Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation & Berkeley Certificate in Design Innovation
Today we are discussing two great opportunities you will have as a Berkeley Engineer – the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation and the Berkeley Certificate on Design Innovation. I’ve invited Amy Dinh and Tyshon Rogers to join us today and give us more details on the programs and events that are offered by the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation.
- Jacobs Hall – visit anytime, next to Etcheverry and Soda Hall
- Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation (Resources section)
- Amy Dinh Appointment
- Berkeley Certificate in Design Innovation
- Tyshon Rodgers Appointment
LAURA VOGT: Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of The Not So Secret Guide to Being a Berkeley Engineer. My name is Laura Vogt, and I’m the Communications and Events Manager for Engineering Student Services. Thank you for hanging out with us this summer. And now as we get ready to start getting into school we’re going to talk about one of the fantastic things that we have here on campus: The Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation and the Berkeley certificate in design innovation. I’ve invited Amy Dinh and Tyshon Rogers to join us today and give us more details on the programs and events that are offered by the Jacobs Institute for Design and innovation. Amy please tell us a little about yourself.
AMY DINH: Sure. So I’m the students services and programs manager at the Jacobs institute I’ve been here for three years and the institute has also been open for three years so it was very exciting to be here from the start and see our community grow. What I do is basically be a first point of contact for students who are interested in learning more about the resources we have at Jacobs as well as on campus in general if we don’t have what students are looking for. But we basically try to serve as a hub on campus for students interested in exploring human centered design and technology innovation through courses, events, being private student club, finding mentors here, or advising here and also taking advantage of maker space so I try to help students figure out which of those resources they might want to get involved and how to do that.
LV: Fantastic. Thank you so much for being here today. And Tyshon tell us a little bit about yourself.
TYSHON ROGERS: How are you doing. I’m Tyshon Rogers. I’m the student services advisor for the Berkeley certificate in design innovation. And starting July 1st I will also be taking on duties as the student services advisor for the Jacobs Institute and design innovation. And I started here at the beginning of the year. So since the spring semester hit, I started sort of organizing the Berkeley certificate and design innovation. We were moving into our second year of existence and so there was a lot of administrative work to sort of get the program up and running. And you know I’m glad to sort of say that the program is doing great. And we had a really good cohort of students who graduate with a certificate and we’re looking forward to the future and more students sort of participating.
LV: And as we talk about the certificate today we’re going to abbreviate it to BCDI. We can make it easier for me because I keep stumbling over it. So how are Jacobs and the BCDI related to each other?
AD: They are very much overlapping communities. I think a lot of students who come to Jacobs take advantage of all our resources as I mentioned those classes those workshops meet their Maker Space. A lot of them have a question of “Well, I’m really interested in this, how can we explore this academically?” which is where the BCDI comes in.
TR: Well the BCDI program ultimately was created by four colleges: the College of Engineering, the College of Environmental Design, HAAS School of Business and the College of Letters and Sciences or Humanities Division. So it’s split in four, so College of Engineering is where controls about one fourth of the programming but the Academic Committee who is the hub of the certificate program, they also are intimately involved with those sort of methodology and approvals of new courses that are being designed that sort of incorporate this design methodology. So Jacobs for instance new courses emerge and they have to be approved they also go to this academic committee which is always sort of thinking about design methodology and innovation as far as course material is concerned. So that’s one intimate area of development between the two.
LV: Okay. And can you give us a little bit of the history of Jacobs?
AD: Sure. So as I mentioned we’re pretty new. We opened our doors to students in the Fall 2015 and the reason why the institute was started, it was Paul Jacobs who is alumni of the College of Engineering. He really wanted to invigorate undergraduate engineering education and give students a chance to learn through hands on, collaborative, interdisciplinary and project based learning. Basically what students will do once they graduate and go into the real world. He wanted to have them, give them that chance to explore that here while they’re still in school. And so this institute was founded as a way to provide those resources not only to Berkeley students, not only to engineering students but also to students all over campus because he and we believe that design can be applied to any discipline and it really benefits from having all those different perspectives, so when we opened our doors we had all these resources as I mentioned for students to explore design in a hands on way so that they’re not just learning things through lectures and problem sets but they’re also able to say let’s go and make this drone or let’s go and make this interactive website or this cyber physical system based on what we’ve learned and see the real real impact in real applications of what we’re learning. It’s exciting to see how much our students have done and how much our community has grown over the past three years. And we’re looking forward to seeing what the next year will come will bring.
LV: Tyshon, can you tell us a little bit more of the history of the BCDI and where did it come from, where and how did we decide to start it?
TR: OK so ultimately this is what
LV: I know you’re saying like 4 different colleges are involved.
TR: It was ultimately a proposal on how to sort of teach design innovation, or at least what Berkeley wants to emphasize when it comes to this sort of teaching methodology. And you know so the deans of the school sort of like you know went out and got the investments for the program and essentially you know appointed different people for the Academic Committee from each school to bring those perspectives together. In turn those academic committee members sort of develop the criteria. And so you’ll see a lot of this in the language on the website which is BCDI.berkeley.edu. A lot of the language about our teaching methodology is there and what we ultimately want as far as learning outcomes are concerned. And so they developed that approach and ultimately they identified courses across the campus. So it is not limited to the four schools that are participating. They examen courses across the campus to see whether those courses sort of fit into the mold of what they ultimately want zs far as outcomes are concerned. And from that we sort of developed about 50 or so courses that are now part of our crew approved course list. And so usually there are aspects of these courses that follow sort of rolling outcome or either iterative process that will ultimately end up in a position where you produce a certain outcome you gain certain skill sets etc. And by the time you graduate with a certificate, it should be somewhat of a confirmation of having sort of a training in a certain type of design methodology that you can carry on to the professional world. It can be recognized as such.
LV: And so we’re talking about the classes that we have that are available. Who is offering those classes.
AD: It’s actually a variety of different departments. We really try to partner with other departments on campus in order to provide resources to students so the courses that are labeled as DES INV courses for design innovation, those are the ones that are offered and taught by lecturers hired by Jacobs or faculty at hired by Jacobs but actually the majority of our courses are offered by the departments from integrated biology to mechanical engineering to new media and so for those courses we don’t have oversight over the content. We just try to support them by price based and providing this community that they can join. So if you are if you’re part of a different media on campus you might see some departments offering classes here because those classes are related and we want to support that and support your department through that way.
LV: So since we have the design innovation certificate program obviously design is important. Why is design so important and why have we made it such a big part of Berkeley engineering specifically?
AD: Well design is really about it’s a way to solve a problem. It’s saying what is the problem we have. What are some of the, what information can get about it. What are the solutions we can develop for it. So it’s really a problem solving process that can be applied to any discipline, but engineers are problem solvers. They use their design, engineer skill set to solve real world problems so the two ideas are very much overlapping. And, I think especially with the type of design that we try to promote which is human centered design where you’re asking who is the end user that we’re trying to help. What do they want. Let’s learn about them so we can design a solution that is really appropriate for them and it’s something that’s not only functional but also delightful and pleasing and enjoyable to use. I think as an engineer you know you’d want your designs to be very technically, very technically good and functional and that’s definitely still very important and that’s what I think Berkeley students are already good at. And I think the students who also incorporate these additional questions, let’s make it not only just good but also just like as well as possible, are really going to raise the caliber of Berkeley engineering even higher. And so that’s kind of the why it’s important, generally speaking. But it’s also fun. If you if you stopped by Jacobs Hall you’re going to see students doing a lot of really fun and also amazing things like their 3-D printing these intricate 3D art objects or they are designing a remote control vehicle for one of their classes or they are part of a club that’s designing components for their competition vehicle. So it’s important but it’s also just a fun way to learn. And I think it’s nice that we can support that.
LV: So what resources do you provide at Jacobs Hall to do that support?
AD: Yes so I categorize our resources into five main groups. We have our classes. A lot of which are also qualify for getting the BCDI. And those courses range from the intro level, you are new to design and you just want to pick up some basic skills and visual communication and sketching or prototyping of application all the way to senior and junior and graduate level courses where you’re taking all those basic skills and you’re applying them to a topic like remeasure ability or reimagining ability or exploring the world of AR and VR. So courses are one, events is another one, we have a lot of speakers. We have a lot of workshops, we have a lot of co-curricular activities so that students can explore design even outside of the classroom. We have a lot of student groups that we try to support. So a lot of events and activities that happened at Jacobs are student led. And that’s very inspirational and so we just try to support them through providing space. Just basically listening to student groups and hearing what they need and giving them a platform to meet each other. We have advising mentorship as I mentioned so Tyshon and I provide co-curricular and academic advising and just try to give students advice about how to explore design. But we also have technical advising from our design specialists and our design fellows who are staff and volunteers who have a lot of expertise in different techniques and disciplines of design and they are there to talk to students, and give them tips, train them on how to use their equipment etc. And then that leads me to our last main pillar of resources which is our maker space which is basically a term for a lab space that has lots of equipment that you can use to make things. So our maker space has a lot of different areas. We have, for example, a general maker space with 3D printers and laser cutters. We have a wood shop, a metal shop. We have electronic shop. We have an augmented reality virtual reality space that we’re actually opening up in, well it’s a real space, and we’re going to be opening up in the fall so students can take advantage of any and all of those topics. And so that’s kind of our job to tell students what’s available and which of those resources they might want to take advantage of any and all of those topics. So that’s kind of our job to tell students what’s available and which of those resources they might want to take advantage of.
LV: So how do they get involved or sign up to be part of BCDI, the certificate program.
TR: Okay. So ultimately the formality of signing up for the program is a bit fluent but you can ultimately just go on our website, go to the curriculum page and there’ll be a forum that you download, that is the Declaration of Intent Form. On the form, the questions will ask you some basic student information questions and then it’ll also ask you some of the courses that you may be interested in taking, as part of the certificate. So you’ll get an opportunity to, say there’s three different levels within the certificate as far as courses are concerned. You have the design foundation courses which are meant to sort of give you a foundation of knowledge and design in general, then you have the design skills courses and last you have the advanced design courses which sort of incorporate all the process from the beginning of the iteration process to the and where you do major projects etc in these courses. Some of them are extremely technical. Some of them aren’t that technical on that and, so there’s a range of advanced design courses that are suitable for almost everyone on campus and will form or fashion depending on your interest. So ultimately what you’ll do is you’ll download the Declaration of Intent and you’ll review the list of approved courses for the certificate and you would sort of put in the classes that you are somewhat interested in, maybe put in a reasoning as to why you’re interested in those classes, and we’ll give you a choice of first choice or second choice. This information, you know, you’ll send this information directly to us. There’s informational wording on the website that tells you specifically where to send it, what email address to send it to. But we use the information to sort of gather data on students and what they’re thinking about, what courses appeal to certain students. And so the more data we have, the better we can serve the needs on the back and ultimately if we’re seeing you know real high demand for certain courses up front then that gives us some more ammunition to sort of speak towards what we need from the University in a number of different ways. If we need more slot enrollments etc. Stuff like that. Then this all helps the process. So that will be the, you know, the first step that you could take as far as formalizing it. But what I would suggest is that even before you do that you stop by Jacobs Hall. I mean two three four Jacobs Hall and you can come by, you can drop by, or you can sort of book appointment with me. You can book me at Tyshon Rogers.
LV:We’ll put links for this on our web page.
TR: OK. So yeah I would suggest that you sort of book an appointment with me. I usually put 30 minute time slots. But you know from there I can really sort of sit down and talk to you, and sort of we can sort of figure out you know what angle you’re sort of interested in design from so that we can you know sort of really sift through certain forces and their availability how they sort of work with your traditional academic path that you’re taking based on you know what you’re majoring in or what you are considering majoring in. So these are all things that take a lot of sort of like time to sort of sift out that can’t be done by pressing a keyboard and sending something off. So I would advise that aspect of it. But you know once you throw out a declaration of intent you know everything is pretty much a go, we sort of track you from that point on. We sort of put you into our informational system and we’ll send you updates on the changes and the new courses that are coming along, any programs or events that we’re having coming up, if we’re having info sessions we’ll send that out to you, other information about different things going on with the certificate program, we’ll update you on. But it allows for us to track you and gain more information and make it ultimately better for all students.
LV: And what is the benefit of getting the BCDI?
TR: Ultimately the certificate, we see the certificate as sort of a way to sort of confirm a long skill set that’s applicable to the professional world. So if you’re interested in interface stuff, then I think this speaks to whether, you know, youre an anthropology major, but you’re interested in this type of stuff. It sort of gives you a sort of stamp of approval that you at least understand. Like say the processes behind leading a product development team at a tech company, from my anthropology standpoint. So like you at least know all the you know the sort of iterative processes, you know what goes into the team’s success, or what information they may need. And I think you know ultimately, by completing the certificate, and having that sort of cohort of students who sort of graduate move into the professional world where their sort of skills that they picked up through these courses, so to speak, to that experience and then we create sort of a pipeline that allows for those students to know of other students who’ve recently graduated since taken a certificate that they have this sort of skill set. I think ultimately we hope that the certificate brand becomes viable in the professional workplace. Okay. And I think that’s how I sort of see it, at least the students who are part of the brand, who graduate each year, they’ll know that students come from underneath them were taught in the same method, and that that’s a skill set that they have immediately on the job.
LV: So it’s definitely going to benefit them.
TR: Oh yeah I think
AD: Just to add a couple things, onto declaration, which is another common question we get; is there a design major or minor at Berkeley. And the answer is not yet. There is the College of Environmental Design, which offers a lot of majors to environmental design and they’re awesome and they also offer some soft design majors. There’s also other majors on campus that students pursue in lieu of a Design Major, but because there isn’t one the certificate is a great way for students to have that structure to their studies even if they’re not majoring in design or minoring in design either.
LV: Yeah that sounds great. So now Jacobs has other courses that are outside of the design certificate or are there ways that they maybe they don’t have time to do an entire certificate program but is there something that can be like a one off class or….?
AD: Yeah yeah that’s a great question. There are a lot of other classes. A lot of classes that we have do fold into the certificate. And since our missions overlap so much, but there are other classes that you can take there that are separate from it, as he said if you don’t have time or if you just have like other things youre pursuing; we have decals that we support. So decals are the student taught and facilitated courses where students are teaching other students about things that they are passionate about. And so if it’s design related, like the web design decal or the new one, bio-inspired design decal. There’s also some courses that are one to two units so they don’t necessarily fit into the certificate. But for example our speaker series when you sign up and you hear a speaker come by every week to talk about their design practice. That’s also actually a public speaker series. Even if you aren’t taking the class for credit, you can come. Just hear the speakers whenever you have time. So there’s also these other one off opportunities like coming to workshops where Arjay are teaching things like how to make chocolate molds for Valentine’s Day or how to build a balloon fighting robots and have a balloon fighting battle with these little robots. So yeah, if you’re interested in learning about design keep an eye out for those student-led classes. Know that you can take all of our classes a-la-carte and you don’t have, you know, if you want to just take one class, but not necessarily a whole suite. And that’s totally fine. Or you can also just look out for our workshops, and our one off events as ways to learn. Fantastic.
TR: And yes I just want to follow up on the decals that are offered at Jacobs. I would say for incoming freshmen who may have trouble enrolling in some of our design foundation courses. The decal for our for human design and the decal for graphic design are excellent choices to introduce you to the methodological education style of what we do at the certificate program. So those are classes that you can probably get into more likely to get you sort of rolling because you know the first thing you have to sort of like you know get a prerequisite. That way, when your freshman year, your schedule is kind of set in some ways, and there’s not much much wiggle room to sort of just incorporate something that you’re thinking about that you want to do. But if you’re extremely interested in design, you kind of know where you want to go. Those are good entry point for our ideal design patience and learning that process and you can learn it in student groups around a bunch of students who are also interested. This is a really good way to meet other students who are intimately involved in design processes. And you know possibly join clubs etc. meet friends who are thinking along the same lines from different interdisciplinary backgrounds. So I would suggest that that option is there for you. It’s a good way to get into it, if you want to get a feel for it before you you make a full commitment to it, and then you know if you feel like it’s for committing to them then I would suggest that you sort of sit down with your major advisor, and sort of work out a pathway that allows for you to graduate based on whatever timeline that works for you, and is important to you or what’s necessary as far as your life circumstances are concerned and sort of fitting that in going forward. And then we’ll always be available to sort of help you work around certain things. But yeah I would say if you’re not able to switch right and use the decals which are usually in blocks of time that are sort of not conflicting with all the classes and stuff like that. Use those as a way to sort of feel out the process and see what you want to do.
LV: Now that is a great suggestion thank you. How can they gain access to Jacob? You were talking about the maker space. Is there a way to go in and just be able to use the maker space
AD: So to get access to the maker space specifically it’s a three step process and any Berkeley student can have access, all engineering students as well as from other colleges. So the process is all on our website. Just look up maker space pass. Jacob Hall. Go to our our space section on the site you’ll see it. So first up is registration. You fill out a very short form just less like youre interested in getting a pass. Second thing is you pay access fee for the semester for most students its at 75 dollars. There is a few waiver available to you if you have a financial need. So if that fee is a concern to you, just fill out the waiver and we’ll let you know within a few days whether we can waive that fee for you. The third step is to take an online safety training. It’s a module on bcourses and you just read. There are basic access and safety policies and requests and a lesson that you have written on the mission. And then once you’ve done those three steps then you have access for the semester. Right now our access is on a semester by semester basis so every semester you want access you just do this quick process. And then once you do that you basically are able to get into the maker space. All of our equipments is available with your cal1 card by tapping our card reader, you go in and then you at that point just choose the parts of the maker space that you want to get trained on. So for example, I want to use laser cutters. I will sign up for the laser cutter training. I want to use the woodshop, I will sign up for the woodshop training so there is additional training. But getting that makers pass is that initial access, its a three step process and its a-la-carte use, use the areas of space they want to learn about and you can take training for all them if you want or some of it, based on what you want to do.
LV: So let’s talk a little bit more about the communities that we have at Jacobs and part of the community for the CDI. What are the students like? Who actually comes and takes part in it? Tell me a little bit more about that.
AD: Yeah so the community Jacobs, I think, is one of the best parts of working there. So we have students who are very open minded and very interested. I think that’s why they’re kind of saying I want to do something that’s a little bit outside of the box of what I’m studying in the classroom. And so they are coming there and they’re meeting students from other majors, and they’re collaborating on these projects where one student is like an EECS major and he’s like doing that all the electronics work. Another student is the Army major. He’s like all the physical components and then the other person is CogSci and they’re thinking through about the user experience aspects of it and you see a lot of these students working together and getting together and being I think a general positive community. I think that’s another thing that I really like about our students is that people are just really excited to be there, and they’re excited to show their friends and to introduce new students to the space into what’s possible there, and so you see students all the time just kind of bring people over, and showing them what they’ve done. If you get stuck on something, then I think it’s pretty common for students to turn up to another student, ask them what to do or talk to whenever one of our students supervisors staff who are also great and also provide assistance to our users just like our design specialist professional staff do. So very interdisciplinary and very friendly and just very creative and open minded.
TR: Yeah I would say for my experience with students who were participating in the program. They come from a diverse background of interdisciplinary education. And so, you’ll see what are actually the majority of our students come from the college of letters and science. So CogSci are most popular major, for students who are taking the certificate program. And so what happens is that these courses and you have students coming from CogSci, sort of merging and working on projects together that ultimately allows for a level of connectivity that you may not get in a more homogenous course where everyone’s sort of like studying for a test, and they’re almost operating like individuals in a way. The nature of the courses is that you know you have to work together. So you know collaborative innovation is a really big thing amongst the courses and you’re getting perspectives from people from all ranges of academic life. So I would say what you see is sort of a vibrant community. Students coming out of classrooms talking to each other about you know what to do next. There’s always this like action going on that speaks to a level of closeness and community that we strive for, ultimately.
LV: I like to hear that everybody’s really getting to work together, and you work on these different projects. So the biggest thing that we’ve talked a little bit about how to find out, how to be part of this, and how to do things, all have links on our website but tell me a little bit more of how do people get information that they can take part. All of this.
TR: Yes. OK for the certificate program. Just check on our website bcdi.berkeley.edu.
And you know just browsing around the Web site as much as possible reading through checking out mainly our curriculum page which gives us a lot about, you know, sort of instructions on courses or courses are available, how you take courses, can petition for courses, or you can do that, you can always stop by Jacobs Hall, and come talk to me about it in general or book me at tyshonrogers.youcanbook.me. And those will be the first steps as far as participation is concerned. Each semester, we have an open house and full session that will publicize through social media outlets through Berkeley calendars.
LV: So we’ve definitely put it on the ESS newsletter so that happens every semester.
TR: We also have a sort of graduation ceremony in the spring. So that will include people who are either graduating in the Fall, most who will graduate in the spring or even students who go into the summer. That’s also a good opportunity actually come in you know to see the ceremony see, you know, what’s going on with the program, and learn more about it. That’s probably our biggest sort of thing, where you can ask any question, we’ll be there to talk to you. The Academic Committee will be there and you really get it done. As far as the process is concerned, and sort of like speak to the teaching and training that’s the foundation of the certificate program.
LV: That’s great. Thank you.
AD: Again for acquiring resources at Jacobs Hall. I would say, if you have and if any of this stuff remotely sounds interesting to you, just stop by, we’re located right next to Etchevery Hall. Our doors are open any time so stop for just a chat if you want to learn more. My office is in 103 Jacobs and you can also book appointments with me for advising at the beginning of semester. We’ll try to have some winter activities here so you’ll see us at Caltopia, you’ll see us at the Engineering Students Orientation activities event. We’ll have tours of the building etc.. So just look out for those, and just know that this is, just again, something that I think is important to get involved with as a student. Secondly, it’s just really fun, and you’re gonna to get to meet a lot of other cool students. Active student groups. If you are so interested, so the main things to hear about, all the things that are happening are to just remember that you can visit any time during the semester. Once you’re on campus, stop by our office or Tyshon’s office, and also just to check out our website, we have a Facebook and Twitter as well. And when you go to our website the section that you you might want to go to specifically is our student resources section that compiles all the information that we’ve talked about during the course of this podcast, and has links for more information and as well as links to where you can find and talk to me
LV: And I think it would be remiss if I didn’t talk a little bit more about what experience levels do students need to come in and start taking classes, or be a part of the maker space.
AD: Yes. Thank you so much for your question with that, so we welcome all experience levels, so we are a learning institution and we understand that not everyone comes into Berkeley with any knowledge about how to use a bandsaw or a 3D printer. And so that’s why we have these trainings, as we have these workshops, as we have all the staff who are available to assist you and so don’t be afraid of that. If that’s your concern please come and just learn and know that we are a resource for learning and for making mistakes iterating and until suddenly you are senior and you’re now teaching freshmen how to do the thing because you’ve gained so much over the past four years, that’s getting ahead of myself. There’s all experience levels, all are welcome and we would love to have fashion in transfers come into our doors as soon as they get here.
LV: Well thank you so much for coming. I really appreciate your time. Thank you so much and I hope everyone got a ton of information about the Jacob’s Institute for Design Innovation and our Berkeley Certificate of Design Innovation and I’m excited about it. I think the students are really excited about it. It’s something that’s not book learning that you keep hearing about, that we’re shoving physics.
So thank you everyone for tuning in today to the Not So Secret Guide to Being a Berkeley Engineer and I will talk to you again. Next week. Thank you.