design course text

Design is conceiving and giving form to artifacts that solve problems.

A line from the text book, “Design: Creation of Artifacts in Society” which I’m sure sums up the course topic perfectly. Now it’s a matter of picking that sentence apart and putting it into practice.

Design Course Text


Design Course Text

Inside view

One great thing about being in Viet Nam is the print shops. Give them the PDF on a USB stick and within 15 minutes 2 books are printed, trimmed and spiral bound for only a few dollars.

Today is a reading day before the course begins tomorrow.

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free university course #2

As reported in my last post, I’ve enrolled in a free university course through Coursera beginning next January. However, being the impatient type of person I am, I decided to see if any courses beginning this month were of interest. From the ones commencing within the next few weeks, both Lan and I have chosen “Design: Creation of Artifacts in Society”. As you can see in the image below, this course commences this coming Monday, precisely 2 days, 7 hours, 45 minutes, and 4 seconds from the time I took this screen grab. Very precise?? Or just a developer having fun with some code perhaps :-)

free university course

The course outline suggests that it will, “Combine fundamental concepts with hands-on design challenges to become a better designer”.  Considering design is one of the things I’m passionate about and web design in particular, this sounds pretty good to me.

As you can see from the image below, the course is presented by the University of Pennsylvania and the instructor is Karl T. Ulrich. 8 weeks duration is pretty fine also as it means I’ll have a break over the Christmas period between courses. Unless that is I see another course that I can’t resist taking! Ah… the eternal student.

Here’s the short introductory video from the course site:

So actually, i guess this article title should read, “free university course #1” given I’ll be commencing this course first, however, it doesn’t pay to be too pedantic about stuff like this :-)

free university course

I’ve just signed up for a course from the University of Virginia in the US that’s facilitated and conducted online by a social entrepreneurship company that partners with the top universities in the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free. The company is called Coursera and their aim is to create a future where the top universities are educating not only thousands of students, but millions.


The course I’ve chosen to undertake is called, “How Things Work 1” and it’s described as being;

Designed for non-science students, this course is a practical introduction to physics and science in everyday life. It considers objects from the world around us, identifying and exploring the scientific concepts upon which they’re based. Because it starts with objects and looks within them for science, it is the reverse of a traditional physics class. The emphasis of this semester is on mechanical objects, objects that involve fluids, objects that involve heat, and resonant objects.

how things work

I was heartened to discover that the course instructor, Louis A. Bloomfield, was a tinkerer as a child because I was just the same. I also was one of those children who loved to pull things apart to find out how they worked and try to get them back together again, and yes, I also suffered many an electrical shock and caused many a stain on the polished timber floors of my bedroom from spillages caused by odd experiments. So… this course could be perfectly tailored for me. It doesn’t begin until January 14 next year, so I’ll be chomping at the bit for a couple of months waiting to get on with it.

What a great concept Coursera have come up with, free university courses. It means that students who otherwise may not have the opportunity to attend a decent university, or in fact any university at all, will now have the chance to learn from some of the very best.

The founder of MultiUni here in Viet Nam, Huy Zing, is now a software developer at Coursera and he’ll be talking at RMIT University next Monday night.