Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years, which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

* Identify the focus of their own design practice.

* Understand their competences and capabilities as a designer.

* Apply personally suitable textual and visual format to present their talent as a designer.

* Organise their work in a format of a professional portfolio.

* Explore and evaluate potential professional fields and contexts where to work after graduation.

* Generate a ‘map’ of potential working environments for the future career.  

Credits: 2

Schedule: 20.04.2021 - 18.05.2021

Teacher in charge (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022): Maarit Mäkelä

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Krista Kosonen, Maarit Mäkelä

Contact information for the course (valid 25.03.2021-21.12.2112):

Krista Kosonen

+358 50 5634506

CEFR level (applies in this implementation):

Language of instruction and studies (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022):

Teaching language: English

Languages of study attainment: English


  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    The aim of the course is to explore and articulate focus of students own design practice and their competencies. They will envision potential ways of, and contexts for practicing as a professional designer, as well as meditate on the organization of their practice. Finally, the students try out where, how and with whom to practice design in the future by benchmarking and contacting relevant stakeholders.

    The main objective of the course is to understand the emerging field of contemporary design and position one’s own practice as part of that professional field. The course acknowledges and discusses the transforming profile of designers today, and its implications on potential, relevant career paths. The outcome of the course is a ‘map’ of potential working environments for contemporary designers.

    The course consists in two phases: (I) Finding my own way in the field: question, verbalise and discuss professional identity, and the drivers of one’s practice (II) Mapping the framework for professional practice: processing and interpreting the reflections and ideating what and how to navigate towards after master’s studies. Phase II ends in taking action: contacting personally relevant stakeholders to pilot attempts and establishing relationships with interesting collaborators for future design practice.

  • Applies in this implementation:

    NOTE: This year the course is arranged only as a 2 cr course. Due to this, the content is less demanding, even though the focus of the course is the same. Some of the learning outcomes, such as creating a professional portfolio & generating a map of potential working environments do not apply in this course. The course content & learning outcomes will be presented in detail during the first contact teaching day, 20.4.

    The course is organised as online teaching via Zoom.

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    For passing the first part of the course, the student must participate lectures and group activity (80%) and submit a coherent portfolio with comments and annotations situating the foci of their own practice. For the second part of the course, the student has to provide a reflection about professional desirables, conduct benchmarking about contexts for pursuing them and/or execute an interview with a chosen stakeholder. The assesment as is based on active participation during the lectures and group activity, and quality of the portfolio and other individual work.

  • Applies in this implementation:

    NOTE: This year the course is arranged only as a 2 cr course. To pass the course, the student must participate in lectures & group activity (80%) and submit & present a visualisation of his/her/their professional practice according to the instructions given in the course. The assessment is based on activity of participation during the contact teaching, the level of reflection & the quality of the visualisation exercise. Emphasis in the evaluation is on the personal commitment to the assignments and individual learning experience during the course.

  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    54-135 h / 2-5 cr

    Contact teaching including lectures, visits, and assignments 30-55 h

    Independent/group work including benchmarking & field study 19-65 h

    Personal reflection 5-15 h

  • Applies in this implementation:

    Contact teaching 33 h
    Independent work 21 h


Study Material
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Kosonen, K. (2018). Finding One's Own Way in Design. Reflections on Narrative Professional Identity. Helsinki: Aalto University (Chapter 2 + selected chapters)


    Other literature sources will be given during the course.

  • Applies in this implementation:

    The teacher will give a reading assignment before the course from the book presented above. The text will be sent to the students via email 1-2 weeks before the course starts. 

  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    At least three completed courses from Contemporary Design study offering.

SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    17 Partnerships for the Goals


Details on the schedule
  • Applies in this implementation:

    Preliminary content of the contact sessions:

    Tue 20.4. 9.15-15: Sensitizing workshop, presentations & introduction to the course

    Thu 22.4. 9.15-12 Lecture of visual narrative identity / Krista Kosonen. Discussion on given reading assignment.

    Tue 27.4. 9.15-15 Visual narrative identity workshop

    Thu 29.4. 9.15-16 Visual narrative identity workshop presentations

    Tue 4.5. 9.15-14 Lectures of own practice & position in the field / Liisa Kaunisvirta & Hanna-Kaisa Korolainen. Visualization & reflection assignment: own works & influencers

    Thu 6.5. 9.15-12 Strengths & skills session. Visualization & reflection assignment: strengths & skills.

    Tue 11.5. 9.15-12 Lecture  of curating / Elina Aalto. Visualization & reflection assignment: imagining futures & positions.

    Tue 18.5. 9.15-15 Final presentations.