Leveling Up Course Design

Design Thinking with IUPUI Mentoring Initiatives Faculty


After attending our Design Thinking 101 workshop, IUPUI Faculty from the Office of Student Transitions and Mentor Initiatives had a bright idea: tap into our collaborative methodology to reimagine one of their 201 level courses from the ground up… as a full team.



Focusing on Purpose

University course curriculum is naturally iterative. Over the course of multiple semesters and across different instructors, lessons evolve—and can eventually grow beyond the original intended learning experiences and outcomes.

IUPUI knew the U201 course, Introduction to Mentoring Theory and Technique, needed to be redesigned. With twelve different, passionate instructors bringing their own ideas to the table, the options of where to take the course were endless. This group needed a way to collaboratively vet, prioritize and map their desired curriculum in a very limited timeframe: two half-day sessions.


Workshop It – From Vision to New Course

With two short windows to bring the new U201 course to life, we created and facilitated a series of collaborative exercises designed to clarify the fundamental purpose of the course, create alignment amongst the instructors, and ultimately develop a new set of curriculum to test in the coming semester.

These exercises included:

The Invented Future
What would happen if we took the path of least resistance and didn’t change a thing? Well, nothing positive! What if instead we invent a new future where all of our hopes and ideas are reality… what would that look like? Answering these questions helped shape our goals and vision for the course.

Rapid Ideation & Voting
The instructors came up with as many ideas for new and progressive curriculum options based on their own solutions and building upon the solutions of others. We sorted all of these ideas by theme and allowed the instructors to vote on which felt the most appropriate for this course. This method allowed everyone to contribute and vote for their favorite options. Not all were chosen, but everyone had a voice!

Small Group Course Mapping
Based on the curriculum ideas that received the most votes, the 12-person team divided up into three groups of four people who worked together to plan their own 10-week course. Each was presented to the full group upon completion.


Fresh Course Designs and an Energized Team

While we were able to generate 3 complementary options for the new U201 course curriculum, we also found an unexpected outcome: an aligned team energized by a collaborative process that created room for all ideas to be heard.

Without the structure of the process and skill of our facilitators, I am not sure that our large group would have reached the level of creativity and consensus. The design thinking process proved to be a positive, high energy, and efficient way to bring a group together to create something amazing.
Andrea Engler – Executive Director of Student Transitions and Mentor Initiatives
Back to the Top