Syllabus academic year 2010/2011
(Created 2010-07-25.)
Credits: 8. Grading scale: TH. Cycle: G2 (First Cycle). Main field: Industrial Design. Language of instruction: The course will be given in Swedish. Compulsory for: KID3. Course coordinator: Docent Agneta Gulz,, and Docent Christian Balkenius,, Department of Philosophy. Assessment: Group reports and others. Further information: Compulsory moments: introduction lecture, exercises, oral presentations and all moments included for assessment. Home page:

The overall aim is that the students should increase their awareness about how an industrial designer’s choices can affect (i) human beings from different groups and cultures, and (ii) societal development.

The domain of knowledge in broad concerns ”human beings as information creatures in and with the environment”, with an emphasis on individual and cultural variation.

The course offers a multitude of opportunities to discuss possible approaches for an industrial designer to what is learnt about human cognition, communication and ethics.

Knowledge and understanding
For a passing grade the student must

— be able to give a broad presentation of cognitive phenomena such as attention, learning, communication and problem solving from the perspective of situated cognition

— be able to present central aspects of individual and cultural differences in human cognition, e.g. in communication and learning

— be able to discuss some basic models of communication and problematize everyday conceptions about communication

— be able to analyze the potentials as well as constraints in different forms of communication technology

— be able to discuss and problematize the relation between design, ecology and ethics, and apply cultural perspectives to this

Skills and abilities
For a passing grade the student must

— be able to discuss different approaches to human cognitive variation - individual and cultural - that can influence work on product design

— show an ability to argue for one’s choices and priorities in connection with a product design, with respect to the course material regarding human thinking, communication and ethics

— be able to cooperate efficiently in group assignments and presentations of course material and literature

Judgement and approach
For a passing grade the student must

— show awareness of the width of individual and cultural variation with respect to information processing in communication, problem solving and learning

— show insight into how cultural variation in human beings as information creatures ought to influence product design

— show insight into how ethical perspectives ought to influence product design

Three main topics are treated in the course: i) human information processing ii) communication and iii) ethics. For each of these topics two cross aspects are applied: a) information processing as situated, i.e. human beings as information creatures in interaction with the environment and b) individual and cultural variation.

Furthermore, the course is assignment and practice oriented. It is centred around group assignments and individual assignments. It offers rich opportunities to practice presentation and discussion of the course topics in oral and written forms. It also gives the students opportunities to discuss their ongoing projects from other courses in relation to the topics about human information processing, communication and ethics.

Papanek, V: The Green Imperative. (1995). Thames and Hudson, London.
Alternative: Thorpe, A. (2008). Design för hållbar utveckling.
Litteraturkompendium: LUCS.