Revamped curriculum, Career Services, Group Crits: today, we’re pushing the button on a *huge* update of UX Academy.
UX Academy first launched in late 2015 as an experiment — to see if the Designlab online platform, which we’d pioneered for short courses like Design 101, could be extended to train full-time designers. Just 18 months later, the experiment has been a resounding success — with huge value delivered to students, and many graduates landing a UX design job within six months of completing the course.
In that time, we’ve gathered ongoing feedback from students, mentors, and alumni, and we’ve made a number of improvements and additions to the program that we haven’t publicly announced yet. Over the past six months, our in-house design and development teams have worked with education & design experts to complete a comprehensive review and update of the program. Read on to find out more!
The core of our mission is delivering extreme value to students with detailed, outcome-driven coursework. So in late 2016, we approached some third-party design experts to conduct an independent audit of our UX Academy curriculum. The primary question: how could we make the program even more rigorous in training students for entry-level product and UX design roles?
The extensive research process included an audit of UX/UI design job postings, interviews with recent program alumni, a review of student work in the course, an appraisal of our internal product roadmap, and a comprehensive review of existing program curriculum. As you’d imagine, this yielded some deep insight into potential improvements with our coursework, mentorship, and student community.
Here’s just a teaser of those findings, with curriculum updates we’re excited to announce today:
Reinforcing professional skills from day one. Students will continually learn about the connection between UX design and product development, and develop the competency to excel in in-house design roles. We’re adding new course modules, and increasing the focus on visual & UI design
Increasing student competence in core skills. We’re doing this by introducing objective project assessments within the platform, adding mid-course “checkpoints” to make sure students are progressing towards their goal of attaining an entry-level design role, and solidifying expectations and language with mentors and students to guide course-wide critique and feedback
Updated Capstone projects. We’re increasing the number of Capstones, and focusing student choices to reflect the kind of projects that would be expected in in-house roles
In short: students will be better prepared for UX/UI/product design roles, and we’re building better tools as a platform to help our mentors support student growth and ensure progress.