MDes Open Project is an 8-unit, project-based, design-research collaboration supporting individual projects and peer review. The class is required of, and only open to, all students in the Master of Design Studies program in the fourth semester of study. All sections are open to all MDes Domains although certain projects may be more suitable for students with a given interest or skillset. Enrollment may occur via lottery if there is greater interest in certain Open Projects. Students may request an exemption from taking Open Project by written application only; exemption requires approval of the Domain Head and Program Director.
The directing faculty member or visiting instructor of each section of Open Project frames the particular area of knowledge, delivers content on the discourse and methods of the contemporary topics and problematics comprised by that area, advises students on forming individual and group topics of research, and leads the collaborative presentations and reviews. Students organize their own workflows, work individually and in small groups, propose their own project briefs, and negotiate their own deliverables. Innovation in research methods and project presentation is encouraged. Individual work is necessary and expected; group collaboration and peer review are both disruptive and expansive of individual efforts. Regular group meetings serve as platforms for updates and the sharing of progress, and allow for peer review and feedback. Presentations and reviews will be scheduled to facilitate feedback by instructors, stakeholders, GSD faculty, and guests.
“Every activity performed in public can attain an excellence never matched in privacy; for excellence, by definition, the presence of others is always required, and this presence needs the formality of the public, constituted by one’s own peers.”