Topic outline

  • Design Impact I, 2022

    Notice: Final poster sized has been changed to 50x70 cm!

    Course Description
    Credits:  3 ECTS

    Rupesh Vyas
    Teacher in Charge
    Turkka Keinonen
    Teacher in Charge
    Lisa Staudinger

    Goals / Learning Outcome: 
    The course introduces (information) visualization as a tool for observation, self-reflection & communication. Students will learn to utilize the strength of visuals as a tool for research and creating insight into complex phenomena, as well as reflect on their learning achievements during the first academic year.
    At the end of the course, students should be able to: 

    • recognise, summarize and reflect on their own learning achievements
    • critically reflect on the role of design in their environments
    • have a solid understanding of the basics of visual communication
    • apply (information) visualization to interpret and create insight into complex problems

    Main course project:
    Visualization As an Act of Witnessing
    Explore an economical, cultural, societal or environmental effect of design on your community/surroundings. The aim is not necessarily to find definitive answers, but stimulate curiosity, reflection, discussion and debate. 
    Students should develop a leading, critical question about their environment, which they attempt to investigate by recording data themselves. Students need to choose an appropriate way of framing their investigation/results and present their work in the form of an A1 poster, which will be exhibited in the final Design Impact course event. 

    Final submissions:

    • Assignment 1 (Learning reflections & visual narrative)
    • Assignment 2 (Design & social justice)
    • Main Course Project, 1 poster, A1 50x70 cm, printed & PDF + short video presentation (max 5min)
    • Course journal, explaining the process/thinking behind the main project, as well as reflections on the course lectures 
    All course submissions are done through MyCourses. 


    • The total workload for the course amounts to 81 hours (1 ECTS credit = 27 hours).
    • Contact teaching (including final presentation) 35 hours
    • Individual and group work 37 hours
    • Personal reflection 8 hours
    • Giving course feedback for 1 hour
    Schedule :
    Week 1 – Wednesday, 20 April, 09:15 » 12:30
    09:15 – 09:45: Introduction to the course 
    09:50 – 10:50: Introduction to the course project
    11:00 – 12:00: Learning reflections & visual narrative (lecture)
    Week 2 – Wednesday, 27 April, 09:15 » 16:00
    9:15 – 12:00: Visual Basics (lecture)
    13:00– 14:00: Working on the course project (Creating questions)
    14:00 – 14:45: Assignment recap
    Week 3 – Wednesday, 4 May, 09:15 » 17:00, Room U406a Otakaari 1
    09:15 – 10:00: Design and social justice (lecture)
    10:00 – 12:00: Working on the course project (Discussion on concept notes in groups)
    13:00 – 17:00: Drawing with data (lecture)
    Week 4 – Wednesday, 11 May, 09:15 » 16:00, Room Y347 Otakaari 1
    09:15 – 11:00: Introduction to poster design (lecture)
    11:00 – 12:00 Impact I & II Students meet
    13:00 – 14:00: Tour of the Aalto Printlab
    14:00 – 16:00 Working on the course project (feedback session)
    One week break
    Week 5 – Wednesday, 25 May, 09:15 » 12:00, Room Y346 Otakaari 1 via Zoom
    Project feedback session with the teachers
    Week 6 – Friday, 3 June, 09:15 » 17:00 
    Exhibition/presentation of the course projects, final course event
    Wednesday, 8 June Submit your Course Journal & Main Course Project to MyCourses

    Students must attend and display active participation in at least 80% of the contact teachings. Participation in the final event in week 6 is mandatory.

    The course consists of lectures, in-class exercises, learning assignments, a course journal, and a final project poster which will be presented during the last session. The final grade is calculated based on the student’s performance in all of these areas and their overall participation in the course, in the following way:

    20% Contributions to in-class discussions and group work
    This grade is determined by the teachers based on whether the student: 

    – Attends all classes and arrives on time. 
    – Does all required in-class assignments. 
    – Demonstrates knowledge of course content. 
    – Contributes to class discussion with thoughtful questions, comments and examples. 
    – Is attentive and participates actively in class activities. 
    – Respects, listens, and supports classmates. 
    – Gives constructive feedback and takes others’ feedback into account.

    20% Course Journal
    – Critically reflects on the course content and the students’ own learnings
    – Documents inspiration, ideation and iterative processes of the final project
    – Format is appropriate and readable

    10% Learning Assignments
    Assignment 1 (Learning reflections & visual narrative)
    Assignment 2 (Design & social justice)

    50% Main course project 
    Identifies a focused impact of design on a community, and discusses the topic critically.
    Builds on discussions from the course.
    Includes your own research on the topic. 
    Presents a creative, thought-provoking exploration of the topic.
    The narrative and visual style is appropriate in conveying the content.
    Effective use of imagery and text.
    The layout reflects course learnings about visual and information design.
    Meets format requirements.
    Meets deadlines.
    Participates in in-class project work.
    Creates concept notes to collaborate and build ideas.
    Brings drafts to class for discussion. 
    Takes feedback into account
    Submits a video presentation for grading.

    All assignments will be evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5:
    1 = Poor
    2 = Satisfactory
    3 = Good
    4 = Very good
    5 = Excellent

    Additional Info:
    The course will be held in different classrooms every week, so make sure to check the location on MyCourses beforehand, and plan in enough time to find the room (Otakaari 1 can be tricky to navigate!).
    Please bring paper and pencils to every class, laptops are optional but helpful. 
    Communication with the students will be done primarily through MyCourses. 
    Final course event
    The final course event will be held together with students from Design Impact II & III, with faculty and guests attending. The event will last the whole day, with student presentations/poster shows in the morning, and a workshop in the afternoon. Participation in the final event is mandatory.