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DSI A Jump Start Into the Fall Semester

Program

Curriculum

Course Descriptions

Fundamentals of Design for Social Innovation

SIG-5030
Fall semester: 3 credits
10/02/20 – 12/22/20 *Note the last class date is a Tuesday per the academic calendar.
Fridays 10 am – 1:15 pm EST
Instructors: Marc Rettig, Hannah du Plessis

This course introduces ideas, approaches, methods, and skills essential for putting the “social” in “social innovation,” and for nurturing conditions for people to create together through complexity and uncertainty. Through a lively mix of activities, students internalize a living systems view of social change, become able to convene and host conversations that matter to a community, and grow their ability to stand in good relationship with themselves and others.

Environmental Ethics

SIG-5360
Environmental Ethics
Fall Semester: 1 credit
9/28/20 – 11/02/20 (6 classes)
Mondays 6:00 pm - 9:15 pm EST
Instructor: Jaimie Cloud

In this course students use systems thinking and creativity to explore the intersection of sustainability and design, including discussions on economics and quality-of-life indicators, how to distinguish problems from symptoms and unpacking the operating principles for life on Earth.

Disruptive Design: Research and Insights

SIG-5350
Fall semester: 3 credits
9/29/20 – 12/15/20
Tuesdays 6:00 pm - 9:15 pm EST
Instructor: Siri Betts-Sonstegard

Issues at the heart of Social Innovation, such as poverty, violence, civil rights, access to infrastructure and services, may not be acute or even present where we live, study and work. In this class, you will learn how to approach design for the needs and belief systems of others, especially marginalized communities whose lives, practices and experiences may be unfamiliar or contrary to your own. You will apply techniques to understand context, immerse yourself in communities, analyses complex relationships and leverage community members for self-driven projects. Over the first semester, students will build a foundation of methods and approaches which they can apply to parallel and future work.

Understanding Natural and Social Systems

SIG-5120
Fall semester: 1 credit
10/01/20 – 12/10/20 (10 weeks)
Thursdays 9:00 am – 12:15 pm EST
Instructors: Miya Osaki, Paul Lillehaugen

Social innovation and social entrepreneurship, including novel approaches to financing these initiatives, are part of a vibrant global movement that promotes fresh responses to even the most vexing and complex social problems and needs. At the intersection of various perspectives and sectors, social innovation is largely a practice-led field and can lack common language and frameworks, depending on the stakeholders. What may be called social innovation can emerge from the public as well as private sectors (both for-profit and not-for-profit), from small start-ups as well as seemingly entrenched bureaucracies.

Through the lens of experts across fields that intersect with this one, via readings, instruction, multimedia, case studies, and class discussion, this course will provide an overview of key themes and types of actors in the ecosystem of social innovation. It will also help to place the current focus of innovation and entrepreneurship into context within longstanding efforts at social change.

Technologies for Designing Change I

SIG-5170
Fall Semester: I credit
11/09/20 – 12/14/20 (6 classes)
Mondays 6:00 - 9:00 pm EST
Instructor: Lee-Sean Huang

From Skynet to Hal 9000 popular culture has cast artificial intelligence (AI) as the catalyst of the apocalypse, but what if AI could help humanity instead of dooming it? This course explores artificial intelligence and machine learning and how these technologies might be applied to global issues. We will look at the history of AI from the works of Alan Turing to Elon Musk and examine the current state of the technology, how it fails and where it succeeds. Students will be introduced to IBM Watson's technology and have access to the APIs; a background in computer science is not necessary. The course will culminate in a project to design and prototype an artificial intelligence application for social good.

Global Guest Lecture Series I

SIG-5220
Fall semester: 3 credits
9/30/20 – 12/16/20
Wednesday 9:00 am – 12:15 pm EST
Instructors: Miya Osaki, Emily Herrick

This weekly yearlong lecture course exposes students to the lives and ideas of some of the most important people defining social innovation in the world today. Speakers are curated to inspire new thinking and dialogue on various opportunities for careers in social innovation, and how design plays a role in each of them.

Mapping and Visualization Design

SIG-5150
Mapping and Visualization Design
Fall semester
Thursdays 6:00 – 9:15 pm EST (10/01/20 - 12/21/20) *Note the last class date is a Monday per the academic calendar.
Instructor: TBA

This course teaches mapping and visualizing systems in order to facilitate a journey from thinking to making. Readings, discussions and weekly “experiments” are employed to investigate how mapping and modeling techniques can help develop sustainable frameworks of action. The course helps students visualize and articulate their thinking, explore ways of planning and communicating solutions, and develop new models of engagement and action.

Introduction to Thesis

SIG-5440
Introduction to Thesis
Spring semester
Monday 6:00 – 9:00 (1/14/19 – 5/06/19)
Instructors: Alison Cornyn, Natalia Radywyl

In this course, students investigate a variety of topics, researching each to the point of confirming their own interest and the viability of the concept. Exercises in problem definition, audience identification, research and barriers to change help students test their own hypotheses. Criteria include demonstration of need on the part of the audience, a clear articulation of the concept and metrics for success. By the end of the semester, students have a fully vetted topic for their thesis.

Technologies for Designing Change II

SIG-5410
Technologies for Designing Change II
Spring semester
Tuesdays 12:00 - 3:00 (1/15/19 – 5/06/19)
Instructors:Lee-Sean Huang

In this making course, students will explore a range of methods and techniques for taking a concept to completion using design and physical computing. The class will focus on digital and physical prototypes as a method of testing and learning. This learning will support the systematic design decisions that determine the quality, impact and outcome of social design.

Communication Design

SIG-5070
Spring semester
Wednesdays 2:00 – 5:00
Instructor: Miya Osaki and Corwin Green

In this course, students use language and verbal and visual communication skills to engage, persuade and shift behavior through story writing and telling, cogent logic and public presentations. Throughout the semester, students develop a personal voice as well as work with external clients and organization to design communication as a system with intentional impact on outcomes. The course culminates with presentations to external clients.

Global Guest Lecture Series II

SIG-5225
Global Guest Lecture Series II
Spring semester
Wednesday 6:00 – 9:00 (1/16/19 - 5/01/19)
Instructors: Faculty

This is the second part of a two-semester course. This weekly yearlong lecture course exposes students to the lives and ideas of some of the most important people defining social innovation in the world today. Speakers are curated to inspire new thinking and dialogue on various opportunities for careers in social innovation, and how design plays a role in each of them.
Watch Lecture Videos

Games for Impact

SIG-5390
Games for Impact
Spring semester
Thursday 6:00 – 9:00 (1/17/19 - 5/02/19)
Instructors: Mattie Brice, Nicholas Fortugno

Games designed to address social and political issues are one of the fastest growing categories in the ‘serious games’ movement. This course incorporates game theory and analysis with hands-on development of social impact games: interactive experiences that integrate socio-political events, values and messages into their design and game mechanics. Working in teams, students take on game projects from concept to a functional prototype, and refine their projects through several iterations, ending with presentations to a jury of experts.

Creative Writing for Social Designers

SIG-5811
Creative Writing for Social Designers
Spring semester
Friday 9:00-12:00 (3/15/19, 3/22/19, 3/29/19)
Instructor: Kate Reed Petty

The maxim that all change begins with language is true in the visual arts to the same extent that it is anywhere else. Yet social impact designers — who make their professional careers developing initiatives that change lives, often with enormous public consequence — are often not taught how to write.  Both the design and social innovation fields are rife with argot and clichés that deaden 16/SIG meaning instead of uncovering it. The goal of this class is to give social designers access to the power of creative writing in order to more fully understand themselves, and combine that self-knowledge with writing that will infect and inspire their audiences.

Thesis Consultation: Research, Writing, Presentation

SIG-6190
Thesis Consultation: Research, Writing, Presentation
Fall semester: 6 credits
09/28/20 – 12/14/20
Monday 6:00-9:00 pm EST ***
Instructors: Kara Meyer, Mari Nakano, Sloan Leo, Sahar Ghaheri

***Thesis Advisors will arrange with their students on the best times to meet weekly, Gates presentations will be scheduled by thesis advisors during the day to accommodate timezones.

Guided by their faculty advisors, students conduct research to develop a thorough understanding of the context, landscape and challenges of their thesis topic. They design and implement a series of prototypes to test and refine their theory, and create a compelling presentation, which brings each vision’s potential to life through words, images and graphics. Presentation to the thesis advisory board for approval of the thesis topic is required.

Metrics and Data Visualization I

SIG-6170
Metrics and Data Visualization I
Fall semester: 3 credits
09/29/20 – 12/15/20
Tuesdays 8:00 am – 11:15 am EST
Instructor: Wenfei Xu and Kalli Retzepi

This yearlong course looks at theory and practice of gathering and visualizing data by integrating the identification of metrics into ongoing student projects and evaluating metrics from case studies in order to understand their strategy. In the fall, the course focuses on data and visualization for exploration: asking useful questions and engaging in purposeful discovery. In the spring, students study data and visualization for explanation: how various tools and techniques help us communicate with and influence others. Guest lecturers include data scientists, financial modelers and corporate social responsibility experts.

Global Guest Lecture Series III

SIG-6220
Fall semester: 3 credits
9/30/20 – 12/16/20
Wednesday 9:00 am – 12:15 pm EST
Instructors: Miya Osaki, Emily Herrick

This weekly yearlong lecture course exposes students to the lives and ideas of some of the most important people defining social innovation in the world today. Speakers are curated to inspire new thinking and dialogue on various opportunities for careers in social innovation, and how design plays a role in each of them.

Leadership I

SIG-6180
Leadership I
Fall semester: 2 credits
10/02/20 – 12/18/20 (11 weeks)
Fridays 9:00 am – 12:15 pm EST
Note: 11/13 and 12/4 will be virtual labs, other meetings will be live sessions via Zoom
Instructor: Karen Proctor

A survey of key leadership theories and practices will be examined in this course, with the aim for students to discover their leadership identity and apply their new knowledge and understanding in positive social change contexts. Through in-class discussion, case studies and leadership development process documentation, students will engage in intensive, reflective experiences that have been designed to transform leadership notions into knowledge. The course helps students to consider the "why" of their DSI experience from a leadership lens.

Thesis Consultation: Implementation

SIG-6940
Thesis Consultation: Implementation
Spring semester
Monday 6:00 – 9:00 (1/14/19 – 5/06/19)
Instructors: Jeffrey Franklin, Mari Nakano, Esther Y. Kang, TBA

With the help of thesis advisors, students complete their thesis and develop it into a form ready to be implemented. Presentation of the thesis to the full board of advisors is required; following approval, each student presents their final thesis to a public audience. A review committed consisting of the program chair, additional faculty and outside experts will critique presentations at critical intervals during the semester.

Metrics and Data Visualization II

SIG-6175
Metrics and Data Visualization II
Spring semester
Thursday 6:00 – 9:00 (1/17/19 - 5/02/19)
Instructor: Wenfei Xu and Kalli Retzepi

This year-long course looks at theory and practice of gathering and visualizing data by integrating the identification of metrics into ongoing student projects and evaluating metrics from case studies in order to understand their strategy. In the fall, the course focuses on data and visualization for exploration: asking useful questions and engaging in purposeful discovery. In the spring, students study data and visualization for explanation: how various tools and techniques help us communicate with and influence others. Guest lecturers include data scientists, financial modelers and corporate social responsibility experts.

Global Guest Lecture Series IV

SIG-6225
Global Guest Lecture Series IV
Spring semester
Wednesday 6:00 – 9:00 (1/16/19 - 5/01/19)
Instructors: Faculty

This is the second part of a two-semester course. This weekly yearlong lecture course exposes students to the lives and ideas of some of the most important people defining social innovation in the world today. Speakers are curated to inspire new thinking and dialogue on various opportunities for careers in social innovation, and how design plays a role in each of them.
Watch Lecture Videos

Leadership II

SIG-6182
Leadership II
Spring semester

Fridays 12:00 - 6:00 pm (7 weeks, begins 1/15)
Instructor: Karen Proctor

This is the second part of a two-semester course. Please see SIG-6180 for the course description.

Entrepreneurship

SIG-6185
Entrepreneurship
Fall semester: 1 credit
10/01/20 – 12/21/20 *Note the last class date is a Monday per the academic calendar.
Thursdays 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm EST
Instructor: Kobla Asamoah

This course is devoted to equipping students with the business language and concepts needed for real-world venture success. Students will gain practical knowledge and hands-on experience in the key business building blocks needed to execute a successful start-up that is viable, financially sustainable and scalable. Students will also have the opportunity to evaluate and present their respective theses as a business concept.

Monitoring and Evaluation

SIG-6950
Monitoring and Evaluation
Spring semester

Thursdays 6:00 - 9:00 pm
Instructor: TBA

This course is designed to complement the thesis process, and will examine how to measure program effectiveness and evaluation (M&E). Monitoring is the routine process of data collection and measurement of progress toward program objectives; evaluation is the use of social research methods to systematically investigate a program's effectiveness. Students will be guided on the development of their own measurement plan and data collection.

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