DESIGN SPRINT IN HIGHER EDUCATION, GOING FROM FACE-TO-FACE TO REMOTE MODE

L. Wallenius1, C. Tigerstedt2

1Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences (FINLAND)
2Arcada University of Applied Sciences (FINLAND)
This paper discusses experiences of changing intensive courses from face-to-face to remote mode. It involves courses in service design with the Design Sprint model created by Google Ventures given during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020-2021. Furthermore, the process, pedagogical changes, tools for remote work and student experiences are discussed. The two cases described are an intensive course offered in a multidisciplinary setting at Haaga-Helia UAS and an international intensive programme in a Nordplus programme offered to universities in the Nordic and Baltic region.

Design Sprint is a service design model and a five-day process to be used in business to find answers to and accelerate product development and solving of in-service business problems. The Design Sprint is a cost-effective way to develop and test ideas in a short time. Each sprint has a commissioner with real-life needs and problems to be solved. The process combines best practices from business strategy, innovation, behavior science and design thinking The Design Sprint is used in business companies, public sector services and educational institutions around the world.

The Design Sprint has been part of the curricula at Haaga-Helia UAS Porvoo since 2018. Also, other partnering universities as for example Arcada UAS and Vidzeme UAS, have been using the methodology since about 2018. At Haaga-Helia UAS the sprint is arranged for third semester with the objective of offering an intensive and hands-on insight into design thinking and product development with focus on customer understanding. Furthermore, commissioners are provided a swift experience of product and service development. In this paper we discuss the Haaga-Helia remote sprint, and the collaborative remote sprint took place among partners in the Nordplus Ekotek network which offers students in the Nordic-Baltic area to experience and participate in an intensive programme of Design Sprint. It is offered by a network of universities and companies in the Nordic-Baltic region. The universities this time represented Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and Iceland.

The concept, the remote online intensive week, required good online teaching and learning and sophisticated use of online tools and platforms. The teacher and student participants had had their first experiences of remote teaching and learning and hence there could benefit from earlier experience and best practices. Special attention would be paid to pre-course communication to engage the students and team building and interactive collaborative activities were designed. Microsoft Teams and Moodle learning management systems were used as learning platforms. Collaboration tools introduced for online collaboration were Flinga, Mural, Zoom and Microsoft Teams. It is noteworthy that both the students and teachers were learning to use these tools as they started using them.

The student experiences are discussed and analysed with help of learning diaries kept during the intensive programme and student feedback, self-assessment, and evaluation. In the end, the paper suggests how the experiences might be used in similar intensive programmes in the future benefitting the student participants and enhancing collaboration.