MAPPING THE TEACHING CHALLENGES OF USER EXPERIENCE AND INTERFACE DESIGN CLASSES IN PUBLIC ITALIAN UNIVERSITIES

L. Bollini

University of Milano-Bicocca (ITALY)
In the last few years many undergraduate, bachelor and master degree courses have been started to teach user experience and user interface design according to the new opportunities opened by the law 53/2003 that reformed the italian public university system.
Many courses and classes have been established inside Computer Science, Information Technologies, Arts and Design, Industrial Design Departments and they are taught by professors who come from heterogeneous backgrounds. On one hand, this variability – ranging from physicists, mathematicians, engineers, computer scientists, cognitive psychologists, cognitive ergonomists, industrial and graphic designers, architects to artists coming from the Academy of Fine Arts – allows to train and teach soft-skilled and hybrid professional profiles appreciated by the professional world. On the other hand, the risk is not to provide a specific focus and a deep specialization, because curricula are not yet well-defined to face the challenges of the complex and rapidly evolving ICT world. Lastly, people who are currently teaching are “digital migrants” grown in the analog world compared to the new generation of digital natives for whom technologies are “embedded” – not learned – and natural part of the interaction with “the world”.
The paper – part of the wider research project “Zero design background” – is intended to identify, map and systematize in a comparable manner courses and curricula, classes and syllabi, professors specialization and background among the offers of the public italian universities aiming to describe the state of the art and the emerging tendencies and challenges.
Many courses and classes have been established inside Computer Science, Information Technologies, Arts and Design, Industrial Design Departments and they are taught by professors who come from heterogeneous backgrounds. On one hand, this variability – ranging from physicists, mathematicians, engineers, computer scientists, cognitive psychologists, cognitive ergonomists, industrial and graphic designers, architects to artists coming from the Academy of Fine Arts – allows to train and teach soft-skilled and hybrid professional profiles appreciated by the professional world. On the other hand, the risk is not to provide a specific focus and a deep specialization, because curricula are not yet well defined to face the challenges of the complex and rapidly evolving ICT world. Lastly, people who are currently teaching are “digital migrants” grown in the analog world compared to the new generation of digital natives for whom technologies are “embedded” – not learned – and natural part of the interaction with “the world”.
The paper – part of the wider research project “Zero design background” – is intended to identify, map and systematize in a comparable manner courses and curricula, classes and syllabi, professors specialization and background among the offers of the public italian universities aiming to describe the state of the art and the emerging tendencies and challenges.