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Student and tutor module reviews

Design thinking: creativity for the 21st century

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  • Points: 60
  • Code: U101
  • Level: 1
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Student reviews

U101 is a very fun module and a perfect introduction to the world of design. It was not exactly what I expected, as I hoped to learn to use some design software tools, but that is not part of this module. It does not teach any tools or any graphic design skills, you can perfectly get by just using hand drawings. However, the module does give a thorough introduction to the design process which can be applied to any job related to design.
I'd personally say that this is a module for people who enjoy creative projects by default - I know that others in my cohort who are more logic/maths centred did not end up enjoying the activities and even switched mid-course. I personally liked the module very much (what a fun welcome pack!) and had a wonderful tutor as well.

Nora Bernadett Balogh

Course starting: January 2022

Review posted: July 2023

This module was enjoyable to learn and study. It was a very hands-on and creative module pushing oneself to utilise the right side of the brain.

In saying that, there were writing parts, particularly for each tutor-marked assignment (TMA). What was particularly useful was that for all the TMAS, there were questions and guidelines under each section to ensure the student was not going off into a tangent.

The tutor was helpful and constructive with feedback whilst being patient and supportive of my neurodivergent brain.

I recommend signing to this module if you want to learn about fundamental design elements and rediscover one's creativity.

Course starting: October 2021

Review posted: August 2022

This course is different from any of the OU modules I have studied before. It encourages creative thinking and I struggled a bit with the idea of discovering your own approach, as I wanted to be told what to do! However, the projects were really varied and designing a T-shirt, making a board game and using some new software to document the creative process was interesting. I learnt some techniques that I had not tried before, and enjoyed exploring them. It was sometimes difficult to produce enough work in the time I had available. Overall, an eye-opener.

Course starting: January 2021

Review posted: August 2022

I really enjoyed this module. I felt it was a good balance between reading and the practical elements. I enjoy learning by actually doing something so this really appealed to me. I was initially worried that I wouldn't do well, but U101 has done wonders for my confidence. I would say that the module is cleverly written to lead you through the module and develop your skills. It's not really about creating a perfect piece of artwork but instead about design thinking and the process you should go through to develop ideas and prototypes. So you don't need to be proficient at design packages and making things look polished.

The Open Studio was easy to use and was a good space to find inspiration to help you come up with good ideas or check that you were thinking along the right lines. I loved seeing how other students had interpreted the brief, and we had all created different things.

My tutor was great. I studied the module during the pandemic which meant there weren't any face-to-face tutorials, which I feel would have been really useful and fun.

The tutor-marked assignments always took a lot longer than the time that was suggested in the texts, so if you can, always try to allow yourself more time.

I'd thoroughly recommend this module, it was really fun and I loved that it was a bit different.

Sarah Fox

Course starting: October 2020

Review posted: September 2021

I chose this module initially because it was one of the only modules with my Business management (BA Hons) course that had 60 credits, but I reasoned I was going to learn some useful skills and may well come in useful one day.
I was very apprehensive at first as I have no talent or desire to be a designer, but you really dont have to be Picasso, just a bit patient, open minded and creative...I am not remotely artistic but I passed the module very comfortably.

My main advice, and I think a lot of people have mentioned this already but I have to add to it.. leave plenty of time for the tutor-marked assignments (TMAs), they are far more time consuming than I expected, it tells you how long each step of the TMA should take and I think this was vastly under estimated, most people on the course agreed.

Also if like me you are not a pro in design then my advice would be to read up on the planner study and the TMA details and look at what design tools are to be used, upload/down load them and get some practice in using them, as I wasnt organised enough, so I was often cramming in learning how to use them whilst completing tasks and TMA's all at the same time.

So yes, I would recommend the module, it was fun, interesting and often didnt even feel like work, I had a great tutor, Liz who was Friendly, supportive and great with feedback, my fellow students too were lovely and encouraging and we all helped, and critiqued each others work constructively and thoughtfully.

Nicki Baines

Course starting: October 2019

Review posted: November 2020

Please note

Each of the views expressed above is an individual's very particular response, largely unedited, and should be viewed with that in mind. Since modules are subject to regular updating, some of the issues identified may have already been addressed. In some instances the faculty may have provided a response to a comment. If you have a query about a particular module, please contact your Regional Centre.

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