways in which Recreational Sports and Fitness at Illinois Tech is excluding students with certain ability status or issues related to transgender students and how they feel threatened when they seek a certain service on campus. The goal of this IPRO class is to create alternatives to identified challenges as a starting point for a more inclusive campus. The solutions that you propose are expected to enhance the quality of our relationships with “others” across campus by putting in place objects, services, and communicative strategies that are more sensitive to differences.

This course provides students an introduction to design thinking as applied to social challenges, as well as hands-on opportunities to apply these principles in real-time. A number of guests with expertise in social activism and community engagement will join the class through the semester to share their experience in advocating for diversity and inclusion across Chicago, and provide you with feedback to achieve project success.

Students in this course will:

  • Learn how to apply user-centered design methods to understand and listen to communities and empathize with their challenges
  • Recognize how systems and structures influence today’s society and the human condition
  • Develop a basic understanding of the fundamentals of diversity and inclusion
  • Engage in productive collaboration with teammates from multiple disciplines

This course is fundamentally about diversity. It requires you to seek out, interact with, understand, and serve people different from yourselves. You are expected to leave your zones of familiarity to learn from diverse communities in real life and leverage on differences.

Course Downloads:

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