Design Bootcamp

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In our four-year design program, the last year of study is dedicated to demonstrating acquired knowledge, the ability to tackle a problem situation, and to offer informed, innovative, and viable solutions. When a fourth-year design student fails the final year, it raises many questions. Among others, does the student master the design process? Does the student know how to apply knowledge and skills to a new problem situation and navigate between problem space and solution space autonomously? Are her/his communication skills sufficient? By tracking the path of students who failed over the past 7 years, we noticed that most of them had somewhat passable grades in their previous years. With the idea that an intensive refresher course would be beneficial to students who still lack certain skills, we designed a pedagogical activity called “Design Bootcamp” in order to enrich participants’ technical, methodological and communicational notions, and thus better prepare them for their final year demonstration of design knowledge. The 8-day Design Bootcamp was offered to a group of 7 students who were closely tutored throughout all activities. Additionally, two professors intervened at strategic moments presenting theoretical content, offering demonstrations, and giving feedback. This paper reports on how the Bootcamp was designed and implemented. The results will show how these activities helped bridge the theory and practice gap and significantly improve students’ performance, independence, and communication skills.