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.


On successful completion of this course, you will be able to:
- summarise and debate communication design issues from different viewpoints
- paraphrase concepts such as discourse, authorship, practice, modernity, and epistemology
- explain the notions of material and designerly knowledge
- identify connections between communication design and theoretical frameworks beyond design theory

Credits: 6

Schedule: 14.09.2021 - 20.10.2021

Teacher in charge (valid for whole curriculum period):

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Arja Karhumaa, Amelie Scharffetter

Contact information for the course (applies in this implementation):

Responsible teacher Arja Karhumaa,

Teaching assistant Amelie Scharffetter,

CEFR level (valid for whole curriculum period):

Language of instruction and studies (applies in this implementation):

Teaching language: English. Languages of study attainment: English


  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    An introduction to contemporary discussions and theories within visual communication design. Special attention is paid to design's inheritance from modernity, the nature of knowing and knowledge in different domains, and the notion of designerly and material knowledge. Relevant theories in other fields beyond design theory are also discussed, along with their potential contribution to design practice. In addition to lectures and discussions in class, a significant part of the course consists of working in independent reading groups, where thematic course literature is explored through reading, writing, and conversation.

  • applies in this implementation

    The course will be running on campus, with a few online sessions (see course schedule in Mycourses for details).

    Hybrid participation is possible in case you reside outside Finland during this course OR are unable to come on campus due to reasons related to the covid-19 pandemic.

    If you require hybrid participation (online via zoom) please let the teachers know before the course/class begins:

    About the course content:

    The classes consist of lectures, discussions, and assignments. Significant part of the course work is done in individual reading groups. The reading group meetings acquire reading and writing both before and after the meetings. 

    The reading groups groups also work with a final presentation which is a synthesis of their discussions. This will contribute to a joint course installation in the Väre lobby area.

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Discussions, reading group work and blog posts. Successful completion of the course requires 80 % attendance in class, 100% attendance in reading group meetings, and that all writing exercises as well as the group work are completed and approved. 

  • applies in this implementation

    The course is evaluated as either pass or fail. 

    In order to pass the course, the student has to 

    - be present on at least 80 % of class hours  (= 9 h unexcused absence allowed, absences up to 16 h can be negotiated with extra assignments but only in case teacher contacted well before end of course)

    - be present on all of the reading group meetings (if this is an issue, please contact the teacher early)

    - submit all the writing assignments for the reading group work in the length given

    - take part in the finalisation of group assignment

    If any of these aspects are missing at the end of the course, it's possible you fail the course.

  • applies in this implementation

    6 ECTS amounts to 162 hours of student work, of which

    - 44 h spent in class

    - 118 h independent work, calculated as

    • 30 h reading
    • 24 h writing
    • 6 h reading group meetings
    • 10 h reading group assignment
    • 48 h time to think


Study Material
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Announced in the beginning of the course.

  • applies in this implementation

    Reading lists are announced on mycourses at the beginning of the course.

Substitutes for Courses


Further Information
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Teaching Period:

    2020-2021 Autumn I

    2021-2022 Autumn I

    Course Homepage:

    Registration for Courses: Sisu replaces Oodi on 9 August, 2021. Priority order to courses is according to the order of priority decided by the Academic committee for School of Arts, Design and Architecture:

Details on the schedule
  • applies in this implementation

    Detailed schedule will be announced and published on mycourses at the beginning of the course.