GDES-420 Design Capstone (3 credits): Students engage in the research, conceptualization, design, and execution of multifaceted, multi-component, and cross-media complex design projects. Students also devote time to the preparation of senior portfolios. AU Core Integrative Requirement: Capstone. Usually Offered: spring. Prerequisite: GDES-400 or GDES-405.
The goals of this course are to:
- Apply and demonstrate design thinking, creative approaches to problem solving, and production skills.
- Combine and apply the conceptual, planning, managing, and creative skills acquired in the major.
- Fine-tune professional skills for conception, presentation, and execution of design.
- Review fundamental professional issues such as basic contractual agreements, applied intellectual property concepts, and professional ethics.
On completing this course you will be able to:
- Competently conceive of, design, and develop comprehensive, multi-faceted design projects.
- Generate design concepts relevant to content, as well as design, develop, and produce effective design solutions.
- Demonstrate mature knowledge of design concepts, practices, and terminology.
- Discuss, present, and explain design processes and solutions.
In this course, you will develop the following skills and knowledge:
- Application. Build on prior knowledge, skills, or dispositions in a new context.
- Synthesis. Identify and execute a significant project that addresses a substantive disciplinary or professional concern.
- Reflection. Articulate the knowledge, skills, or dispositions gained during the student’s undergraduate education or used in the project.
Structure and time
American University has moved classes online for January 2021. For the month of January, this course will run in a synchronous, online format. We’ll meet using a combination of Zoom (for audio/video chat) and Miro (as an online whiteboard).
As of the start of the semester, the rest of the course is planned to run in-person. That may change as events unfold.
Dates and times
All dates and times are Washington, D.C. local time.
Tools, materials, and reading
Reading and information sources
There is no required textbook, though reading materials may be assigned over the course of the semester. The design program strongly encourages participation in AIGA and other professional organizations. The instructor may require attendance at design-related events.
The regular reading of at least one graphic design publication is critical for awareness of issues in design, and is a requirement for this course.
Collaboration and communication tools
- This website is your main source for information. The schedule, assignments, and most course information will be published here. Bookmark this site.
- Grades are on Canvas . Some copyrighted reading will be posted there.
- Our synchronous (real-time) video meetings will take place on Zoom. (Link and password are on Canvas .)
- We’ll use Miro for visual comments during discussions and critiques. Accounts are free for students, but you won’t need to sign up. (Password is on Canvas .)
- I’ll send any critical, all-class messages as announcements within Canvas. Make sure that Canvas will notify you when you receive a message. (How to set Canvas notifications settings.)
Policies and expectations
Projects and grading
The course schedule, assignments, and these percentages may change.
- 65% Capstone project
- 35% Portfolio review and portfolio site
- Participation modifies grade as necessary
Process and due dates
Projects in this class build through iteration. You will need to turn in evidence of your process, so keep versions of your files and paper sketches as they progress. Projects not seen in progress during previous classes will receive a failing grade.
- A/A- (excellent) Work that is clearly superior.
- B+/B/B- (good) Work that reflects a strong understanding of the material.
- C+/C/C- (fair) Work that shows basic competence and fulfills the requirements of the assignment.
- D (poor) Work that is unsatisfactory or inadequate.
- F (failing) This grade is assigned for failure to complete work in a timely and competent manner, or for non-attendance.
Attendance and the classroom
Come to class, on time. It is better to show up late than not to arrive at all. You can miss one class, for any reason, without penalty. Additional absences or missed class time will count against your course grade; final grades drop by 4% for each unexcused absence.
Grounds for excused absences are illness, religious observances, family emergencies, and military or jury service. (If you’re sick, stay home.) You do not need to provide a note, but you must let me know by email.
In the classroom, conduct yourself professionally, in a way that shows respect for your fellow students, your instructor, and the material. Do not record audio or video; if you need a recording, your instructor will arrange for one.
Citations and academic integrity
You’ll need to provide citations for every piece of work that you didn’t make yourself. This includes text, images, ideas, and code. It includes images that you edited, images that you traced, and even images that you merely used as references for your own illustrations. Citations can appear within pieces or as separate documents. Use APA, MLA, or Chicago citation formats.
Standards of academic conduct are set forth in the university’s Academic Integrity Code. See your instructor if you have questions about academic violations described in the code, as they apply in this course.
The best way to reach me is through email (firstname.lastname@example.org); I typically check email on weekday mornings.
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