Prof Dina El Zanfaly | Carnegie Mellon University, School of Design | Fall ‘20

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9.3 // Intro

Hi! I’m Amrita. I’m currently a second-year MDes student in the School of Design.

I’m a huge fan of popular culture, interactive media, design, and learning. In my free time, you’ll likely catch me watching a quirky comedy show (latest show rec: What We Do In the Shadows), running outside, or spending time with family.

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path to design: bay area, fitbit, cmu

Prior to CMU, I was a project manager by day and a dance teacher by night. I’ve always been drawn to making, and decided to transition into design by coming back to school. …


Understanding studio-based learning experiences in remote and hybrid contexts

⚡️ Process blog for a CMU School of Design (SoD) research study led by Prof. Stacie Rohrbach with support from research assistants Anna Boyle, Michelle Cedeno, Matt Geiger, and myself Amrita Khoshoo ⚡️

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scenes from last semester (thanks to: CMU School of Design Instagram)

Week 1–2: Interviews + Synthesis

How can approaches for studio-based teaching and learning be designed to support effective instruction in remote and hybrid contexts?

This is the question we’re tackling during this study. CMU will be moving towards a hybrid learning model this fall, which means design classes will need to serve a potentially wider range of student and faculty needs. What are these needs? And what approaches can better serve them?

Our first step has been to talk to SoD faculty and students about remote work last semester. …


Team 16: Amrita Khoshoo, Diana Minji Chun, Hannah Koenig, Shambhavi Deshpande

This post chronicles our team’s progress as it happens for the third phase of our Interaction Design Studio 2 Project, taught by Peter Scupelli in Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Design. You can find the full process publication here.

3/4 Workshop Synthesis

During class on Wednesday, we posted all of the worksheets from the Monday’s workshop up on a whiteboard. We then sat down and shared what we heard from each workshop group.

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All the worksheets together!

While everyone shared, some of us jotted down insights on post-it notes, in prep for an affinity mapping exercise.

Big themes that…


Team 16: Amrita Khoshoo, Diana Minji Chun, Hannah Koenig, Shambhavi Deshpande

This post chronicles our team’s progress as it happens for the first phase of our Interaction Design Studio 2 Project, taught by Peter Scupelli in Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Design. You can find the full process publication here.

Monday 1/13: The Brief

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“wicked problems plauge the world — design is the antidote.” (index website)

We received our brief: Design to improve life. Inspired by The Index Project, the brief stems from the Index Project’s mission:

Design has the potential to solve real needs in our society. …


Carnegie Natural History Museum | Team Michelle Cedeno, Hannah Koenig, Yiwei Huang, Amrita Khoshoo

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10/28 Kick-Off Meeting

We had a quick kick-off meeting to discuss our working styles, project priorities, hopes, and dreams. Go team!

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The team

10/29: CNHM Impressions

We talked about our first impressions of the Carnegie Natural History Museum (CNHM).

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Visiting the CNHM: Q&A with Becca

A few key takeaways:

  • Important topics include the Anthropocene/humans’ impact on the environment and coloniality.
  • Successful experiences are participatory, allowing museumgoers to express themselves. They inspire conversation. And are developed around one key idea or narrative.
  • Deep time is an important concept, but it’s difficult to teach and engage in. A good deep time example is the interactive museum timeline (get an example from a slide deck). …

Designing for human values

Reflections for Interaction Design Seminar, Professor Molly Wright Steenson, Fall 2019

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In the book Value Sensitive Design, author Batya Friedman defines value sensitive design as a theoretical approach to design rooted in human values. She explains the need for designing technical systems in a way that brings human values to the forefront, while also honoring existing and well-functioning technical efforts.

In my Interaction Design Studio, my project group is designing a virtual assistant for Blue Apron (BA). On a high-level, our design goal has been to provide a more personalized, hands-free cooking experience. …


Are humans and machines separate?

Reflections for Interaction Design Seminar, Professor Molly Wright Steenson, Fall 2019

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Autonomy has its roots in the Enlightenment as a philosophical ideal that described self-determination and free-will. Slowly through the twentieth century, autonomy started to take on a more technoscientific meaning. The lines between humans and machines started to blur.

Cybernetics rose in the twentieth century, classifying machines and organisms as “behaviorally and in information terms the same” (6). It made the claim that systems are driven by “purposeful and goal-oriented behavior” (8) that become possible through a tight relationship between system and environment. …


What can architecture teach us about digital design?

Carnegie Mellon University
Interaction Design Seminar, Professor Molly Wright Steenson
Fall 2019

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Allen Hall: Thackeray Avenue and O’Hara Street in Oakland

Nested at the dead end of a small street in Oakland is a distinguished building called Allen Hall. Its six-story exterior is reminiscent of an ancient Greek temple. The structure is marked by four stone columns extending upwards that support a triangular roof. As I looked at this building, I felt a sense of reverence. Its exterior exudes ideals of democracy and civic duty. When I learned more about its history, I couldn’t help but feel that these values echoed its purpose.

Allen Hall’s history and values are apparent within its six layers of change — a concept developed by Stewart Brand in his book How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built. …


Topic: Earthquakes

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Project Overview

Designers are often called upon to engage in speculative work that is situated in the context of unknown futures. Thus, the brainstorming of concepts and the communication of ideas frequently requires the visualization of experiences and objects that do not yet exist and are abstract. As a result, it is imperative that designers learn how to engage audiences in stories that utilize and weave together visual, aural, and temporal modes of communication as a means of effectively conveying visionary ideas.

It’s safe to assume that all of us have encountered information that was difficult to grasp: science and math concepts that use lots of abstract symbols; topics that are invisible or span a great deal of time or space; objects that are too large, small, or fast to see well; ideas that involve lots of jargon, etc. Although the very nature of information can make it challenging to grasp, the form that is used to communicate the content can aid or hinder understanding. …


How has design shaped modernity?

Reflections for Interaction Design Seminar, Professor Molly Wright Steenson, Fall 2019

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In Designs for the Pluriverse, Arturo Escobar presents a major critique of modernity and design’s hand in shaping the imminent ecological and social crises humanity faces today (wicked problems). He asserts that the world is “one big design failure.” This failure is due to traditional modes of design. This traditional identity is one that is “linked to objects, technological change, the individual, and the market and carried out by experienced experts.”

He calls for a radical way of thinking in which designers part from these old ways and turn to design practice that is more “user centered, situated, interactive, collaborative, and participatory, focused significantly on the production of human experience and life itself.” In this new vision, he calls for designers to become interdisciplinary facilitators or mediators, paying the practice of design forward, transforming it into a participatory practice that can be applied to largescale problems. …

About

Amrita Khoshoo

Interaction Designer | Carnegie Mellon University, School of Design | MDes ’21

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