Design at Large: Teaching & Research with Design in the Wild
New challenges, cultural values, and technologies are changing design — and vice versa. Pervasive networked devices have freed design from the confines of the lab: design increasingly roams at large. Many of these designs meld the physical, digital, and social worlds. The successes are tremendously exciting, but the failure rate is high. Herein lies the challenge. Currently, many design practices are faith-based rather than research-based. Why is there a shortfall of principles for effective design? In part, some see design as intrinsically mystical and impervious to investigation, because creative work is clearly complex and multifarious. And in part, this is a multidisciplinary effort. Building rigorous design theory requires insights that are currently spread across departments… and also beyond the ivory tower.
My group's research tools harvest and synthesize examples to empower more people to design, program, learn, and create. Our experiments and research systems leverage real-world, web-scale usage to create practical theories for design. One focus of our recent work — inspired by the design studio — is enabling peer learning online. This work, used in hundreds of massive online classes, has created techniques for effective global-scale peer assessment of creative work and small-group video discussions among learners from diverse cultures.
Design is front-page news, the topic of hollywood films, and enrollment in design courses — both in person and online — has skyrocketed. For me, the most powerful part is how many people are excited about making stuff. Let’s match this enthusiasm with insight.
Scott is a Professor of Cognitive Science and Computer Science & Engineering at UC San Diego, where he co-founded the Design Lab. He previously served as Associate Professor of Computer Science at Stanford, where he co-directed the HCI Group, held the Bredt Faculty Scholar chair, and was a founding participant in the d.school. He has a PhD in CS from Berkeley and a dual BA in Art-Semiotics and Computer Science from Brown (with Graphic Design work at RISD).
His former graduate students are leading professors (at Berkeley, CMU, UCSD, & UIUC), researchers (Google & Adobe), founders (including Instagram & Pulse), social entrepreneurs, and engineers.
Scott launched the first MOOC to feature open-ended creative work in spring 2012. The peer-review approaches he helped develop are used by major MOOC platforms, touching thousands of learners every day. His group publishes on these topics, disseminating their advances through widely-used open-source software. His course grew into the Interaction Design specialization, designated as one of the ‘most coveted’ Coursera certificates. All together, around 300,000 learners have signed up for his courses.
He has been awarded the Katayanagi Emerging Leadership Prize, Sloan Fellowship, NSF CAREER award, and Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellowship. Eleven of his papers were awarded best paper or honorable mention at top HCI venues. He is program co-chair of Learning@Scale '18, and was program co-chair for UIST, the CHI systems area, and HCIC. He advises university design programs globally..