Honours Bachelor of Digital Experience Design (G301) – Industry Needs and Curriculum Flow

A curriculum that reflects changing industry demands

The Honours Bachelor of Digital Experience Design was created in consultation with industry, faculty, alumni and students. It provides specialized skills training, knowledge and hands-on experience to prepare students for current and future job market demands, as well as for graduate studies.

Industry representatives expressed the need for graduates who:

  • Create innovative digital products and user experiences using a variety of agile development methodologies
  • Excel at idea generation, rapid prototyping, and design thinking
  • Bridge artistic and technical roles, balancing visual design skills with coding and development
  • Understand how to conduct research, collect user requirements and test digital products
  • Think critically and creatively
  • Possess strong communication and soft skills
  • Work effectively as both team members and team leads
  • Are capable of managing projects
  • Can present compelling ideas to clients
  • Have an understanding of entrepreneurship and different business models related to digital media
  • See current and future connections between technologies and their application across sectors

Program Flow and the Courses

The curriculum is structured based on the digital experience design workflow, as well as the most important groups of skills identified by industry: Think, Make, Ship. As a result, graduates from this program will be able to work across the product development cycle by researching, conceptualizing, designing, prototyping, developing, testing, and commercializing digital solutions.

Courses build the students' abilities to design digital products and services, analyze cultural and social trends, master tools and assess their efficacy, predict technological evolution, test experiences, research possibilities and scholarship. They also will learn how to solve problems, critique practices, recognize precedents, ideate and innovate.

Lower-level courses (Years 1 and 2), such as Design Culture and Theory, Intro to Digital Experience Design, Design Thinking, Research in Digital Experience 1 and 2, teach foundational design skills, methods and theory.

Courses including Design Tools, Drawing, Computing, and Human Computer Interaction, as well as hands-on labs and workshop-based classes, develop students' mastery of design skills and processes, hardware and software.

Throughout the program, students are asked to apply their knowledge to generate real-world digital experience design solutions. In courses such as Design Jam, students are challenged to create and/or modify and develop designs on short notice, learning agile development methods that are common practice in industry.

To reflect the rapid pace of technological development and the ways in which different sectors are embracing digital disruption, this degree includes a series of "special topic" courses designed to be adapted to the latest trends. The first iteration of these courses focuses on: Internet of Things (IoT), Wearables, and the MUSH sector (municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals).

As a suite of courses, Entrepreneurship for Digital Design, Publishing & Distribution, and Commercialization expose students to business standards and ethics, as well as key issues such as patenting and intellectual property. In the development and presentation of various business, commercialization, publishing, and marketing plans, students will interpret and incorporate ethical concerns alongside the effective communication of aesthetic and functional characteristics of a digital product, system, and/or service to a variety of stakeholders.

Students learn how to conduct original research and analyze results. Research in Digital Experience 1, Research In Digital Experience 2, Digital Media Studies, and Trends in Digital Experience Design develop students' abilities to understand and critique secondary research, formulate questions, design and undertake their own qualitative and quantitative research, and synthesize and assess data to make sound recommendations based on informed conclusions.

The final year undertakes a comprehensive and cumulative approach with the capstone projects (Major Project 1: Research and Conceptualization and Major Project 2: Development and Production), in which students create a design brief, pitch, business framework, early prototype and justification, and finally subject their designs to a rigorous, iterative process from alpha, to beta, to release candidate, and finally to product and presentation.

Throughout, courses prepare students to work in a variety of environments, including design organizations, creative labs, academic settings, and independently. Due to the varied situations that graduates will encounter, students need to build competence in designing and participating in charrettes, design teams, multi-stakeholder groups, and independent ventures, while always approaching work in an ethical, accountable manner. The design sector is collaborative, and as such, this program emphasizes students' ability to work as productive members of a team to realize organizational goals and objectives.

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