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Syllabus (as of 1/14/09)

Course No: ATEC 6351.501 Special Topics in Arts and Technology


Course Title: Generative Design Research
Instructor: Chip Wood, Clinical Associate Professor
Contact Options: chip.wood@utdallas.edu ATEC Rm 1.708/972-883-2785
chipwood.utd@gmail.com
Class Day & Time: Fall Semester 2008/Wednesdays 7:00pm – 9:45pm
Location: ATEC Conference Room 1.606

Course Description
This class is designed to help graduate students in the ATEC program learn how to do primary
discovery research that uncovers significant ideas and opportunities in a dynamic and complex
world of possibilities. Students will learn how to evaluate data, select ideas that have the greatest
potential, and construct robust scenarios to describe and define a balanced value proposition.

This course will help students learn how to approach research in a holistic way that yields insights
about what is desirable on the part of users, what is possible from the standpoint of technologies,
and what is valuable to the business enterprise that will ultimately invest, develop and build the
new products and services.

Students will select and pursue research in an area of interest, either as teams or individually,
following a scheduled outline that will include collaborative discussions and brainstorming
sessions to help everyone evaluate, expand, and explore the possibilities. The course will
conclude with a final report and presentation for each of the research projects.

Included in the course will be:


• A series of lectures and discussions
• A review of new research methods and processes
• A review and evaluation of a series of case histories
• A schedule of assignments to practice and experience the discovery process
• Evaluative techniques to define what’s important and valuable
• Creative sessions to generate new constructs and concepts
• Presentation techniques for making the case for a new proposition

Course Requirements
• Attendance to all classes is important, especially during creative work sessions
• All assignments need to be completed on time and in a professional manner & retained in
an active personal reference file or notebook
• All students need to participate individually and as a contributing member of the class
• In addition to the assignments below there will be other helpful handouts and references
to relevant materials

Grading Procedure
Because this course’s emphasis will be on providing the student with an awareness and
understanding of Design Research methods and practices through experience, it is very important
that students participate individually and collectively to insure that everyone has a successful
leaning experience. Therefore, students will be evaluated on attendance, participation in class,

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assignments, and the quality and quantity of work completed from week to week. Assignments
will be discussed throughout the course, with specific requirements spelled out. See grading
breakdowns at the end of this document.

Classroom Conduct
• Students are to focus their attention on the subjects at hand in the classroom, i.e., lectures,
presentations, discussions, and teamwork sessions and set aside all other activities.
• All open communication (talking) should be relevant to the subject at hand and have
value to the class as a whole.
• Competitiveness between students and teams will be friendly and encouraging at all
times.
• All other rules of behavior will be discussed and agreed to by the class on the first day.

Academic Ethics
Any form of disruptive behavior or scholastic dishonesty, such as plagiarism, cheating, or
copying other’s work will not be tolerated and may result in loss of credit.

Drop Procedures (see http://utdallas.edu/student/registrar/calendar/)


If you are unable to complete this course, you should withdraw from it. Withdrawing from a
course is a formal procedure, with a specific published deadline, which you must initiate. The
instructor cannot do it for you. You must do this through the Registrar’s Office.

Course Schedule & Outline

1/14 Class 1 Introductions, syllabus, overview, goals, expectations, supplies, etc.


Lecture/Discussion: Overview & Choosing Arenas of Interest to Study
Assignment #1: Choose two subject arenas of interest; one primary and one
secondary. Write short paragraph descriptions for each and email to instructor.

1/21 Class 2 Lecture/Discussion: Society/Tech/Business Trends – Secondary Research


Assignment #2: Start gathering information in the public domain about your
primary area of interest to file away for future bibliographic references and send
sample of the most interesting references to instructor. Secondary Research
should continue throughout the semester.

1/28 Class 3 Discussion: Brief Q&A about everyone’s subject & early understanding
Lecture/Discussion: Design Custom Research Tools – Primary Research
Assignment #3: Develop research plan; email to instructor for feedback and start
primary field research. Be prepared to share early findings at next class.

2/04 Class 4 Lecture/Discussion: Heuristic Discovery – New Knowledge & Redirection


Work-Session: Share findings so far for feedback and preliminary analysis.
Assignment #4: Email status report to instructor including samples of new
knowledge for feedback and continue primary field research. Be prepared to
share findings at next class.

2/11 Class 5 Lecture/Discussion: Analysis & Frameworks – Innovation Engines


Work-Session: Share discoveries that had an impact on findings.

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Assignment #5: Develop a framework that organizes and reduces the research
data into a graphic summary ready for group review in next class.

2/18 Class 6 Lecture/Discussion: Generative Scenarios & Divergent Thinking


Work-Session: Group brainstorming around each student framework to flesh out
ideas for new scenarios and build decision matrix to rank-order the list of ideas.
Assignment #6: Select best idea and draft a one page scenario description – email
to instructor for feedback

2/25 Class 7 Lecture/Discussion: Synthesis – Developing an Evolved Point of View


Work-Session: Reconcile all the possibilities and identify what’s important, all
things considered from the point of view of the consumer, the business, and the
technologist, and begin to draft a strategy outline for realization.
Assignment #7: Compose a one page statement of over-all (POV) Point of View
and email to instructor for feedback.

3/04 Class 8 Lecture/Discussion: Concept Development – Convergent Thinking


Work-Session: Group brainstorming around each student’s short list of concepts
to explore specific opportunities and detailed descriptions of benefits.
Assignment #8: Clean up conclusions from the brainstorming session and email
results to instructor for feedback.

3/11 Class 9 Lecture/Discussion: Draft Proposition – What’s Your Story?


Assignment #9: Compose a brief narrative that summarizes your proposal in
sufficient specificity so that someone not familiar with your project would
understand what it is, and how it would be beneficial to others, and email to
instructor for feedback.

3/18 No Class Spring Break Holiday

3/25 Class 10 Lecture/Discussion: Trial Balloons & Conversations – Outreach for Allies
Assignment #10: Identify and build a target list of benefactors who might
become part of your ‘value web’, i.e., parties who can help you realize your
proposition, such as investors, technology providers, and business partners, etc.
and email to instructor for feedback.

4/01 Class 11 Lecture/Discussion: Comprehensive Value Proposition – A Compelling Story


Assignment #11: Review the Value Proposition check-list (provided) and insert
status notes for each item and email to instructor for feedback.

4/08 Class 12 Lecture/Discussion: Design ‘Proof of Concept’ Presentation (Final Exam)


Assignment #12: Chose best way to demonstrate your proposal and design an
action plan; Email plan to instructor & get cracking—you only have 3 weeks!

4/15 Class 13 Work-Session: Prepare Presentation


Assignment #13: Show progress & work your plan

4/22 Class 14 Work-Session: Prepare Presentation


Assignment #14: Show progress & work your plan

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4/29 Class 15 Final Exam: Project Presentation
• A digital copy of Project Report
• A 15 minute Presentation

Grading Scale
A 91-100 Excellent
B 81-90 Above Average
C 71-80 Average
D 61-70 Poor
F 00-60 Failing

Grading Weights
60 Points Assignments (15 at 4.0 points each)
30 Points Final Report & Presentation
10 Points Extra Credit for selection of book & one page description of why
it would be valuable for the rest of the class to read

Attendance & Tardy Policy – Attendance is mandatory. Lack of attendance will affect your grade
because absences will not only leave holes in understanding of the lesson contents but also
degrade the benefit to other students in regard to discussions and work sessions. Coming to class
late or leaving early will also be counted as absences without prior approval from the instructor.
Excessive absences can result in grade penalty or even failure of the course; three unexcused
absences will result in an adjustment in the final grade down by one level (ex. ‘A’ down to a
‘B’).