This week's class is all about testing and rapid iteration. I was able to get students trial accounts for UserTesting.com but for some reason the trial did not work as what I was told. I tried to contact support via email, chatbot, and even left a voicemail but unfortunately did not hear back from them. It's quite an irony that the usability of UserTesting.com is extremely unintuitive. Perhaps, they need to test their own site first!
Aside from this little hiccup, I communicated with students via class announcement prior to the class that they should proceed with testing regardless. I also wanted them to use this class period to catch up on things (since we all know we all procrastinate as students or even as working professionals). This past week was also the official spring break long weekend, so students were NOT expected to do any work during the weekend. Anyhow, they're about 2 weeks till their final pitch day, so I wanted to give them more time to work on their project together in class.
For this week's lecture, I originally only planned on touching base a few case studies to showcase why testing is important and how with the right prototyping question you can really make sure your design solves your users' problems. It is however, just a few weeks back, I stumbled upon an old friend of mine's post on Linkedin where he's offering pro bono lecture for students on the topic he's written a book about — ENDS. Long story short, he accepted my invite and came to class to share with my students his knowledge and expertise in off-boarding experience!
I forgot the academic term for why people listen/believe/trust when a 3rd party is telling them the same thing even if you've told them already. The point I'm trying to make here is that I noticed (not just in class)... even though you (the primary speaker) might have repeatedly mention an important point, for somehow when a new face comes in to tell the same story, people remember it better. So, I was very happy to have Joe come in to talk about why it's important to consider the off-boarding experience so that you complete the journey. While many might not enjoy virtual classroom environment, I certainly have to admit that I enjoy it very much so far because I have been able to get friends to come in and share their design stories from all over the world (FYI Joe is in Sweden). The rich material and perspectives people bring in from places other than just the US certainly helps students gain a different perspective and also understand different career possibilities!
As mentioned in the previous blog post, students don't write as much in their retrospective anymore but for the ones that still do, I hope this practice helps them to quickly reflect their learning and activities done in this class period. This retrospective in fact is going to be (probably) the last one of the semester since next week we won't have lecture and the week after that it's going to be their pitch day.
Many schools only have teacher's evaluation at the end of the semester (which it's way too late), so teachers don't get feedback until their teaching is done with the class. I don't know if this format would work and if the data I'm gathering is as significant as the final evaluation but I certainly want to foster a more collaborative learning environment so that the time both my students and I spend in the class is most beneficial for both parties. At the end of the day, I have a lot to offer but I first need to know what they want to know / learn so that I make sure I provide materials they are most interested in acquiring the knowledge of!