Getto & Beecher – Toward a Model of UX Education: Training UX Designers Within the Academy. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, Vol. 59, No. 2, June 2016. 153-164.

  • This piece attempts to provide a model for how to do UX education for aspiring professionals inside the academy.
  • This educational program understands and requires a working knowledge of UX process; however, access to adequate training in UX at the institutional level is difficult. They authors provide “tips” for getting at UX competencies, developing partnerships with UX practitioners, and developing/deploying UX education.
  • The authors note that while industry progressively demands UXers, undergraduate majors and grad degrees that feature UX have been slow to develop (153).
  • Research questions of this study:
    • What are the educational elements for training job-ready UXDers in the academy?
    • What are the core competencies of these folks?
    • What barriers exist to doing this work?
  • The authors used popular/industry publications to do the work of sketching what this looks like as no academic pieces have been published (at least not monographs). Their review is organized into: 1) UX Process; 2) UX Pedagogy; 3) Apprenticeship practices; and 4) Curriculum planning.
  • UX Process – this includes the job responsibilities and role definitions of UXers (IA, IxD, usability testing, UR, UI design, etc.) as well as familiarity with the process of UX (many different philosophies here but basically research, design, prototype, maintenance + iteration).
  • UX Pedagogy: seems to break down on 1) orientation; 2) observation; 3) practice; and 4) play. Orientation helps students understand the value of the UX process; observation invites students to watch the UX process in action in real-world scenarios; practice is simulated project experience and play is what happens when you’re ready to move beyond practice to apply different methods to real world situations.
  • Experiential learning in UX: typically follows the bootcamp model vis-à-vis workshops. The authors note that much PTW pedagogy has utilized a “heuristic-guided” method for developing specific technical communication solutions to complex problems. This has elevated the importance of academic-industry partnerships and service learning (156).
  • How to justify the need for UX to academic administrators? 1) Changing needs of employers; 2) new attractice course offerings, 3) improving marketability of existing courses and programs.
  • How to bring academic pedagogues into UX core competency familiarity: 1) partner with UX in industry; 2) get involved in UX professional organizations; 3) dedicate much research/professional development time to practice in UX (158).
  • Where to bring UX to the academy: 1) Undergraduate majors/minors; 2) Masters degrees; 3) Postgrad certificates.
  • Where should the disciplinary home of UX be in the academy? Possibly communication, technology, design or psychology [1. Note the lack of mention of Writing Studies/Rhetoric here.] (161).