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*** Notice to students, parents, and project partners, the nature of the Design Thinking & Communication program has been altered to meet the University’s COVID-19 safety precautions. The information below may not accurately define the experience for the ’20-’21 academic year. We are dedicated to providing an educational and thoughtful experience for all parties involved.

To help you propose a project that will be accepted for Design Thinking and Communications (DTC), we have put together some advice. Keep reading to learn more. 

What kinds of projects are suitable for DTC?

A suitable DTC project proposal is user-centered, open-ended, and feasible for first-year engineering students to complete within two months.

Proposals that are not suitable for students enrolled in DTC include those that:

What makes a good DTC project?

It's important for a DTC project proposal to have what we call an open design statement. An example of an open design statement is "help a person remove snow from their roof in the winter." An example of a non-open design statement is "build a 3-feet high by 4-feet wide by 10-feet long wooden ramp for a person in a wheelchair to enter their home."

It's also important for you to be able to put the student team in contact with end users for user testing. The students need to be able to meet with the specific person who will use the prototype after it's built. The students must meet with end users at least twice during the term.

Usually, the project should be medium in scale in size. That means the project is likely to fit on a tabletop. However, we will consider projects with a larger scale. 

Examples of past DTC Projects

In the fall and winter terms, first-year Northwestern Engineering students enrolled in Design Thinking and Communications (DTC) work on projects that make a positive social impact, with a special focus on projects for people with disabilities. In the spring term, first-year students enrolled in DTC work on projects to solve everyday challenges.

Previous DTC Projects
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