DESIGNED FOR LEARNING
EXPERIENCES WITH THE INTENSIVE COURSE FORMAT IN INFORMATICS
Bachelor and Master courses at the Department of Informatics at the University of Oslo are semester- long courses. Students and teaching staff meet two to four hours every week for lectures and group work. This was also the case in Design, Use, Interaction, a two-year master programme. In 2013 it became possible to teach intensive courses in this Master programme, creating an opportunity to implement three intensive courses successively in one semester. This resulted in the development of two intensive courses and the intensification of another course, which was normally taught as a semester-long course: Tangible Interaction Design, Advancements in Interaction Design, and Design, Technology & Society. Each course was five weeks long. In a presentation of each of the three courses, we will focus on the opportunities and challenges in teaching an intensive course. The main question we will address is: What are the characteristics of a successful intensive course? Based on a literature review, we have identified the following attributes that play a central role in the success of an intensive course: course methodology, teaching methods, exam format, and lecturer-student(s) interactions. We will present our experiences in teaching intensive courses along these four attributes. Our findings and discussion centre around our constructivist learning methodology, implemented through a wide variety of methods enabling creativity, hands-on experiences, theory-practice nexus, and critical reflexivity; new and adapted exam formats; and constructive lecturer-student interactions. While the experiences from the three courses are different, we were able to extract three common attributes for success: i) create a ‘learning home’ for the students, which provides them with a common understanding of the course methodology and enables them to identify their learning experiences; ii) actively work with the theory-practice nexus, using the theoretical literature as a lens to understand practice and practice to construct new knowledge; iii) cultivate constructive lecturer-student and student-student interactions both on an individual, group, and class level.