Course Outline

Website description:
Designing great experiences is one thing, delivering them is another. This course aims to equip designers with the tools and methods to create their own product development companies. Participants will learn how to develop and evaluate product/service concepts, establish a rapid iterative prototyping process and use the human-centered design process to create and test minimum viable versions of their products. The project-based course will focus on using contemporary professional methodologies to help students bring their product concepts to market in meaningful ways. Priority is given to INTD students in Year 3. Students outside of the registration priority group may register/waitlist for this course as of the registration rule release date.

Course Content

The course offers full coverage of the foundation skills for today’s entrepreneur who would like to start a business based on a product or service. The material is designed for participants to generate useful ways of developing product or service concepts from idea through to launch. The course follows a cycle starting with the new product concept and moving forward to the implementation of the business opportunity. During this course, participants will learn proven tools, frameworks and concepts useful for discovery – generating an wide range of ideas that can be validated by establishing a market fit.

Through lectures, short in-class charrettes, co-creation workshops, project development cycles, tutorials, and group critiques, students will build their skill sets as design-driven business founders. Students will practice a process including Lean UX process, divergent and convergent thinking, hypothesis and validation, and multiple presentation techniques to create product experiences that are not only functional but address a current needs and/or interests of a specific audience. By the end of the course students should have furthered their understanding of essential perspectives of business viability and technological feasibility.

Assignments this term will include:

  • Value Proposition Canvas
  • Business Model Canvas
  • Minimum Valuable Product definition
  • Prototype
  • Final Product/Service Pitch

The course should help students appreciate that:

  • Design leadership is essential in balancing technology and business in today’s startup businesses.
  • Professionalism and a rigorous UX design process are critical in creating products and services of value
  • Curiosity, thoughtfulness and a willingness to play (experiment) are the basis of creativity and innovation.

Learning Outcomes:

In this course students will learn the following:

  • Understanding how to evaluate an early concept in terms of viability, feasibility and desirability
  • Practise the principles of Lean UX – user-centred design within an agile development process
  • Creating a value proposition using the Value Proposition Canvas
  • Connect your target audience’s needs and desires with your product or service’s features
  • Understand the patterns of value creation
  • Learn how to creatively iterate on your business concept using the Business Model Canvas tool
  • Explore different ways of balancing how your organization creates, delivers and captures value
  • Discover the importance of rapid prototyping and testing on early stage concepts to help in the evaluation and development process of your product or service.
  • Explore different ways of acquiring the crucial financial support that your business requires
  • Learn presentation strategies for communicating your businesses goals.

Overall Grading Scheme

Attendance 5%
Participation 5%
Phase 1 Concept Proposal 10%
Phase 2 Value Proposition Canvas 10%
Phase 3 Business Model Canvas 15%
Phase 4 Prototype 15%
Phase 5 Testing Report 15%
Phase 6 Final Presentation 20%
Total 100%

Evaluation Criteria Definitions

Research questions are appropriate, carefully framed and insightful. Sources are varied and reliable; scope and depth of research suits the project and time available. Research findings are selected and evaluated according to relevant criteria. Design shows evidence (through the process books) of being informed and improved through research and testing.
Conceptual Development:
Playfulness, experimentation, and intelligent development result in a wide range of possible solutions; the design process is both convergent and divergent, analytical and synthetic, as the project phase requires. Many iterations are considered and evidence of this is documented in the process books. More importantly, reflective notes show how ideas connect and why certain directions were chosen over others. Make connections.
Communication: Ensuring that the form of the message resonates with the intended audience.
Achieving an expressive unity between meaning and form.
Risk-taking; designing solutions that arise from insight, experiment and imagination.
Visual form:
Achieving engaging, meaningful solutions. Typography demonstrates a good understanding
of normative and expressive principles; images and other visuals illuminate ideas clearly and elegantly.
Technical accomplishment: Using technology competently and in a way that is appropriate to concept,
audience, objectives and visual form.
Effective interaction:
Considering the designed experience in interacting with the piece. Does it invite reading, is it clear, can the desired information be apprehended easily.

Giving a convincing explanation and defense of work; effective, professional presentation.

Project management:
Meeting deadlines; developing projects iteratively rather than at the last moment; organization of tasks using such tools as a Gantt Diagram.

Process Documentation
Students demonstrate the course learning competencies by recording their design process and methods
in a process book which forms an integral component of the course grade. It consists of:
Documentation of the project process including:
Summary of research (250 word written document summarizing literature and providing the context for your proposed solution.
Must include a bibliography. Include any primary research such as interviews or testing)
Visual research (the visual context for your work, context, moodboards, etc)
Exploration (sketches/drafts/layouts/ideation);
Refinement and conceptual development (show the evolution of the idea)
Final proposed solution (images of work with textual rationale)
Self-assessment: reflections on processes, methods, ideas, solutions and management strategies. (what worked, what didn’t, what you might do differently next time)
Important: the purpose of the process book is to show a reader the evolution of the idea/design. Research, Conceptual Development and Visualization are assessed by evaluating your Design Process Book. It is not enough to simply show images, you need to use words to connect concepts and thematic development, to show how research influenced design, to point out strengths and weaknesses of various directions. Essentially you are explaining your thought process through your project.

Grade Scale

Letter Grade Grade Points Percentage Equivalent Description Expanded Description
A+ 4.33 95-100 Distinguished Achievement For coursework of distinction, demonstrating a Distinguished, level of understanding of the subject matter, concepts, and techniques achieved in satisfying the learning objectives of a course.
A 4.00 90-94 Outstanding Achievement For coursework of distinction, demonstrating an Outstanding level of understanding of the subject matter, concepts, and techniques achieved in satisfying the learning objectives of a course.
A- 3.67 85-89 Excellent Achievement For coursework of distinction, demonstrating an Excellent level of understanding of the subject matter, concepts, and techniques achieved in satisfying the learning objectives of a course.
B+ 3.33 80-84 Commendable Achievement For coursework demonstrating a Commendable level of understanding of the subject matter, concepts, and techniques achieved in satisfying the learning objectives of a course.
B 3.00 75-79 Very Good Achievement For coursework demonstrating a Very Good level of understanding of the subject matter, concepts, and techniques achieved in satisfying the learning objectives of a course.
B- 2.67 70-74 Good For coursework demonstrating a Good level of understanding of the subject matter, concepts, and techniques achieved in satisfying the learning objectives of a course.
C+ 2.33 65-69 Competent Coursework demonstrates a competent level of understanding of the subject matter, concepts, and techniques achieved in satisfying the learning objectives of a course.
C 2.00 60-64 Satisfactory Coursework demonstrates a satisfactory level of understanding of the subject matter, concepts, and techniques achieved in satisfying the learning objectives of a course.
C- 1.67 55-59 Pass Coursework demonstrates a passing level of understanding of the subject matter, concepts, and techniques achieved in satisfying the learning objectives of a course.
D 1.00 50-54 Marginal Pass Coursework demonstrates a marginal or barely adequate level of understanding and ability for satisfying the learning objectives of a course.
F 0.00 0-49 Fail
Grade Notation See below for grading definitions.
AEG Aegrotat Standing
P/F Pass/Fail
CR Credit granted
I Incomplete Grade
W Withdrawal from a course


Grade Point Average: A Grade Point Average (GPA) is an average of the grade point values earned for credit courses.

Semester Grade Point Average

The average of the grade point values that you have earned for all courses attempted in a semester.

Cumulative Grade Point Average

The average of the grade point values for all of the credit courses attempted while at ECU, including repeated courses.

Grade Point Average Calculation: Grade point values range from 0.00 (F grade) to 4.33 (A+ grade). Each letter grade has a corresponding value. GPA is calculated by taking the total amount of the grade point values assigned for grades and dividing that total by the number of credits earned.

Aegrotat grade (AEG): Aegrotat (AEG) standing may be used where a student is unable to complete their course work due to significant medical or other extenuating circumstances beyond their control. AEG may be used where a student has successfully completed a minimum of 60 percent of a course. A grade assignment of AEG will carry credit, and satisfy pre-requisite and degree requirements, but will be GPA neutral

Incomplete grade: Incomplete grades may be granted by the instructor, for cases where the student has been unable to complete the course work because of extenuating circumstances beyond their own control. Such circumstances may be medical or of a personal nature and the student may be required to provide documentary evidence.

Pass/Fail/Credit Grades – Grades of ‘Pass’ (P), ‘Fail ‘(F) or ‘Credit’ (CR) may be assigned to select courses that identify P/F/CR as the grading method approved at Senate. Grades of P/F/CR are GPA neutral and will not impact grade point average positively or negatively.

Withdrawal from a course – Grades of ‘W’ will be assigned where a student officially de-registers from a course in advance of the withdrawal deadline each semester. Grades of W bear no academic penalty and will not be calculated as part of a student’s GPA, but will appear on a student’s academic transcript.

Additional Policies and Information

University Attendance Policy

You are required to attend all classes. Absence and lateness will affect your grade for the course. Therefore, you should be aware of the following criteria:
You will receive a 5% penalty for each absence and a 2.5% penalty for each time that you are late for class. You will be considered late if you arrive after attendance is taken, when the class has formally begun. Furthermore, you are subject to the same penalty if you leave the session before it has properly ended. Being more than one hour late is equivalent to being absent. More than three unexcused absences in a class will result in failure of the course. To formally excuse an absence due to illness or emergency, students must phone or send an email to the instructor by the end of the day. You may be required to give proof of a legitimate excuse, such as a doctor’s note. It is also your responsibility to determine what you missed and what you must do to complete any assigned work.

University Participation

100% attention is required during critiques and meetings. Thoughtful and serious engagement, critical thinking and sensitivity regarding other students and their work are crucial. You are expected to be present and engaged in every class, and well prepared for every meeting and critique.

Academic Accommodations

The Disability Service Office provides services to and prepares Accommodation Notices for students with speech, hearing, visual, physical, mental health and neurological disabilities (learning, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorders), as well as chronic health conditions and acquired brain injury. Faculty will accommodate students who have established their eligibility by evaluation with Disability Service and who present an Accommodation Notice at the beginning of the semester, and no later than three weeks before the first scheduled test/exam or assignment requiring accommodation. Students cannot expect accommodation unless they establish their eligibility and register with Disability Service. If you have a disability and have not yet registered with Disability Service, please contact Heather Mitchell, Disability Service Coordinator, or 604.844.3081.

University General Policies

  • Students must maintain an appropriate standard of conduct. They must demonstrate respect for all persons on the campus, and display mature conduct. All students must abide by the university’s Student Conduct Policies and the university’s Harassment Policies (see Emily’s A to Z). Failure by students to maintain appropriate standards of conduct may result in the initiation of disciplinary action by the university. Instructors are responsible for managing the classroom. Students whose behaviour is disruptive, challenging or intimidating will be addressed and may be excused from class. If the behaviour continues, disciplinary measures (see Emily’s A to Z) will be employed.
  • The instructor may modify the material or schedule specified in this outline. Any changes will be announced in class.
  • Late assignments or projects may be penalized as specified in the course outline.
  • It is plagiarism to present someone else’s work or ideas as one’s own. Plagiarism may result in failure of an assignment, of the course, and, if repeated, expulsion from the university. Assistance with the ethical practices of attribution and documentation is available from the Writing Centre or online at
  • A student may be required to provide proof of a legitimate excuse, such as a doctor’s note, for illness or absence which causes any missed assignments, tests, projects, exams, etcetera, or for absences of more than two classes. At the discretion of the instructor, the student may complete the work for a prorated grade.
  • Students must demonstrate that they understand and practice the safe use of tools and other equipment, materials, and processes used in their course projects. They must conduct themselves in a responsible manner that does not endanger themselves or others, and must adhere to area procedures regarding authorized operation of equipment, handling of materials, and use of space.
  • Professional counselling and therapy is available at no charge to students who have concerns of a personal nature. Information shared is held in strict confidence. To make an appointment, call 604-630-4555 or email or come in to the Counselling Centre.
  • The Writing Centre is a service that Emily Carr provides to all students, staff, and faculty from every program area who would like to improve their reading, writing, critical thinking, and research skills. This is a free, voluntary, and confidential service. Writing Centre instructors can help you at every stage of your writing, from developing ideas to final revision. This applies to any kind of writing, from a three line artist’s statement to a twenty page academic paper. Please check out the Writing Centre blog site for more information and to sign up for an appointment Telephone: 604-629-4511; Coordinator: Heather Fitzgerald
  • Email is an official means of communication with Emily Carr students by faculty, administration and other service providers on campus. Email routing will be confined to the university’s internal communication network, and delivered to an officially assigned and verifiable University Email Address. All users are bound by the provisions of Emily Carr Policy 415: Code of Conduct for Appropriate Use of Information Technology Facilities and Services (outlined on the Emily Carr website and in Emily’s A to Z). Instructors will outline and detail the expected extent and parameters of email use in the course in the first class, and clarify the timeframe for checking and responding to emails.
  • Emails will be answered in a timely manner, usually within 48 hours after receiving the email. Emails will not, however, be answered on weekends or the day before an assignment is due if the email relates to the assignment.