Design Solutions for Online Educators During a Pandemic

COVID-19 affected education and we needed adapt to the changes.

Project duration: 5 Weeks

Can you come up with a standard operating procedure for your team to go online within a week? You will be designing a mobile application or website to help your organization access your protocol.

Watch tutorials to familiarize yourself with one of these softwares: Linkedin Learning is free to Iowa State students. Login using your iastate netlink ID Adobe XD , InVision or, Figma (Free up to 3 projects).

Use the design thinking process taught in class and Sprint (2012) by Jake Knapp to come up with your own process for your practice or research. Sprint is originally a week-long, but for this course, we will be breaking it into five weeks. You can choose to work as a team or individual. If you are a team, each member has to upload the same document to their canvas.

Book: (Recommended, not required) Book summary

Jake Knapp: Medium Linkedin Website

Design Brief: Choose one topic

For Practitioners/Business:

Pick a company or a team inside an organization and help them transition to a virtual workspace. Consider the variables such as no. of employees, size of the organization (startup vs existing), country, international (and/or remote) employees, resources available, delegators, and communication.

This is an unknown space for most of us as every business has a strategy but it is usually shared within the company and not publicly. Look at this as an opportunity, you just have to search differently. Maybe find social media posts of organizations practicing virtual workspace. (for example




  3. Integrated Project Delivery - An action guide for Leaders


For Researchers/Education:

Rethink a course structure or a departmental operation and help them transition to a virtual learning and teaching space. Consider the variables such as new vs existing course, size of class, type of class (lecture, studio, lab and other), country, international (an/or remote) students, available resources, responsibilities of teaching assistants and communication.



Let’s get started!

Sprint Week 1: Map (Discover)

This week is a series of structured conversations to build a foundation—and a focus—for the sprint. The structure allows the team to "boot up" as much information as quickly as possible—while preventing the usual meandering conversations.

First, you’ll define key questions and a long-term goal. Next, you’ll make a simple map of your product or service. Second, you’ll ask the experts on your friends to share what they know. Finally, you’ll pick a target: the moment on the map that represents the greatest risk and/or opportunity.


📘 Sprint, pages 51-91 Summary

🖥 Week 1 Slide Deck in PDF, Keynote, or PowerPoint

📝 Checklist

🎬 Video

🗒 The Note-N-Map by Design Sprint Switzerland ✨

🎬 Map Tutorial by AJ&Smart ✨

-- Take a break --

Sprint Week 2: Sketch and Decide (Define, Deliver Phase 1)

This week is all about solving the problem, using a method optimized for deep thinking. Instead of a typical group brainstorm, every individual will sketch their own detailed, opinionated solutions, following a four-step process that emphasizes critical thinking over artistry.


📘 Sprint, pages 93-123 Summary

📝 Checklist

🎬 Video

📻 Spotify Playlist by AJ&Smart

Next, you will have a stack of solutions. Now, you have to decide which of those sketches should be prototyped and tested. Instead of an endless debate or a watered-down group decision nobody's happy with, you'll use the five-step "Sticky Decision" method to identify the best solutions before turning the final decision over to your Decider. Then, in the afternoon, you’ll take the winning scenes from your sketches and combine them into a storyboard: a step-by-step plan for your prototype.


📘 Sprint, pages 125-160 Summary

📝 Checklist

🎬 Video

🗒 Storyboarding 2.0 by AJ&Smart ✨

-- Take a break --

Sprint Week 3: Prototype and Test (Deliver Phase 2)

This week, you'll build a realistic prototype of the solutions in your storyboard so you can simulate a finished product for your users. Design Sprint prototyping is all about a "fake it till you make it" philosophy: With a realistic-looking prototype, you'll get the best possible data from the test, and you'll learn whether you're on the right track.


📘 Sprint, pages 163-190 Summary

📝 Checklist

🎬 Video

🛠 Recommended tools: Marvel, InVision, Figma, Keynote, Keynotopia

It's time to put that prototype to the test! Now, you'll show your prototype to five customers/users in five separate, 1:1 interviews. Instead of waiting for a launch to get perfect data, you'll quick-and-dirty answers to your most pressing questions right away.


📘 Sprint, pages 193-225 Summary

📝 Checklist

📝 Customer Screening Worksheet

📝 Example Customer Screener

📝 Test Setup How-To Guide by Michael Margolis

🎬 Video

🎬 The Five-Act Interview with Michael Margolis

🗒 The Google Ventures Research Sprint

-- Take a break --

Sprint Week 4: Submit URL and PDF Report DUE April 20th

  1. Share your prototype link Adobe XD, InVision, or Figma

  2. Create a crisis project report and show your process.

    1. Share your research and findings.

    2. Share your sketches, wireframes, and prototypes.

    3. Describe the effectiveness of your proposed product.

-- Take a break --

Week 5 Sprint Process Reflection

Following a spiral model of reflection [Korthagen, 1985/2005], it is time for a moment of ‘making sense’. The reflective process usually allows us to stand back, in a structured associative thinking mode, and weigh up our understanding with clarity and deep honesty, in order to make informed judgments about the process and thus form a statement/position about the learning experience (this case the sprint project). In Design Thinking disciplines, we often use the questions WHAT? SO, WHAT? NOW, WHAT? [Borton’s (1970) 3 stem questions used in creative facilitation]. We will use this structure to guide your final reflection:

  1. What happened?

  2. What did you observe, what are the key elements of a sprint?

  3. What issue is being addressed or target user is being served? You? The sprint goal, or your ways of working | doing, your lateral ways of thinking?

  4. Did you learn a new skill or clarify an interest?

  5. Did you try, or feel anything that surprised you?

  6. How is your experience different from what you expected?

  7. What impacts the way you view the situation/experience? (through which lens are you viewing it?)

  8. What did you like/dislike about the experience?

  9. What did you learn about the project/problem?

  10. What are some of the pressing needs/issues?

  11. How does this project address those needs?

  12. What seems to be the root causes of the issue addressed?

  13. What other work is currently happening to address the issue?

  14. What learning occurred for you in this experience?

  15. How can you apply this learning?

  16. What would you like to learn more about, related to this project or issue?

  17. What follow-up is needed to address any challenges or difficulties?

  18. What information can you share with your peers, client, project user, etc?

  19. If you could do the project again, what would you do differently?

Please be prepared to answer or share with us some of these prompts regarding the process of both the Design Sprint and the online mode of Thinking about Design. This is not a final online quiz, it is more of a pause, a chat of sorts, to link some learning points and the larger themes discussed in the course. It is the wrap-up of potentially “be[com]ing a design thinker”. Good luck!