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Propose a DTC Project

Project partners are a vital component of our design courses, who work closely with their team of students. We seek projects for fall, winter, and spring terms. We welcome you to submit project ideas at any time, but please know that we set a deadline for projects for each term. These deadlines typically are scheduled at the beginning of September, December, and March for the fall, winter, and spring terms, respectively.

What to Expect

We will partner you with up to four teams of four students each with faculty lead(s), who will schedule meetings with you. During these meetings, they will learn about your problem, ask questions about the problem, learn who they should design the solution for, insight from the people using the solutions, and testing their potential solutions. Tentative dates and time commitments for the term are below and will be finalized when you are partnered with a class. Generally, all meetings take up to an hour. 

Initial Meeting (1-2 hours)

You meet the student teams, present the project, and answer questions to help the students gain an understanding of your problem. Students and faculty will follow up regarding observation of the individual(s) using the product and the design challenge if applicable. This meeting generally happens during the first week of classes (September for Fall, January for Winter, and March for Spring). 

User Observation (1-2 hours)

You connect the teams with users of the project. The teams meet and observe the user as well as the design challenge in action. A prerecorded video can also serve as user observation. Preferably student teams will meet in person with the person(s) using the designed solution.  Although, virtual accommodations may be possible. Student teams generally meet with these users, at least once, during the second month of the quarter (October for Fall, February for Winter, and April for Spring). 

User Testing (1-2 hours)

Teams will share initial design ideas and mock-ups (models) in order to try them out and collect feedback. Testing may be scheduled over one or two meetings with you and/or the project-user you identified. Preferably student teams will meet in person with the person(s) using the designed solution. Although, virtual accommodations may be possible. Student teams generally meet with these users, at least once, during the third month of the quarter (November for Fall, March for Winter, and May for Spring). 

Final Presentation (1 hour)

The final meeting is also the students' final exam, where the students will present their finished prototype, and you will receive it. Final prototypes will demonstrate the design concept and may include a physical device, CAD or graphical sketches, storyboards, videos, or other medium.

Ready to Submit a Project Proposal?

Please have answers ready to these questions:

If you have any questions or would like to discuss a project before submitting it, feel free to email Bayleigh Smith, Project Coordinator for the Segal Design Institute at bayleigh.smith@northwestern.edu.

If your proposal is accepted, you will be given a hard copy of the Student & Partner Understandings Form (PDF) to sign and return. Please read this form before submitting a project proposal so that you clearly understand what is expected of a project partner.

 


DTC Project Proposal Form

* Required

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