Designing Design Education
Offsite, as it stands now, is a 12-week intensive pilot program centered on reframing what design education can be.
Filling the gap between academia and industry, Offsite covers those practical skill sets often lightly discussed in school but learned on the job, including: business of design: how stakeholders outside of the design studio affect design; design for manufacturing: showing the real world constraints of materials, processes, and cost; design discourse: developing productive opinions in speaking about design; CAD for visualization: giving students up-to-date rendering skills to best display their work; real world sketching: drawing a distinction between beautiful sketch art online and the real sketching designers use as a vehicle of communication; and professional self-presentation: putting all these components together to tell the story of a student’s work.
Our first group, or cohort, in Offsite-speak, is a careful selection of 52 skilled students representing over ten different countries on every continent, save for Antarctica. This is by no mistake. There are not many design institutions in the world where you wake up in the US and come and chat with another student in Singapore who is finishing their day. Design often finds itself siloed by borders, and so we hope to offer students a truly international perspective and broaden the scope of their work.
The first round of classes, equivalent to a semester’s worth of usual university education, focuses on “leveling up”. Already coming to Offsite with a base foundation of design skills, our students are both university-level students and working professionals. The goal at this stage is to help those students move upward, whether it’s their first internship or job, or if it’s getting that promotion or the next job. In doing so, we’ve abolished grades as a metric for determining student success and progress, as your grades won’t get you hired, but your portfolio will. For Offsite, the real test of its success is the personal advancement of our students.