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How to Teach UX: Methods and Philosophies

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When General Assembly decided to add a new full-time, immersive program to its suite of educational offerings, user experience (UX) design was the clear topic of choice. UX is a rapidly growing field looking for talented designers passionate about shaping the future, and we were excited to design a program that prepared these folks to do just that. With that, the User Experience Design Immersive (UXDI) program was born.

UXDI is truly the first of its kind. We’ve been able to take skills and methods that have developed over the last 20 years and turned them into one of the first formal programs to teach UX design. Through the process of creating the course, we learned a lot about how UX should be taught, and developed the following three guiding philosophies:

1. Embrace Ambiguity

“It depends” is a key part of any UX designer’s vocabulary, but its use in a classroom environment can lead to pretty significant frustration. There are plenty of reasons why teaching UX is quite ambiguous; this is, after all, a rapidly evolving field that prides itself on prioritizing the user and not trying to find the best answer, but rather going after better answers.

UX Design: Embrace Ambiguity

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Required Reading: Jacob Cohen

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Name: Jacob Cohen
Classes Taught: Naming Essentials, Innovating with the Business Model Canvas

Jacob’s history with computers began in 1984 with a diploma for “computer excellence” from Ronald Reagan, a document held in low regard by his tech-savvy but liberal Oregon family. Over the course of his career his focus has been on creating and designing engaging experiences for users using innovative technology. He loves technologies that make life more convenient and improve communication. Over the last 12 years he’s developed a talent for building teams of designers and developers driven by a focused strategy and pushing the boundaries of technology.

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