Malm Hgskola, Orkanen.Studier i Biblioteket.Emma Rugg

Malmö University Interaction Design Master’s Programme – course 1

How is it like to study at Malmö University? How are the courses organised? How many hours per week did I spend in school? What is the Interaction Design Master’s like? And did I pass my first course? Let’s explore a few of these questions with the student perspective on my first course of Interaction Design Master’s Programme at Malmö Univeristy.

Recently I have passed my first course here, at Malmö University: Introduction to multidisciplinary interaction design. It was part of my Interaction Design Master’s Progamme. The whole year is divided into 4 courses, 2 per semester, each worth 15 ECTS credits. The last course is thesis work, both for the students enrolled in one- and two-year degree’s. Both of the types of students are working and having lectures together in a class of 18 people.

 

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photo: my classmates enjoying bowling

 

My “class” is nothing like what I expected it to be. First of all: there is only two half-Swedish people and a grand number of six Danes who are commuting from Copenhagen. The rest of the class is from all over the world: Bulgaria, Canada, Brazil, Italy, USA… It is a first time I have an opportunity of working on a project with people from outside of Europe. But that’s not the end of the diversity! To ensure multidisciplinary approach we come from a variety of different backgrounds: from Computer Science through Architecture to Graphic Design. What’s more, there is a lot of age differences between us – more than a dozen years between the youngest and the oldest. That means a lot of different experiences and perspectives to come together in one project. And our differences are bringing us all together – we get on well, hanging out together after classes, bowling, partying or winning pub quizes.

 

Malm Hgskola Orkanen. Biblioteket. Daphne Haking.

Photo Credits: Malmö Högskola Orkanen; Biblioteket. Daphne Haking

 

The structure of the course changes every year according to the feedback from last year’s students. What we have been through during our first course was quite a different experience than the one of previous year’s students. During the ten-weeks course we went through two projects, each lasting  around 3 weeks, and a series of introductory lectures before each. As a rule of thumb, classes were happening 3 times a week with Tuesdays and Thursdays free from lectures to give us time for project work (although it is not the case with the second course ongoing right now).

Except of project based work done in a previously assigned 4-person groups, we had to attend lectures, workshop and individual tutorings. Most of the lectures required preparation in a form of readings (starting from introductory books to academic papers). I personally find the Malmö University Interaction Design Programme to have a very academic approach, with a lot of focus on academic readings. Workshops were a one-day classes given by a guest-lecturer connected to the overall theme of the course but consisting of smaller tasks that were not a part of a bigger project. However, they served not only as a great get-away but actually gave as insights to use in the group work. Additionally, over the course of these 10 weeks we had 3 individual meetings with a teacher during which we would discuss our expectations, opinions and plans. I found those to be extremely helpful both psychologically and technically.

 

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photo: brainstorming during first project

 

So what have we done during the first project? The aim of the project was to design for shared sonic spaces. Each group had been assigned a specific location and a theme. My group was exploring the topic of “parasitic” in cafes and co-working spaces. We would follow a pretty strict design process (based on the double diamond model) and present progress every week. After observations conducted in a cafe, we developed many ideas, few of which we later presented in front of entire class. Due to the short timeframe and the introductory character of the course we were focusing on trying out different methods and coming up with ideas, not trying yet to design or build. In the end we came up with a concept of sound visualizing artifact meant for encouraging the reflection on dynamics of conversation and its contribution to the soundscape.

 

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photo: prototyping at university’s workshop

 

During the second project we had much more freedom. We didn’t have much lectures. We were able to choose the design process by ourselves without restrictions on final product or timing. Also the theme was more open – this time my new group was focusing on applying force. All in all, the second project was meant to get us into prototyping – we spend a great deal of time in the workshop. My group decided to explore the possibility of applying force as an input for tangible interfaces. We built a prototype which was used to perform a simple function (like navigation of a dot on a screen) by applying force. At the end of the project our teachers invited other professors and second year’s students for a demo-hour, during which they could play with prototypes and ask questions about our project.


That is a summary of how my first course at Malmö University looked like. And oh, the most important  – I passed! (As well of course as all the other students, but there are no specific grades).  Feel free to ask any questions about studying in Sweden, at Malmö University or particularly about Interaction Design Master’s Programme. And stay tuned for part 2 – embodied interaction course!

 

featured image: Malmö Högskola Orkanen; Biblioteket. Emma Rugg

Agnieszka avatar

11 Comments

  • Justin • 12 Dec 2016 at 9.55 pm Reply

    Hi Agnieszka,
    Can I ask some questions in polish? I think it’ll be easier to get know sth about studies & university. 🙂

    • Agnieszka
      Agnieszka • 13 Dec 2016 at 12.15 am Reply

      Hi Justin! Of course, you can ask questions in Polish. Comment with your questions here or write to me directly at agnieszka.studyinsweden(at)gmail.com
      Greetings from Sweden! Pozdrowienia! /Agnieszka

  • Mohamed • 4 Dec 2016 at 1.52 pm Reply

    Hej Agnieszka

    I noticed that this program requires “Two work samples or portfolio pieces” to be selected. Does that mean it only accepts applicants with a background in design?

    Kindest regards,

    • Agnieszka
      Agnieszka • 5 Dec 2016 at 12.49 am Reply

      Hej Mohamed!
      No, you don’t have to have design background. As I wrote in the post in my class there are people who previously studied different subjects e.g. Computer Science. You can find more information here: http://edu.mah.se/sv/Program/TAINE#Overview
      And if you have specific questions concerning admission to this program you can also write an e-mail to: study@mah.se
      Good luck! /Agnieszka

      • Mohamed • 5 Dec 2016 at 9.59 am Reply

        Hej Agnieszka

        Thanks for your quick reply and sorry if I wasn’t clear from the beginning.
        I’m aware you and the program mentioned having people from different backgrounds, but seeing this criterion under the selection tab made me wonder if there is a chance at all for graduates who don’t have it: “Two work samples or portfolio pieces to show your craft skills and your ability to execute”

        I have already contacted the coordinator with my question about that a few weeks ago and they said they can’t answer because they can’t do a preliminary evaluation of my credentials and that I have to apply to find out. As you already know, there aren’t many programs we could apply to per year, so it is a bit of a risk when an applicant doesn’t fully fit the criteria from the beginning and I’m not sure how I should deal with that.

        Anyway, thanks for your help.
        Good luck with your future subjects.

        • Agnieszka
          Agnieszka • 6 Dec 2016 at 3.08 pm Reply

          Hej Mohamed!
          I contacted the students from my year who studied other than design disciplines and they both had an experience working in a design teams at work – and that’s what they uploaded as their samples. It’s hard for me to give advice when I don’t know what is your field of study. I would say try to involve yourself into projects that are somehow connected to interaction design and upload them as a samples, so they are somewhat relevant – you don’t have to be the designer of the team, you can be responsible for example for coding. But that’s just what comes up to my head as what I would do. Anyway, I would encourage you to try! Good luck!
          /Agnieszka

          • Mohamed • 8 Dec 2016 at 12.38 am

            Thanks a lot Agnieszka for going through the trouble! 🙂

  • Abbas Safian Boldaji • 2 Dec 2016 at 11.10 am Reply

    I am Abbas Safian Boldaji.I want study in Sweden specially in short courses with a time of less than one year and low cost.Please writevme how I can do this?
    Thanks

    • Agnieszka
      Agnieszka • 6 Dec 2016 at 3.16 pm Reply

      Hey Abbas!
      It is possible to study here for a one year Master’s, as well as to apply for individual short courses. Your first step is to find a programme that you are interested in. For a complete list of programmes in English you can refer to our database here http://www.universityadmissions.se/intl/start. If you are not interested in entire programmes but only in single courses just pick the “more search options” and check out box “courses”. If you know what programmes you are interested in you can read more about how to apply here https://studyinsweden.se/how-to-apply/.
      Good luck!
      /Agnieszka

  • gimmygoteborg • 1 Dec 2016 at 6.22 pm Reply

    Arduino! Naice! We will have lots to talk about!

    • Agnieszka
      Agnieszka • 2 Dec 2016 at 10.37 am Reply

      Glad to hear that! Can’t wait :). / Agnieszka

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