Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years (1.8.2018-31.7.2020), 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.


On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate skills in academic discourse, presentation and critique
  • Communicate research to new audiences
  • Give and receive feedback in a constructive manner
  • Understand and discuss current topics in design research
  • Contribute constructively to fellow researchers' ongoing work

Credits: 2

Schedule: 23.09.2020 - 12.05.2021

Teacher in charge (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022): Elise Hodson

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Elise Hodson

Contact information for the course (valid 26.08.2020-21.12.2112):

Elise Hodson

Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Design

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:

    Presentation, reading and discussion of research papers and ongoing research work by doctoral students, senior researchers and professors. This course for doctoral students also serves as a forum for department-level sharing of research results. Occasionally, we invite academics from outside our department to further stimulate our work.

  • Applies in this implementation:

    The seminar is a great way to practice a presentation and get feedback on your work, as well as to learn about current design research at Aalto.

    Doctoral students in the School of Arts, Design and Architecture may enrol in this course, space permitting.

    The presentations are open to anyone in the Aalto community who wishes to attend. You are welcome to invite others to your presentation.

    Presentations will be listed on this Facebook page:

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    2 credits: participation (attending 80%) and presenting a paper

    2 additional (optional) credits: serving as a discussant

  • Applies in this implementation:

    Credits are based on participating and presenting. Students are expected to attend the monthly seminar and contribute to class discussion based on presentations.

    Evaluation is pass/fail. Students may either:

    a) Give a presentation and attend at least 80% of classes - worth 2 credits


    b) Give a presentation, attend at least 80% of classes, and respond to another speaker - worth 4 credits

    There are a limited number of spots in the presentation schedule. Please fill out the google form and indicate a potential topic and preferred dates.

    If necessary, Department of Design doctoral students will be prioritized when assigning spots in the presentation schedule.


    At least one month before their presentation: students are encouraged to suggest a discussant from outside the class and possibly outside of Aalto. This should be someone who is familiar with the topic and who can provide feedback on content. This can be in addition to a student discussant from the class. Send the person's name, title and email to so I can invite them.

    Two weeks before their presentation, students submit: an abstract, along with their name, school, and year (e.g. 1st year PhD student), and a sentence describing what kind of feedback they are looking for (e.g. feedback on the argumentation of a draft conference paper, or feedback on methods outlined in a research proposal). Email the abstract to This will be sent out to all DoD and Arts researchers as an invitation to attend the talk. It will also be posted on the course Facebook page.

    One week before their presentation, students submit: a paper - this can be a draft document or something previously submitted that you intend to revise or build on. Email the paper to It will be posted on MyCourses for the rest of the class to read ahead of time, and shared with any discussants.

    Presentation: should be directly related to the paper, but should also be understandable for an audience that has not read your paper. Presentations may not exceed 20 minutes in length.

    Discussants: Students can sign up to be a discussant at the start of the course. Discussants should prepare comments and questions based on the content and/or structure of the paper and presentation. This should last no longer than 10 minutes, including any discussion with the presenter. In the week following the presentation, discussants send the paper with any comments (about content, structure, writing, etc.) to the presenter and copy

    All students: are expected to read each other's papers and contribute to class discussion.

  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Participation in seminar sessions approximately once a month, including reading presenters' papers ahead of time and contributing to class discussion.

    Preparation and delivery of one presentation.

    Optional: serving as a discussant.



Study Material
  • Applies in this implementation:

    Presentation schedule, student papers and abstracts will be stored under 'materials' in MyCourses.

Registration for Courses
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:


  • Applies in this implementation:


Further Information
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Minimum number of participants: 8

    This course is open to doctoral students across the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, however preference is given to those in the Department of Design.

  • Applies in this implementation:


Registration and further information