LEES650 Design Thinking and Theory

University of Tennessee Knoxville

Instructor Information
Lisa Yamagata-Lynch
Educational Psychology and Counseling
513 Bailey Education Complex
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996
Phone: 865-974-7712

Instructional Assistant Information
Jaewoo Do

*Please note that the instructor reserves the right to modify the syllabus during the semester and participants will be notified through the learning management system announcements.

Meeting Time Monday  5:45PM- 8:35PM at Claxton 210

Office Hours Monday 4:00PM-5:00PM, Other appointments can be arranged upon request

Course Description and Value

This course is designed for doctoral students interested in learning environments design. Participants will read both theoretical and empirical works to reflect and make new meanings about research and development of design and its role in various fields. Throughout the semester participants will address design research methods and the sociocultural implications of design activities in relation to human learning environments. Participants will explore his/her design philosophy in relation to learning environments and write and analyze a design case. The readings selected for this class are primarily from design fields, and participants are responsible for collaboratively investigate the implications and applications of ideas introduced in class to learning environments design.

Course Format
This course will be delivered primarily face-to-face. As you are graduate students, I am going to assume you are a professional and I will treat you as such. That means I am not going to tell you what you need to know, check attendance, or try to motivate you. I assume that you are going to take responsibility for your own learning in this course. Please review the Classroom Etiquette section carefully to understand your responsibilities as a professional participant in this course. If you choose to engage in activities that are unprofessional, disrespectful to others, or disruptive you will lose points toward course participation.

By engaging in course activities participants will be able to:
  • understand design as it is researched and practiced in various disciplines and its implications to learning environments;
  • identify design research methods for future investigations of learning environments;
  • reflect on the sociocultural implications of design activities;
  • identify individual role as a designer in relation to learning environments research and practice; and
  • write a design case analysis.
Required Text
  • Cross, N. (2011). Design thinking: Understanding how designers think and work. Berg Publishers.
  • Martin, B. & Hanington, B. (2012). Universal methods of design: 100 ways to research complex problems, develop innovative ideas, and Design Effective Solutions. Rockport Publishers.
  • Lawson, B., & Dorst, K. (2009). Design expertise. Architectural Press
Recommended Text

Resources You Need Access

  • American Psychological Association. (2009). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association, (6th ed.). American Psychological Association (APA).
  • For APA style you can also examine the Purdue OWL APA Formatting and Style Guide http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/
Course Resources
MyUTK https://my.utk.edu/
Graduate Catalog: catalog.utk.edu/index.php?catoid=7/ (Listing of academic programs, courses, and policies)
Hilltopics: http://dos.utk.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2016/04/StudentRights.pdf (Campus and academic policies, procedures and standards of conduct)
Academic Planning www.utk.edu/advising (Advising resources, course requirements, and major guides)
Student Success Center studentsuccess.utk.edu (Academic support resources)

Instructor Generated Resources
10 Habits of Being a Successful Graduate Student and Beyond
How do I know when an article is peer Reviewed?
Peer Reviewed Article Matrix

Resources for Searching Journal Articles
Google Scholar http://scholar.google.com/
UTK Library http://www.lib.utk.edu/

Course Communications
You will regularly receive course related communications from the instructor through email and through Blackboard announcements. It is your responsibility to make sure that your university email account is in working condition. If you have technical issues or need help troubleshooting, please contact OIT at remedy.utk.edu/contact/ or call the helpdesk at 865-974-9900. You should expect your instructor to respond to your message within 24 hours on regular business days during the week and 48 hours on weekends and university holidays. If you do not hear back from the instructor, please send another message or call 865-974-7712.

University Civility Statement
Civility is genuine respect and regard for others: politeness, consideration, tact, good manners, graciousness, cordiality, affability, amiability and courteousness. Civility enhances academic freedom and integrity, and is a prerequisite to the free exchange of ideas and knowledge in the learning community. Our community consists of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and campus visitors. Community members affect each other’s well-being and have a shared interest in creating and sustaining an environment where all community members and their points of view are valued and respected. Affirming the value of each member of the university community, the campus asks that all its members adhere to the principles of civility and community adopted by the campus: http://civility.utk.edu/.

Disability Services
Any student who feels he or she may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS) at 865-974-6087 in 2227 Dunford Hall to document their eligibility for services. ODS will work with students and faculty to coordinate reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities.You can find more information about ODS at http://ods.utk.edu/.

Your Role in Improving Teaching and Learning Through Course Assessment
At UT, it is our collective responsibility to improve the state of teaching and learning. During the semester, you may be requested to assess aspects of this course either during class or at the completion of the class. You are encouraged to respond to these various forms of assessment as a means of continuing to improve the quality of the UT learning experience.


Course Participation 300pts
General Participation 100pts
Please come to each class sessions prepared by completing readings on days that are due with relevant questions for class, and by being a productive participant in course discussions. You need to able to share your understandings about the readings, new ideas, and discoveries about design through collegial, effective, and professional discussion in class.

Design Research Methodologies and Example Discussions 200pts |Guide and Checklist|
You will choose 3 design research methods from Hanington, B., & Martin, B. (2012). Universal Methods of Design: 100 Ways to Research Complex Problems, Develop Innovative Ideas, and Design Effective Solutions. Rockport Publishers. Then you will investigate each method to lead a class discussion with other participants regarding the 3 methods and present an example for each method based on reports included in journal articles, books, presentation papers, or technical reports. You will prepare a handout, with a minimum of 1-page and a maximum of 3-pages, that will provide the key summary of each method, list the reference of where you obtained examples, and any other items you see fit to include for facilitating discussions as the leader. Throughout the semester there are 5 class sessions designated for this discussion to which you will be designated a specific date.

Design Reflection Journals 200pts |Checklist|
The purpose of this reflection is for you to make progress towards the Design Philosophy Paper and Design Case Analysis while sharing your ideas with the instructor and other course participants. You are responsible to maintain a reflective journal for this class about your developing understanding about design. Your instructor will provide you topics to reflect on that will help you prepare for other course related assignments. For each entry the instructor will provide you with a guide to complete your reflection. There are a total of 5 entries you need to complete throughout the semester. You will use your previous design experiences, information from readings, and thoughts from class discussions to reflect on your understanding about design. These journal entries will be shared to the instructor and others in class. As long as you follow the guides provided to you prior to you in class and you put a genuine effort in completing the journal entries and providing comments to other participants you will gain full marks towards this assignment. Every entry is due on the WordPress site at: http://lees604journals.wordpress.com/ by Wednesday 11:59pm and you are responsible to read and comment to journal entries of other participants by Friday 11:59pm.

Design Philosophy Paper
200pts |Guide and Rubric|
The purpose of this paper is for you to identify your current definition of design within the context of the greater field you believe you belong. Based on your current definition, you are required to discuss what you see your role is as a learning environments design researcher/practitioner in your field. Based on your definition of design and your role as a learning environments researcher/practitioner, discuss how you will approach design related research and practice. Then discuss how you will address the inevitable tension between theory and practice in your future design work.

Design Case Analysis 200pts |Guide and Rubric|
The purpose for writing this design case is for you to proficiently describe a design situation, that you have been involved in the past, as a human activity, be able to analyze the situation, and communicate your experience/findings to others. You are required to present the narrative of the design activity, then engage in analysis using activity systems analysis.

Design Case Analysis Presentation 100pts
You will present your Design Case Analysis in class.

Note about all Writing Assignments
When writing your assignment reports please follow the writing requirements below:
  • Use first person and tell the story of your experience in your field.
  • Use double-spaced Times New Roman 12 point font.
  • Use pseudonyms in place of all real names!
  • Include page numbers and a title page.
  • Use headings and subheadings to guide the reader through your paper. Use transitions to guide the reader through your argument.
  • Use APA citation style, or let me know which other style you are using.
  • Be sure to proofread your paper. Treat this like a professional manuscript that reflects the hard work you have done this semester.
Assignment Submission Details
Please submit all assignments using the Blackboard Assignment feature unless the instructor provides other instructions. All assignments must be submitted by 11:59pm the day they are due. Please save your files as “your last name-assignment description.” For example, “Smith-observation assignment”. This helps me organize the files while reviewing your work.

Assignments and Total Possible Points
Assignments  Communication Format
Participation Mode
Possible Points
Class Participation  Oral/WrittenIndividual
Design Reflection Journal
 WrittenIndividual/Group Feedback
Design Philosophy Paper
Design Case and Analysis Paper
Design Case and Analysis Presentation
 OralIndividual 100
   Total Possible 1000

Assignment of Final Grade
Grades are updated regularly in Canvas. Final grades will be given according to the UT grading scale:
A-900-969= B+=870-899 
B-=800-839 C+=750-799 
F=599 and below

A Note Regarding Letter Grades
Completing all assignments and meeting the minimum expectations of the course constitutes “B” work; truly outstanding/superior work constitutes “A” work; and failing to meet the minimum expectations will result in a grade of “C” or lower. Spending a lot of time on course requirements (or having a history of being an “A” student) may not, in and of itself, necessarily result in an “A” grade.

A= Superior performance, B+= Better than satisfactory performance, B=Satisfactory performance, C+=Less than satisfactory performance, C= Performance well below the standard expected of graduate students, D=Clearly unsatisfactory performance and cannot be used to satisfy degree requirements, F=Extremely unsatisfactory performance and cannot be used to satisfy degree requirements.

Academic Honesty
Academic integrity is a responsibility of all members of the academic community. An honor statement is included on the application for admission and readmission. The applicant’s signature acknowledges that adherence is confirmed. The honor statement declares:

An essential feature of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is a commitment to maintaining an atmosphere of intellectual integrity and academic honesty. As a student of the university, I pledge that I will neither knowingly give nor receive any inappropriate assistance in academic work, thus affirming my own personal commitment to honor and integrity.

You are expected to complete your own work. You cannot re-submit work here that was done for previous classes.

Students shall not plagiarize. Plagiarism is using the intellectual property or product of someone else without giving proper credit. The undocumented use of someone else’s words or ideas in any medium of communication (unless such information is recognized as common knowledge) is a serious offense subject to disciplinary action that may include failure in a course and/or dismissal from the university. Some examples of plagiarism are
  • Using without proper documentation (quotation marks and a citation) written or spoken words, phrases, or sentences from any source.
  • Summarizing without proper documentation (usually a citation) ideas from another source (unless such information is recognized as common knowledge).
  • Borrowing facts, statistics, graphs, pictorial representations, or phrases without acknowledging the source (unless such information is recognized as common knowledge).
  • Submitting work, either in whole or in part, created by a professional service and used without attribution (e.g., paper, speech, bibliography, or photograph).
Extreme caution should be exercised by students involved in collaborative research to avoid questions of plagiarism. If in doubt, students should check with the major professor and the Dean of the Graduate School about the project. Plagiarism will be investigated when suspected and prosecuted if established. For this class, plagiarism will result in a zero on the assignment and a meeting with your academic adviser.

Academic writing conventions and abilities
All assignments must conform to the style and reference notation format outlined in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association 6th edition.  The APA manual is an essential tool for graduate school academic writing.  Please study it carefully and refer to it often.  If you are unsure about particular APA formatting and citation rules, refer to the manual. 

The ability to write in an appropriate academic manner is critical to successful graduate study. If you find that you need assistance with your writing, please visit the university’s free Writing Center https://writingcenter.utk.edu/. They do not proofread or edit your work, but they can help with idea development and organization – key elements of successful academic writing.

Resources and Responsibilities
It is assumed that this course will "cost" you extra resources in time and expense. Any new skill such as computer use or graphics design should be considered time-consuming and most work will be done outside of the regular class period. It is further assumed that those who enter the course have a wide range of experience and expertise in the field. Ownership of a microcomputer is not required; however, access to one is a necessity. We will be using both Macs and PCs in this course.

Attendance Policy
Students are expected to be on time, attend all classes, and participate in class discussions, small group activities, exercises, and projects. You may not receive class participation credit for missed classes and are responsible for missed information. However, emergencies can occur at any time and the instructor reserves the right, based on the individual situation, to accommodate a student with any emergency. A student missing class must complete all assignments to the satisfaction of the instructor before credit will be issued. Absences are not considered excused for job interviews, vacations, regular doctor's appointments, or general lack of planning. Students are granted one "free" absence, regardless of the situation. However multiple absences and excessive tardiness are considered unacceptable for success in this course and can be cause for a final grade reduction. Attendance will be taken every class session, and every unexcused absence after the "free" absence will cost you a 10-point deduction from your final grade.

Tardiness is disruptive and rude to your instructor and your fellow students and reflects badly on you - it can speak about your attitude and work ethic. Students arriving late to class should wait until the instructor, fellow student, or guest speaker is finished talking and should take a seat close to the door. Excessive tardiness = 20 minutes late more than two times.

Classroom Etiquette
While your instructor, your peer, or guest lecturer is conducting a presentation you are expected to pay complete attention to what they are presenting. It is not only rude, but also distracting to the presenter and other students in class when you are working on the computer, personal portable devices, cell phones, or behaving in any manner that is disruptive to them. If you are engaging in activities such as surfing the web, writing a paper, reading/writing email, working on class assignments, answering your cell phone, Skyping or any other disruptive activities in class you will be asked to leave for the day. If your disrespectful and disruptive behaviors continue, you will lose points from course participation, which will affect negatively on your final grade for this course. Make sure that your cell phone and/or beeper are turned off or set on manner mode. Please inform the instructor before class session begins if your are experiencing circumstances that warrant your cell phone/beeper to be turned on, such as extreme weather conditions that may put your family members in danger.

*Please note that readings must be completed by the class session on the date they appear in the schedule.
*All Assignments are due 11:59pm the day it is due.

Schedule is currently under revision

Course Expectations, Website, Blackboard, and Introduction to Design and Design in Education
Smith & Boling (2009)
Cross (2006) chp. 1
Rittel & Webber (1973)

Changing Nature of Design in Educational/Instructional Technology
Boling & Smith (2012)
Rowland (1993)
Jonassen (2011) chp. 7
Understanding Design and the Designer
Text: Lawson & Dorst (2009) chp. 2
Nelson & Stolterman (2012) chp. 14
Lowgren & Stolterman (2007) chp. 3

Reflective Journal Entry 1
Your entry is due 9/14, your comments to others are due 9/16

Design Thinking Examples

Design Research Methodologies and Example Discussions I
Text: Cross (2011) chps. 1-6
Cross (2006) chp. 2

Text: Martin & Hanington (2012)

Welcome to the Virtual Crash Course in Design Thinking http://dschool.stanford.edu/dgift/

Bring supplies to class

Reflective Journal Entry 2
Your entry is due 9/28, your comments to others are due 9/30

Design Thinking

Design Research Methodologies and Example Discussions II
Cross (2006) chp. 4
Dorst (2011)
Text: Lawson & Dorst (2009) chp. 3

Text: Martin & Hanington (2012)

Design Expertise
Goldschmidt  & Rodgers (2013)
Lawson (2004) chps. 1, 2, & 3

Reflective Journal Entry 3
Your entry is due 10/12, your comments to others are due 10/14
 8 10/17Writing Design Cases

Design Research Methodologies and Example Discussions III
Boling (2010)
Howard et al. (2012)
Parrish (2006)

Text: Martin & Hanington (2012)

9 10/24Analyzing Design Cases with Activity Systems

Design Research Methodologies and Example Discussions IV

Yamagata-Lynch (2010) chp. 1
Yamagata-Lynch (2014)

Reflective Journal Entry 4
Your entry is due 10/26, your comments to others are due 10/18
10/31Sample Design Cases

Design Research Methodologies and Example Discussions V
Boling (2014)
Yamagata-Lynch & Luetkehans (2014)
Choose another design case to read from IJDL

Text: Martin & Hanington (2012)

11/7Design is it Uniquely Wicked?
Farrell & Hooker (2013)
Buchanan (1992)
Nelson & Stolterman (2012) chp. 11 & 12

Reflective Journal Entry 5
Post 3 pages double-spaced worth of your Design Philosophy Paper Draft
Your entry is due 11/9, your comments to others are due 11/11

11/14Design as a Social Activity
Dong (2009) chp. 1
Iversen, Halskov, & Leong (2012)

Design Philosophy Paper

1311/21Design Practice, Methods, Science, and Education Discussion

and Participant work time
Krippendorff (2006) chp. 7
Text: Lawson & Dorst (2009) chp. 6
 14 11/28Participant PresentationsAssignment
Design Case and Analysis Presentation
Design Case and Analysis Paper
Throughout the Semester Determined to be Necessary
  • Martin, B. & Hanington, B. (2012). Universal methods of design: 100 ways to research complex problems, develop innovative ideas, and Design Effective Solutions. Rockport Publishers.
Week 1
  • Smith, K. M., & Boling, E. (2009). What do we make of design?: Design as a concept in educational technology. Educational Technology, 49(4), 3–17.
  • Cross, N. (2006). Designerly Ways of Knowing. Springer. chp. 1
  • Rittel, H. W. J., & Webber, M. M. (1973). Dilemmas in a general theory of planning. Policy Sciences, 4(2), 155–169. doi:10.1007/BF01405730

Week 2

  • Boling, E., & Smith, K. M. (2012). The changing nature of design. In R. Reiser & J. V. Dempsey (Eds.), Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology (3rd ed., pp. 358–366). Allyn & Bacon.
  • Jonassen, D. H. (2011). Learning to Solve Problems: A Handbook for Designing Problem-Solving Learning Environments. Routledge. chp. 7
  • Rowland, G. (1993). Designing and instructional design. Educational Technology Research and Development, 41(1), 79–91. doi:10.1007/BF02297094

Week 3

  • Lawson, B., & Dorst, K. (2009). Design Expertise. Architectural Press. chp 2
  • Nelson, H. G., & Stolterman, E. (2012). The Design Way: Intentional Change in an Unpredictable World (2nd edition.). The MIT Press. chp. 14
  • Löwgren, J., & Stolterman, E. (2007). Thoughtful Interaction Design: A Design Perspective on Information Technology. The MIT Press. chp. 3
Week 4
  • Cross, N. (2011). Design Thinking: Understanding How Designers Think and Work. Berg Publishers.
  • Cross, N. (2006). Designerly Ways of Knowing. Springer. chp. 2
  • Martin, B., & Hanington, B. (2012). Universal Methods of Design: 100 Ways to Research Complex Problems, Develop Innovative Ideas, and Design Effective Solutions. Rockport Publishers.

Week 5

Week 6

  • Cross, N. (2006). Designerly Ways of Knowing. Springer. chp. 4
  • Dorst, K. (2011). The core of “design thinking” and its application. Design Studies, 32(6), 521–532. doi:10.1016/j.destud.2011.07.006
  • Lawson, B., & Dorst, K. (2009). Design Expertise. Architectural Press. chp. 3
  • Martin, B., & Hanington, B. (2012). Universal Methods of Design: 100 Ways to Research Complex Problems, Develop Innovative Ideas, and Design Effective Solutions. Rockport Publishers.

Week 7

  • Goldschmidt, G., & Rodgers, P. A. (2013). The design thinking approaches of three different groups of designers based on self-reports. Design Studies, 34(4), 454–471. doi:10.1016/j.destud.2013.01.004
  • Lawson, B. (2004). What Designers Know. Architectural Press. chps. 1-3

Week 8

  • Boling, E. (2010). The Need for Design Cases: Disseminating Design Knowledge. International Journal of Designs for Learning, 1(1). Retrieved from http://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/ijdl/article/view/919
  • Howard, C. D., Boling, E., Rowland, G., & Smith, K. M. (2012). Instructional design cases and why we need them. Educational Technology, 52(3), 34–39.
  • Parrish, P. (2006). Design as Storytelling. TechTrends, 50(4), 72–82. doi:10.1007/s11528-006-0072-7
  • Martin, B., & Hanington, B.(2012). Universal Methods of Design: 100 Ways to Research Complex Problems, Develop Innovative Ideas, and Design Effective Solutions. Rockport Publishers.

Week 9

  • Yamagata-Lynch, L. C. (2010). Activity Systems Analysis Methods: Understanding Complex Learning Environments. New York: Springer. chp. 1
  • Yamagata-Lynch, L. C. (2014). Understanding and Examining Design Activities with Cultural Historical Activity Theory. In B. Hokanson & A. Gibbons (Eds). Design in Educational Technology: Design Thinking, Design Process, and the Design Studio. pp. 89-106. New York: Springer.

Week 10

Week 11

  • Farrell, R., & Hooker, C. (2013). Design, science and wicked problems. Design Studies, 34(6), 681–705. doi:10.1016/j.destud.2013.05.001
  • Nelson, H. G., & Stolterman, E. (2012). The Design Way: Intentional Change in an Unpredictable World (2nd edition.). The MIT Press. chps. 11-12
  • Buchanan, R. (1992). Wicked Problems in Design Thinking. Design Issues, 8(2), 5–21. doi:10.2307/1511637
  • Martin, B., & Hanington, B. (2012). Universal Methods of Design: 100 Ways to Research Complex Problems, Develop Innovative Ideas, and Design Effective Solutions. Rockport Publishers.

Week 12

  • Dong, A. (2009). Designing and the Language of Design. In The Language of Design (pp. 1–21). Springer London. Retrieved from http://www.springerlink.com/content/r603385312162514/abstract/
  • Iversen, O. S., Halskov, K., & Leong, T. W. (2012). Values-led participatory design. CoDesign, 8(2-3), 87–103. doi:10.1080/15710882.2012.672575
Week 13
    • Krippendorff, K. (2006). The Semantic Turn: A New Foundation for Design. CRC Press. chp. 7
    • Lawson, B., & Dorst, K. (2009). Design Expertise. Architectural Press. chp. 6

    Week 14

    • No readings, participant presentations

    Last Updated August 21, 2016