Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The USU Design Studio

This semester, I am participating in something exciting at USU and have the opportunity to make a difference on campus. I am part of a team of 14 people who are taking on the challenge of designing a new, interactive web site for student services. Our goal is to create a 'one stop shop' experience for students and bring all information provided by student services to one place. We want to make it as engaging and interactive as possible. We are working collaboratively with the Business Innovation Factory in Rhode Island. They are guiding us through the design experience and we are currently in the Immersion phase of the project.

The first two weeks were spent learning about the details of the project and what the plan for the semester is. The class from last semester worked on the research and gathering the data needed. This semester, we plan to design what we, as students, would like to see implemented at USU.

The third week of class was spent interviewing significant stakeholders in this project. We talked to the VP of student services and most of the directors of each service (Admissions, Financial Aid, Advising, Student Success and Retention, Access and Diversity etc). The purpose of this was to briefly learn about each department. The class was divided into teams of two and each team will be a liaison for each department and will be the ones to contact if more information is needed.

This week, our team assignment is to conduct interviews with our specific departments. I have been assigned to the Access and Diversity Center. Our interview is scheduled for Thursday morning and we hope to obtain more specific and detailed information about the department. We also want to find out what this specific department's strength and weaknesses are and what their long-term goals are. In order to deliver the best model, we need to implement parts that will work for every department.

At the end of the semester, we will prepare a brief on our findings as well as a preliminary model of what we propose this new website should contain. We will present our ideas to the President of the University, The Provost Office and any other decision-making departments. If our ideas are liked and approved, USU will work towards implementing our findings.

I think this experience will be really beneficial for me. It provides necessary skills such as interviewing, research, and designing a new product model. And it will look really good on a resume, which is always a good thing. I will try to update my blog throughout the semester with our findings and also use this as a way to document this experience.

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