Learn how to apply the critical Human-Centered Design (HCD) methods to challenges in the everyday world.


Human-Centered Design Foundations is a six-week introductory course that provides a hands-on experience of the design process. Students will learn how to apply the critical Human-Centered Design (HCD) methods—empathetic research, problem reframing, creative ideation, rapid prototyping, and evaluation and iteration—to challenges in their everyday world. Students will leave this short course with a practical understanding of HCD and a set of tools for applying this process to larger issues facing their community.

Human-Centered Design is a type of design practice which centers people and their context. It promotes continuous prototyping, testing, and receiving feedback from users of the process or service. It can be used in many industries and contexts as a way to create innovative solutions to complex problems. 

This course is developed in partnership with the College of Design’s Minnesota Design Center. The Minnesota Design Center uses design thinking to enable communities and organizations to develop their assets and leverage their potential. They approach design as an empathetic, creative, and community-based process applicable to a wide range of human activities, in urban and rural settings and with the public and nonprofit sectors. 

Course Dates and Times

The next available course runs Monday, September 30 - Sunday, November 10th
Learners and instructors will meet as a group to workshop their design project at noon–1:30 p.m. US Central Time on: 

  • October 2, October 9, October 16, October 23, October 30 & November 6

Course Outcomes

At the end of this course, you’ll be able to:

  • frame critical design challenges from the user perspective based on a structured research process.
  • generate and test design ideas through low-fidelity prototyping.
  • apply  tools and methods for facilitating the design process, either individually or in small teams.

Course Format

This six-week course blends elements of synchronous and asynchronous components to provide learners with flexibility in project work, while also having face-to-face time with instructors and fellow learners via Zoom. 
Each week students will:

  • attend one 90-minute Zoom, during which students will participate in discussions and workshop their project with the instructor and peers.
  • complete three to four hours of assignments or project work.

Students will be graded on meeting the learning objectives through completion of a final project. Course completers will receive a certificate of completion.

Week Module Learning Outcomes
1 HCD101: Doing Design Establish a basic understanding of the iterative Human-Centered Design process and investigate potential problem areas
2 Design Research Conduct user research through observation and conversation and define relevant insights that can inform problem framing
3 Problem Framing Turn research insights into a feasible design question and learn problem frame evaluation tools
4 Idea Generation Practice creative fluency through divergent/convergent idea generation
5 Prototyping Learn how to gather honest and relevant feedback from users
6 Final Projects Present final prototypes to peers for feedback and identify next steps in project process

Technology Requirements

To participate in this course, learners will need access to a computer, laptop or other device that can with the ability to use Canvas and Zoom.


Do I need to attend all Zoom sessions?
You are encouraged to attend all Zoom sessions of the course. During the live Zoom sessions, you will participate in valuable discussions and workshops that will aid in meeting the course learning objectives.

When is the course open?
The course Canvas site will open on the Wednesday before the first day of the course. All the modules will open on the first day of the course.

How do I successfully complete the course?
You will receive a grade of complete or incomplete based on your demonstration of course learning objectives. Learning objectives are demonstrated by completing assessed projects.

The instructor will assess each learning outcome as “demonstrated” or “not demonstrated.” Completion of a course means that you have demonstrated achievement of all learning outcomes. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and the certificate of completion for the course will be awarded only if you receive a grade of “complete” for the course.

While participation in Zoom sessions and engagement with other unassessed learning activities do not count towards the final grade, these activities are designed to be an integral part of achieving the course learning outcomes.

If you receive a grade of “incomplete” after turning in an assessed project, you will have the opportunity to resubmit your project once. Please note, receiving a grade of “incomplete” or failure to demonstrate a learning outcome will not result in a refund.

When do I need to turn in assignments?
Assessed projects and other learning activities must be submitted on or before the due date, unless specific extensions are granted by the instructor. Instructors may not grant extensions more than two weeks after the course end date.

What happens if I need to resubmit a project?
If you do not successfully demonstrate course learning outcomes in your first attempt on an assessed project, you will have the opportunity to resubmit your project one time. Resubmissions cannot be submitted more than two weeks after the original due date.

How can I request accommodations?
The University of Minnesota views disability as an important aspect of diversity and is committed to providing equitable access to learning opportunities for all learners. The Disability Resource Center (DRC) is the campus office that collaborates with learners who have disabilities to provide and/or arrange reasonable accommodations. 

  • If you have, or believe you have, a disability in any area such as mental health, attention, learning, chronic health, sensory, or physical ability, please contact the DRC office on your campus (UM Twin Cities: 612.626.1333) to arrange a confidential discussion regarding equitable access and reasonable accommodations. 
  • If you are registered with the DRC and have questions or concerns about your accommodations please contact your (access consultant/disability specialist).
  • If you need ASL Interpretation Services please fill out the request form for your class.


Registering yourself with a credit card or U of M EFS number?
Select your preferred section and click Add to Cart.


Registering others or via other means (check, invoice, third-party credit card)? 
Register using the Other Payment Type Form

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Section Title
Human Centered Design Foundations
Online, instructor led
Sep 30, 2024 to Nov 10, 2024
Delivery Options
Course Fee(s)
Course Fee $630.00
U of MN Employee Discounted Course Fee $315.00
Section Details

Contact: 612-625-2900 or ccapsreg@umn.edu

Zoom course meetings are Noon–1:30 p.m. US CDT on: 

  • Wednesdays: October 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, and November 6
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