2021 System Design Project

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Academic unit or major
Undergraduate major in Transdisciplinary Science and Engineering
Saito Shigeki  Inaba Kazuaki  Ohashi Takumi  Taoka Yuki 
Class Format
Media-enhanced courses
Day/Period(Room No.)
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
Language used
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Course description and aims

System design is to design a mechanism for solving problems through mediated tools. The function of a tool in problem-solving is dependent on the user's situation- no matter how creative and highly functional as viewed from the creator, it is useless unless it helps the user. In the classroom, to design the “useful tool,” we will learn what user empathy is, how to define the problem, how to create a prototype of tools (machines) based on the problem definition, and how to conduct user testing through practicing the process of "design thinking." Also, this class aims to grasp the concept of user-centered design as a theoretical background to design thinking.

Student learning outcomes

This class aims to acquire the concept of “user-centered design” through a practicing workshop based on a fundamental process of problem-solving with design thinking, "sympathy," "problem definition," "creation," "prototype" and "user-test."


design thinking, user-centered design, prototype, user-test

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

At Design Factory in Ishikawadai 5th bldg. 3rd floor, students work in a team throughout this course and design a mechanism for solving problems that are mediated by tools. Guest speakers are invited as necessary.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Guidance What is an “inconvenience”? What is System Design? Each instructor specifies the tasks during class.
Class 2 Interview methodology and practice
Class 3 Figure out the images
Class 4 Design user experiences and prototyping
Class 5 Prototype and picture-story show
Class 6 Picture story show, feedback and re-prototype
Class 7 Final presentation and report

Out-of-Class Study Time (Preparation and Review)

To enhance effective learning, students are encouraged to spend approximately 100 minutes preparing for class and another 100 minutes reviewing class content afterwards (including assignments) for each class.
They should do so by referring to textbooks and other course material.


Non required.

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Saito, Sakamoto, Takeda, Kado, Ouchi, "Introduction to Design Thinking for Engineers," Shoeisha Co. Ltd., (2017).
Other materials are provided during class.

Assessment criteria and methods

Exercises in class: 30%, Final group presentation: 30%, Report: 40%

Related courses

  • TSE.C201 : Introduction to Transdisciplinary Science and Engineering
  • TSE.C203 : Social Design Project
  • TSE.A318 : Introduction to Design Engineering

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)


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