For over ten years, I taught design in different capacities at Carnegie Mellon: at the School of Design, the Department of Information Systems within the College of Humanities, and at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute.

I developed each course from the perspective that design serves as mediator between people, products, information, and environments. Students addressed wicked problems from early on, employed research methods, and learned frame complexity and drive solutions. Each course broke out of the traditional design disciplines allowing the work to take a wide range of forms, from physical spaces to conversational interfaces, social impact programs to service experiences. Each course incorporated a range of intellectual models of design, research methods, and applications.

Course materials are free to be adopted under Creative Commons license BY NC 4.0 (tl;dr, please give credit and you can not use this content for commercial purposes). Using any of this content in your courses? Please send me a quick note and say where you’re from! I like to know where my work ends up.

“Eventually, everything connects”

Charles Eames

Seminar 51–171 67–381
Design and the Human Experience

A seminar course that examines the nature of the designed world, how it’s built, how to analyze it, and the values that shape it. Surveying design across its many forms, this reading- and writing-intensive course develops critical thinking on how we design information, products, technology, architecture, services, public policy, as well as inquiry into emergent human ecologies and whole earth systems. This course begins 1.76 million years in the past with the Acheulean hand axe and ends 10,000 years in the future with the Sandia WIPP Report.

Studio 51–261 67–265
Design Studio 1: Design for Interaction

Introductory course in interaction design, user experience, and the process of designing for people and technologies. Introduces students to basic human-centered design research and concept development in the development of digital, service, and user experiences. Students also develop component skills in simple user interface design. Coursework promotes design thinking and practice for application in tech fields.

Studio 51–302 67–359
Design Studio 2: Shaping Data & Information

Introductory course in communication design, visual hierarchy and organization, the development of messaging and production. Students develop skills in the organization and visualization of qualitative and quantitative data, and the structure of information for strategic purposes. Projects hone component skills in production and presentation for screen using data visualization, screen layout, color strategy, and typography.

Studio 51–385 67–358
Design for Service

Design for Service introduces design research methods, the creation of services with a human-centered focus, and how a designer can scaffold meaningful and efficient experiences within broader systems. This course brings an added emphasis to the role of technology products in services including ambient devices, mobile applications, wearables, embedded technologies, or connected devices along user pathways. Design teams work directly with clients who have included mathaf: arab museum of modern art, the Embassy of India in Qatar, and the Embassy of Japan in Qatar.

Studio 67–356
Design for Behavioral Change

Our behaviors are influenced in large part by the built world around us. Information, devices, physical environments and architectures all contribute to our decisions from what we consume to how we participate as citizens. Designers and technologists have a more direct hand in how our world takes shape and subsequently on people’s actions. In this studio, students employ a variety of human-centered design methods to shape to information, products, interactions, and environments, then test and iterate those ideas in a variety of contexts. Students practice a few of the ways designers act as agents of positive change for individuals, communities, and the environment.

Executive Education 99–405
Design for Organizational Change


Developed for organizational leaders who deal with intractable problems and with authority to drive change, this eight hour course helps participants frame and define organizational challenges, then advance solutions through practical frameworks. Participants are trained in thinking tools and visualization methods that can be used to shape innovative organizational strategy. From framing organizations as a complex, interconnected systems, participants then transfer this new knowledge to a vision of the future, clarifying high-level organizational values and designing an actionable plan for change. Co-taught with Ludmila Hyman, Ph.D.


51–263 Industrial Design Fundamentals
51–254 Design for People & Planet
51–261 Communication Design Fundamentals
51–302 Information Design
67–315 Interaction Design & Technology
67–316 Experiences in User Interface Design
70–508 International Management: China
70–508 International Management: Taiwan

05–651 HCII Interaction Studio 1
51–788 Design Thinking for Business
51–744 Research Methods

Carnegie Mellon School of Design Alexander RW Cheek

Carnegie Mellon School of Design Alexander RW Cheek

Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture Kelly Hutzell Rami El Samahy

Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture Kelly Hutzell Rami El Samahy