During my education at Malmö University I was a tutor for first and second year Interaction design students. I graded assignments and helped students with their assignments for courses like programming in processing and java as well as mobile application development for android and 3D modelling with 3D Studio Max.
After graduating I was hired by Malmö University as an adjunct lecturer for two and a half years at the School of Arts and Communication (K3). During my time there I was involved in a variety of courses mainly within the Interaction Design program but also contributing to courses at other programs and stand-alone courses. With tutoring as my only experience in teaching, I approached the job as an interaction designer (I also took a course on teaching in higher education to improve my pedagogical skills). I thought of students as users and tried to design every learning activity to meet their needs while achieving learning objectives. Course evaluations and student feedback are already common practice in higher education and fit in naturally in my process, informing every new iteration of a lecture, workshop or assignment.
Here is a description of the courses I taught on and my role in them:
Mobile Application Development
I taught on some courses that focused on mobile app development for android where my focus was on designing and implementing user interfaces, following android design guidelines, developing graphical profiles and design patterns.
Methods in Interaction Design
I planned a course in the Interaction design bachelor’s program that focused on design process and research methods. I wrote a design brief for the students on the topic of public interactive displays and the role of smartphones in relation to them. We then helped the students go through the process of researching the topic, conducting field work to gather information, develop concepts, create prototypes and then test them.
Interaction Design stand-alone course
This course is a one semester elective course that introduces students to the field of interaction design and its methodologies. It is intended to give students from other disciplines some interaction design perspective or prepare other students for the bachelor program. In the past I was involved in teaching sketching and concept development as well as supervising and critiquing project work. In my last time teaching on this course I was also the course coordinator and handled planning course activities and the overall progression of the course. The topics I covered are similar to the ones in the methods course and the visual communication course, albeit on a level more suitable for students who are unfamiliar with the field.
As part of the Interaction design bachelor’s program, the visual communication course is intended to develop the students’ ability to visualize concepts and communicate them. The course covers sketching skills, basic principles of graphic design and gestalt theory, using digital image editing tools and developing prototypes for the web.
My main responsibilities were to plan and coordinate course activities with the other teachers as well as hold workshops on sketching as tool for design, storyboarding interaction and using Photoshop to create digital mock-ups and composite photos for user interfaces. Here’s a quick timelapse of how I start one of the early workshops on basic sketching skills:
3D modeling and digital environments
This course aimed to familiarize students with 3D modelling, designing digital environments and implementing them in a game engine, as well as discussing applications for virtual reality.
I was also responsible for planning course activities, teaching basic 3D modeling techniques using 3D Studio Max, applying visual communication skills to designing environments and spatial narrative. As course coordinator I also helped the teacher in charge of teaching Unity in planning his classes and assignments to fit with the course plan.
One of my favorite courses in the interaction design bachelor program. I ran the game analysis and modding assignments for this course. For the game mod, we chose to have the students analyze and then mod a simple board game named “Up the River”. I planned and evaluated a game journal assignment which consisted of writing a series of blog posts covering various topics like cheating in games and dissecting moments in games and identifying feedback elements. I also talked about dramatic elements in games, character design, pitching and experimental design process.
Another great thing about this course is the game project where I gave feedback and critique in several design reviews during the development of the game prototypes. The focus of the project was to design games and playful experiences with novel modes of interaction and input. Below for example is a hang-gliding game prototype developed by some of our students.
Game design projects: Ravine. Beautiful hang-glider game@MalmoUniversity#gamedesign#interactiondesignpic.twitter.com/4iyuXmWqZj
— JaffarSalih (@JaffarSalih) March 18, 2016
Experimental Game Interactions
This course is a stand-alone course in game design and experimental games as defined by the experimental gameplay workshop, but focusing on experimental and novel interactions and interfaces. Students in this course come from a variety of different educational backgrounds and it is very popular among exchange students in the fall. The content of the course and the variety in student backgrounds often make for very interesting projects.
I cover topics like explorative design processes and methods like bodystorming and paper prototyping as well dramatic elements in experimental games.
As part of the stand-alone Character Design course at Malmö University, I ran a 2 day workshop on character design for games. The course introduces students to character design in several mediums like literature, comics, games as well as the roles of sound and lighting in character design. Over the three times I gave this workshop my approach to this topic has also evolved and I must say I learned more about it every time I prepared for the workshop.
The workshop ideas like applying visual communication and gestalt theory to design simple characters that are quickly readable, but also discussing game mechanics as a part of the design of a character and character development in relation to player skill development.