Course Overview

This course provides a broad understanding of how design acts as a continuum between its traditional roots and how current design methodologies are being applied to emerging needs. Through a series of case studies and studio visits this course looks to challenge our understanding of the scope and impact of Design.

The goal of this course is to provide a general understanding of how the various design disciplines shape, impact, and contribute to society. Therefore, by taking this class students will learn about contemporary design practice and how designers’ view their role. As a foundational class, emphasis will be placed on fostering a dialogue between students and practitioners to allow students to question their future role.  As an academic design class, students will be required to maintain a course log, keep-up with all course readings, written assignments, and actively participate in all in-class presentations and discussions.

The first week of class will take place on campus and the final three weeks will be asynchronous online.

All students who successfully complete the course will receive a Certificate of Completion and have the opportunity to request a Syracuse University credit transcript.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the historic role of design as it is linked to industry and commerce.
  • Understand key factors impacting current and future design practice.
  • Establish a working knowledge of the various roles designers are taking in order to have a greater impact on society.
  • Establish a working knowledge of various experimental forms of professional practice.

Course Information

Course Prefix and Number: IND 128

Format: Hybrid (1 week at Syracuse University, 3 weeks online)

Eligibility: Students must be of rising high school junior or senior status – or a 2024 high school graduate. 

Credit: 3 credits

Grading: A-F


  • Hybrid Residential-Online: $2,895
  • Hybrid Commuter-Online: $2,426

Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees.  Discounts and scholarships are also available.

Program Information

Summer College – Hybrid: Combine on campus and online study. Experience Syracuse University on campus for two-weeks and complete the final four-weeks of your course online from the comfort of your own home – or wherever life takes you!

Course Dates and Details

ProgramCourse DatesClass Time (Eastern Time)Credit/NoncreditStatus
Summer College – HybridOn Campus Session: Monday, July 8 – Friday, July 12, 2024
Online Session: Monday, July 15 – Friday, Aug. 2, 2024
On Campus Class Time:
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Synchronous Online Class Time:
3 – 5 p.m.
3 creditsClosed
There will be a one-hour break for lunch during the on campus portion of the course.

Course Requirements

Supply Requirements


  • How to Be a Design Student (and How to Teach Them) (-) Paperback – March 7, 2023 ISBN: 1797222295

Instructions on how to order the textbook can be found here.


  • Students should budget for purchasing a supply kit, additional details coming soon!
  • A laptop is expected, all software is available for download for students in this course.
    Figma, etc. a freely available for enrolled students via the manufacturer.

Typical Day

Tentative Schedule

Week one (in person on campus) The first half of the day will be a lecture with the second half being a research or observation activity.

Week 2-4 (asynchronous) Students will be asked to listen to lectures posted online and then complete observation or research-based activities. Each week, students will be asked to turn in an outline of the research and meet via Zoom with the professor for a check in. A final project book will be turned in along with a taped presentation will be due at the end of the course.

Faculty Bios

Denise A. Heckman

Before joining the faculty of the industrial and interaction design program at Syracuse University, Denise Heckman began her career at Hallmark Cards and then spent the greater part of the late 1990s in the technology ghettos of Seattle where she co-founded Motive Design Research, a design and consulting firm whose clients included Hewlett Packard, PhotoDisc, Adobe, and K2 Skis/Olen. Heckman worked as both a designer and as a design researcher for startup companies, biotech, medical, consumer products, and arts organizations before becoming a full-time educator in 2000.