“Open Projects” is a two-semester course sequence for second year MDes students. As the graduating requirement for students enrolled in the 4-Semester Track of the MDes Program, the project involves a substantive independent research component for students in their last year of study, leading to an individual or collaborative design research Final Project ("thesis"). The 4-credit fall portion of Open Projects supports the research and development of an MDes Final Project. This course provides the structure, sequence, and support required for its successful execution and the building of a robust research culture. All 4-semester track students must enroll in the Open Projects course sequence as a pre-requisite of the 8-credit spring Open Projects final course, which is focused on the execution and presentation of the design research project.
The first semester consists of weekly meetings organized around a series of general topics that cut across and unify the various specializations within the MDes structure, including readings, presentations and discussions on: methodology; conceptual development; archives; the role of precedent; knowledge and media techniques; and models of dissemination. These topic discussions are punctuated by a series of four interim reviews, which provide a specific time and structure for interactions with MDes Area Heads and GSD faculty.