Spring 2008 - UNST 162A, Design and Society, Syllabus
Cramer Hall 201
Cramer Hall 245
Please note that the syllabus will be adjusted during the quarter. I
reserve the right to change it at any time for any reason. You will see on
the WebCT homepage when a change has been made and are expected to check
WebCT and the class web-page before every class.
Class web-page: http://www.cs.pdx.edu/~sheard/course/Frinq/
Designers influence the creation of products, images, infrastructure and
environments surrounding us, both virtual and real. Acting in a deliberate
manner, designers engage with the problems facing their communities, and act
to solve them by developing pragmatic, creative and innovative solutions.
This course will use designers’ activities as an analogy for individuals in
other disciplines; in the end, everyone is a designer as they determine the
context and direction of their life. Using design as our focus, we will
explore individual responsibilities toward society: How can we act to bridge
the gap between design and ecological sustainability? How can individuals
acting locally compete within the global economy? Using hands-on activities,
case studies, and historical investigations, we will explore techniques for
design, visualization, and creative problem solving, and share our visions
for a future where designing, and by extension all activity, occurs in
harmony with natural systems.
Available in the PSU bookstore or online.
- The Design Process and Universal Design
- Brunelleschi’s Dome: Historic Perspective on designer’s role in society
- Building Bridges (hands-on activity)
- Sustainable and Natural Design
- Ethical Issues & Social Responsibility of the Designer: A Case Study Based Approach
- Moot Court, or Debate
- Individual 5 min presentations
- Required: They Say I Say by Graff & Birkenstein. ISBN-13: 978-0-393-92409-1. This is the
same book we required last semester. You don't need to buy it if you already have it.
Other Readings and Texts online
There are two pages of interest to the class
- WebCT: http://www.webct.pdx.edu/
utilizes WebCT to extend your learning environment beyond the classroom. You
will be using WebCT for continuing the discussions beyond the classroom, in
creating a digital portfolio, submitting your assignments and accessing
additional readings posted by your instructor. All changes to the course
syllabus and additional assignments will be posted on the course website.
If you have an ODIN account and are registered for the class you will be
given a WebCT account. Your name and password are the same as your ODIN
- Class web-page: http://www.cs.pdx.edu/~sheard/course/Frinq/
The class webpage maintains a "Daily Record" which catalogs every class activity.
Activities include lectures, mentor-sessions, reading assignments, writing assignments,
projects, etc. These are catalogued by day, both when they are assigned
and when they are due. You should check the daily record before every
class. Hopefully the material here will be the same as the material
on WebCT, except here it is organized by day, not by type of activity.
- PSU Odin account and registration in the course. These will give
you WebCT access, which is also required. If you don't have an account
you must get one immediately. You can do so online at:
https://www.account.pdx.edu/ After following those three steps you will
need to verify your identity at the help desk in the basement of Smith.
- Access to a computer with internet capability.
- Backup Storage. At least one 100 Mb Zip disk or CD-ROMS to store your assignments and
portfolio. Please make sure to back up and save ALL work for the entire
- Lego Robot Materials: Students will work in groups of 3 or 4 to
design and build Lego Robots. Detailed lists will be posted on
- A pack of 3" by 5" index cards. You will use these for
reading assignments, and for other class and mentor session activities.
Mentor sessions are an integral part of the course and provide an array of
learning experiences that will enable you to succeed in this course.
Attendance and participation will be part of your grade.
At the end of Spring term you will submit a portfolio showing your work and
demonstrating your progress against University Studies Goals. The fall portfolio
may be waived, the winter portfolio will be a mini-portfolio, the spring
(end of the year) portfolio, must be a web page and will be cumulative, and must
contain materials from all three quarters. So save ALL your work both
electronically and in hard copy at least until the end of the year. The spring
term portfolio will contain a final essay.
University Studies Goals
Inquiry based student learning is the cornerstone of the University Studies’
Freshman Inquiry courses. The goals are to develop those skills that will
be crucial to your academic success and beyond. The four major learning
goals of University Studies are:
The goals themselves, as well as grading rubrics used by instructors
to evaluate if students have met these goals can be found at:
- Inquiry and Critical Thinking
Students will learn various modes of inquiry through interdisciplinary
curricula problem-posing, investigating, conceptualizing in order to
become active, self-motivated, and empowered learners.
Students will enhance their capacity to communicate in various
ways -- writing, graphics, numeracy, and other visual and oral means to
collaborate effectively with others in group work, and to be competent
in appropriate communication technologies.
- The Variety of Human Experience
Students will enhance their appreciation for and understanding of the
rich complexity of the human experience through the study of
differences in ethnic and cultural perspectives, class, race, gender,
sexual orientation, and ability.
- Ethical Issues and Social Responsibility
Students will expand their understanding of the impact and value of
individuals and their choices on society, both intellectually and
socially, through group projects and collaboration in learning
Design and Society Learning Goals
By the end of this course students should be able to:
- Apply the steps in the design process to create original designs.
- Understand the interdisciplinary nature of the design process.
- Describe how design can improve social and physical systems and
explain the societal responsibilities of the designer in areas such as
sustainable development and social justice.
- Demonstrate mathematics skills, including application of basic
physical laws to contextual problems, testing the functionality of
designs, setting and meeting benchmark requirements.
- Analyze a design in terms of the context of the systems in which it
operates - human interaction with the design, cultural context, natural
harmony, and technical functionality
- Design and solve problems in a team-based culture using effective
communication, cooperation, trust and respect. Take advantage of
individual thinking styles and cultural diversity to strengthen a team.
Grading and Assignments
In Spring term we will be doing one four units
(The Insider, Business Ethics, Case Studies, Moot Court (or debate)) and the final portfolio.
The products you will produce and be graded on
are: 1) an individual presentation, 2) a term paper, 3) 2 short papers,
and 4) an on-line final portfolio. We'll also have almost weekly
reading assignments and reading comprehension activities (quizzes, work-sheets, discussions)
and several short (1-2 page) writing assignments. Course grade will be based
roughly on the following, however changes to assignments may change this
Please save your work throughout the year. You will need it for the
preparing a cumulative portfolio each quarter. Your Mentor records
your mentor session participation and attendance and has direct
input in your grade. Final grade is assigned by the instructor.
- 25% Class participation, including
- Attendance (7%)
- Reading Comprehension Activities (quizzes, work-sheets, etc) (6%)
- Class Preparation activities (reading notes, 1st drafts, products for peer review, etc) (6%)
- Class Participation in Discussion and in Mentor Sessions (6%)
- 75% Assignments and Projects including, but not limited to:
- Individual presentation (10%)
- Team moot court or debate (10%)
- Term Paper (8 pages) (20%)
- 2 Short papers (4 pages each) (15%)
- Final portfolio (20%)
Work not turned in, unacceptable work or an absence from class when
the work was done receives no credit. In addition if more than five
classes (main and/or mentor) are missed the quarter grade will be
reduced by one full letter grade. You will be marked absent for the
day if you miss more than ten minutes of class. You will receive a
failing grade if you miss a total of 10 instructor lead classes or
mentor sessions or a combination thereof, despite your grades on
Readiness to learn means that you will come to class with questions
and insights to offer to others and be prepared to discuss the
assigned reading. We will be learning from each other and your
voice is important. Your participation grade will include
attendance, participation in class discussions, participation in
online discussions, and group work in class on smaller design
problems and case studies.
The following constitutes conduct as proscribed by Portland State
University for which a student or student organization or group is
subject to disciplinary action:
All forms of academic dishonesty, cheating, and fraud, including but
not limited to: (a) plagiarism, (b) the buying and selling of course
assignments and research papers, (c) performing academic assignments
(including tests and examinations) for other persons, (d)
unauthorized disclosure and receipt of academic information and (e)
falsification of research data.
Source: Office of Student
Affairs at Portland State University, Code of Student Conduct and
Responsibility. A copy of the full code can be found at
A copy can be obtained from
The Office of Student Affairs at Smith Memorial Center Room 433.
The Writing Center at Portland State University has prepared
PLAGARISM: A Guide for Students to assist students in understanding
plagiarism and developing strategies on avoiding it. A copy of this
guide is available from Writing Center located in Cramer Hall 188F.
Please read it carefully. Or see
Scholarly work resulting from plagiarism or cheating will
receive no credit and all expectations of student conduct code will
be strictly enforced in class.
If you have a disability and are in need of academic accommodations,
please notify me (the instructor) immediately to arrange needed
support. For more information about the Disability Resource Center,
The Writing Center - 188F Cramer Hall, 725-3570. The Writing Center is
available for PSU students needing relatively minor or specific help
with a piece of writing. The Writing Center can also give students
advice on citing sources, avoiding plagiarism, etc.
Writing for International Students or Non-Native English Speakers -
Classes are available for students with language and/or cultural
issues, and need major help with writing. The classes are LING 115,
Writing for Non-Native Residents, from the Linguistics Department,
or WR 121, College Writing for International Students, from the
English Department. The linguistics course emphasizes language and
cultural skills and the English course emphasizes the writing
process. For additional advice in the Linguistics Department contact
Ruth Chapin (725-4147) or Judy Reed (725-8793).
Other: A one-credit supplemental writing course, WR 199, Grammar
Refresher, is offered by the English Department for students with
more serious writing needs and can be taken concurrently with FRINQ.
WR 115, Introduction to College Writing, is for students feeling
overwhelmed with the prospect of college-level writing. The English
Department also has a number of course offerings dealing with
writing research papers and within the disciplines for more advanced
writers. For additional advice in the English Department contact
Hildy Miller (725-3563).
Back to the class web-page.