LogRocket.identify(uid); Meredith Patrick | Strategic Experience Design

Meredith Patrick ©2018

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General 

Assembly

The rigorous ten week immersive provides students with human-centered design thinking, technical skills, and hands-on learning so they can succeed within the UX field.

Typography Lesson

My favorite lesson to teach is always the Introduction to Typography. It's rewarding to see the aha moments of students wth no previous exposure to design. Many have never considered the effort that goes into creating a typeface and the importance of selecting an appropriate type to convey a product's message.

The lesson begins with a historical timeline of how written communication has evolved from cuneiform and pictograms to the infinite number of webfonts available today. 

We then briefly discuss the anatomy of letter forms followed by some more technical terms like kerning, tracking, and leading. 

Teaching UX

WHY

General Assembly hires experienced professionals in the field to provide the most relevant experience to students. 

HOW

I was brought on especially because of my visual and UI design experience. The course producers are fantastic at sharing tactics to effectively deliver course material.

WHAT

Keynote presentations

Lectures

Activities

Homework

Real-world Design Projects

Provided constructive feedback 

Resources

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Sketch App Lesson

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Resources

My visual design background has afforded me lots of time using Illustrator and Sketch. Personally, learning new software programs for the first time isn't an overnight transformation. Becoming familiar with a program's interface and adjusting to workflows and naming systems takes time and practice. Yet students always express their desire and expectations of being an expert with the tools of the trade upon graduation. I know from personal experience that not being able to execute an idea the way you are envisioning can be frustrating. New designers also express a concern of being embarrassed on the job if they don't know every shortcut and function within a program.

With these high expectations and the varying levels of an individual's competency makes the recipe for teaching an effective and engaging lesson for everyone a little sticky.didn't cover in the introductory lesson and the next morning each student presents to the class their own "pro tip". This allows them to see just how much Sketch can actually do and also acts as a confidence boost. 

After teaching this lesson four times, I've been able to iterate and improve the delivery and effectiveness of this particular lesson.

 

Utilizing GA's I Do/We Do/You Do methodology greatly influenced building this lesson. The keynote provides a structure for the lesson and outlines the main functions of Sketch. By providing students with a pre-made Sketch doc that everyone downloads and works on throughout the lesson keeps everyone on the same page.

The broad range of familiarity with the program, I've learned to ask students to hold on to their questions until the end. I allow time at the end to walk around the room and work one-on-one with students.

 

Finally, the homework for the evening is to use Sketch to complete the remaining in the document given to them. I've also assigned them to learn a function that we didn't cover in the introductory lesson and the next morning each student presents to the class their own "pro tip". This allows them to see just how much Sketch can actually do and also acts as a confidence boost.

Key Learnings

  1. Having someone who challenges you to your best is crucial to have in the room.
     

  2. Sticking to what’s been done before (and has been working fine) is easy.
     

  3. Challenging that state of complacency can be intimidating but is necessary to improve and grow. Job placements in recent grads has reflected our hard work and efforts.
     

  4. Being relevant to students means giving relevant feedback and sharing pertinent examples (a core reason why I am choosing to jump back into the field).
     

  5. Time management and work life balance is important. An improper ratio reflects poorly on presentations (i.e. if you’ve been up all night perfecting a presentation, you may not give a stellar presentation which negates you staying up all night to perfect in the first place. MVP is valuable in teaching too!
     

  6. Include student feedback (good and bad) Share and show how you improved or value you provided.
     

  7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or clarification.

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