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.

NOTE 1: The enrollment for the 2023-2024 course closed on 9.6.2024. If you have not enrolled in the course but have completed the course, you need to register in SISU or Open University for the 2024-2025 edition of the course.

NOTE 2: Students who submit the answers after the deadline of 23:59 on 14.6.2024 will receive their credits in Period I of the academic year 2024-2025 and, thus, have to enroll in the 2024-2025 edition of the course.

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.
  • After registering 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.
  • If you are a high-school student, you don’t need to register at Aalto Open University. You can take the course for free and send an e-mail to designbits@aalto.fi asking for a high-school certificate.

Course team:

Course supervision: Turkka Keinonen
Course management: Emilija Veselova, Paulo Dziobczenski (2020-2023), Andrea Bandoni (pilot/2020)   
Teacher in charge: Emilija Veselova
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 Ă„ijälä 
Guy Julier 
Heidi Paavilainen 
Hetta Huhtamäki 
Ä°dil Gaziulusoy 
Jon Fabritius 
Jouni Paltakari 
Juha Kronqvist 
Juuso Tervo 
Katja Hölttä-Otto 
Maria Rehbinder 
Marjukka Mäkelä 
Markus Joutsela 
Pirjo Kääriäinen 
Ramia MazĂ© 
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