Human Centered Design

This cross-disciplinary, graduate-level seminar course introduced students to the human-centered design process through hands-on design of solutions to a pressing community challenge – youth homelessness. Co-taught by faculty in the Graduate School of Social Work and the Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science, this course offered students exposure to empathizing, iterating, prototyping and pitching solutions that could help make life more hopeful and meaningful for young people experiencing homelessness. Students gained valuable skills for collaborating across disciplines to learn about the problem of youth homelessness through interviews and discussions with youth experiencing homelessness, interactions with experts and service providers, and in-person observation. They utilized this knowledge to take a new look at a complex issues and generated breakthrough ideas in partnership with young people and the organizations who serve them. The iterative process of eliciting feedback, refining ideas, and prototyping solutions culminated in pitches to a panel of experts. Teams of students documented their design process and final solutions in detail so that future teams can bring them to fruition.