This fall I am teaching Introduction to Design Computing, a required course for first-year interaction design graduate students at Carnegie Mellon.

Last year, I waived the course because it was primarily a Flash course and I had six years of professional Flash development and design experience. This year, a couple students asked to waive it as well.

This got me thinking. Why is it a required course if some students already have the skills? What are students expected to get out of the course?

As an interaction designer, knowing how to use Flash for prototyping is indeed useful. But you don’t need to know the program in detail, because you are not going to be the one programming applications.

I met with several faculty members this week to discuss the purpose of the course and the direction I would like to take it. In the end, we agreed that it should not be about learning Flash.

Instead, it will focus on prototyping interactions, interfaces, and experiences as a designer. We will start with simple, low fidelity prototypes and work our way toward higher fidelity. Also, we will explore ways to communicate experiences for design concepts.

Flash will be the core tool for prototyping, but other options will also be considered.

In addition, there may be a website/portfolio component to help students who are unfamiliar with putting together a portfolio on the web. But that might be too much for the course.

As I have been spending lots of time working on Emergence, I still need to hash out the details. I’ve got till Tuesday to figure it out.