About Design Bits

Welcome to Design Bits!

This is an introductory online course about design for non-designers: people who are curious about what design is, how designers work, and how to work with designers. Through seven chapters, we explain the basic definitions of design, introduce models for understanding the design process, and demonstrate the value of design in industry and society.

We introduce the four essential pillars of design today: sustainability, collaboration, innovation, and management. Through hands-on activities and reflections at the end of each chapter, we give you a taste of some widely-used design tools, guide you in thinking like a designer and show you possibilities for deepening your design studies at Aalto University.

Course goals

After taking this course, the student:

Understands the value of design and its main approaches to sustainability, collaboration, innovation and management.
Knows about the different design fields and understands design’s possible application to different areas.
Understands the importance of the user’s perspective and knows design tools that help including users in projects.
Can describe the design thinking process, its phases and its most relevant tools and methods.

Important details

The course has 7 chapters. Each chapter has multiple-choice questions, open-ended activities, and reflections on the topic.
Design Bits is a 2-credit course from Aalto University.
Readings and online materials: 40h + Activities & Reflections: 14h. Total: 54h

How to navigate the course

We have two foundation chapters where you should start from:

CH01 – Design relevance
CH02 – Design basics

After you are done with those, you will proceed to the section where we present the Four Pillars of design. You can take the following chapters in the order you prefer, but you must take them all to finish the course:

CH03 – Pillar Sustainability
CH04 – Pillar Collaboration
CH05 – Pillar Innovation
CH06 – Pillar Management

Finally, we have the summary section:

CH07 – Wrapping up

The last chapter is all about good design, where you will review the activities you’ve done and also give us feedback about the course.


How to complete the course and get the credits:

Getting 2 ECTS credits as an Aalto student:

  • You must register for the course via Sisu before the period starts. You can go to the registration page by clicking here.
  • You must complete the course and submit the activities before the examination week in each period. The exact deadline is mentioned in MyCourses.
  • An instructor will review your activities and grade you (pass/fail) by the end of the period. If you pass, the credits will be added to your Aalto University student records.

Getting 2 ECTS credits as a non-Aalto student:

  • You must register for the course via Aalto Open University by clicking here. Please be aware that Aalto Open University charges a 30 euros fee.
  • On Aalto Open University link, click on ‘Fill in application’ (right side of the screen). Then login with bank account or create new user. On the left menu, click on ‘Course registration’. Then select ‘Course registration autumn 2021’ and lastly ‘fill in form’. In the field ‘Choose course’ select UWAS Project, Lectures (2021 – 09 – 13) – UWAS C001101 [English].
  • After you register at Aalto Open University, you must complete the course and submit the activities. When you finish, send an e-mail to designbits@aalto.fi. An official transcript of records will be issued.

Course team:

Course supervision: Turkka Keinonen
Course management: Paulo Dziobczenski, Andrea Bandoni (pilot/2020)   
Teacher in charge: Paulo Dziobczenski 
Content Design: Paulo Dziobczenski, Molly Balcom Raleigh (pilot/2020) 
Web design: Olena Mohylna (pilot/2020), Paulo Dziobczenski, Thong Cam 
Illustrations: Jamini Kavoori (pilot/2020) 
Web development: Thong Cam, Miranda Kastemaa (pilot/2020) 

Special thanks to:

Adithya Vardarajan
Aki Särkiniemi 
Anna Pallonen
Anna Valtonen
Anna Van der Lei 
Antti Salovaara 
Enni Äijälä 
Guy Julier 
Heidi Paavilainen 
Hetta Huhtamäki 
İdil Gaziulusoy 
Jon Fabritius 
Jouni Paltakari 
Juha Kronqvist 
Juuso Tervo 
Katja Hölttä-Otto 
Maria Rehbinder 
Marjukka Mäkelä 
Markus Joutsela 
Pirjo Kääriäinen 
Ramia Mazé 
Riikka Mäkikoskela 
Risto Sarvas 
Salu Ylirisku 
Sampsa Hyysalo 
Severi Uusitalo 
Sini Koskimies 
Sini Linteri 
Taija Turunen 
Tatu Martilla 
Teija Löytönen 
Tiina Toivola 
Tomi Kauppinen 
Tua Björklund 
Turkka Keinonen 
Tuuli Mattelmäki