1. What seminar readings, exercises, or assignments were most challenging, interesting, or rewarding for you? Why?
The readings that I found most interesting were The Design of Everyday Things and Emotional Design, both by Donald Norman. They were particularly interesting because Norman introduced me to concepts that I had known about previously, but not had a specific term or definition of – i.e. visceral, behavioral, and reflective design. I also really enjoyed “The Science of Shopping” by Malcolm Gladwell, which is most likely because I take so much pleasure in shopping but have never thought about the thought and effort retailers and people like Paco Underhill put into the design of stores. The most challenging reading was probably “Know It All” by Stacy Schiff. Although the information was interesting, I found this article to be too long-winded. It also lacked substantial structure, which made reading it tedious.
Regarding other assignments, I found the egg drop experiment and retail analysis presentation to be most interesting. With the egg drop experiment, it was a nice change to be able to use our hands to put our knowledge to use rather than just reading an article and answering questions. I enjoyed the retail analysis presentation because after reading about Paco Underhill and others who are professional retail analyzers, it was interesting to be able to try that out for ourselves. I also liked hearing what stores my classmates chose and what they concluded from their analyses. The most challenging assignment was undoubtedly the final Week 9 group presentation. Working with a semi-large group made it quite difficult – at least for our group – to work out times to meet or to even agree on certain ideas. However, this assignment was also the most rewarding because the end result took a lot of effort to get to and ended up turning out quite well!
Additionally, other than class assignments, projects, presentations, and readings, one of my favorite parts of the class was the in-class discussions. Although sometimes it took a little prompting to get the discussion going, it was always both interesting and rewarding to hear everyone’s opinion on the previous night’s reading and to share my opinion with them in return.
2. What are the most important things you learned in this semester?
The most important thing I learned this semester was probably how to lead and participate in a completely student-run discussion. Before this class, I do not think I ever had to do such a thing in a classroom. Discussions almost always heavily featured the teacher adding information or asking questions. I think having to become accustomed to student-run discussions helped me learn to cover all aspects of contributing to a conversation – such as gatekeeping, initiating, orienting, and many more. Our discussions also helped me become better at explaining my thoughts/opinions more concisely.
3. How might you use this learning in the future?
I could not have asked for a better seminar class – and I’m not just saying that. Over the past ten weeks, I learned more from the class material, my classmates, and our professor than I would have ever thought possible. Because of all we learned about regarding design, I will never look at everyday objects, retail stores, city design, etc. the same way again. This class has taught me to pay more attention to detail, which I am positive will help me in the future, especially as I hope to attend medical school and become a physician – which is a career path in which attention to detail is extremely important. Presentations and discussions with my professor and classmates unquestionably improved my public speaking skills as well as my ability to, as I mentioned earlier, express myself more concisely and sensibly. These are obviously skills that I will be able to utilize in many areas of my life for the rest of my life.
In conclusion, I honestly thoroughly enjoyed this seminar. It may be one of my favorite classes that I have ever taken. Thank you all for everything! Farewell :)