GrowthX Academy trains individuals who want to transition into a career in UX Design, Sales and Business Development, or Growth Marketing. Each program is an immersive, in-person, 12-week experience located in San Francisco, CA.
Curriculum Research & Development
After working with General Assembly, I had a strong desire to create my own UX curriculum. I found a new school starting in San Francisco called GrowthX Academy. They needed what I was offering and my journey down the path of creating an intense, 3-month program of curriculum began.
After doing research with current and past students of other intensive UX programs, I created a spreadsheet with all of the lecture decks I wanted to create. I also included a rough estimate of the hours I expected the endeavor to take as well as a place for revisions.
There was more content than could be taught in a 12-week period, so I had to prioritize.
In order to prioritize content, I created a practice verticals matrix for a modern-day UX Designer skill set. There are a few of these out there, but I hadn't seen any that had been updated in over 10 years.
In order to plan out the curriculum and how lectures and activities would be taught, I created a Master Lesson Plan. All programs follow this template. The Master Lesson Plan includes daily lectures, assignments, projects, and weekly readings.
The GrowthX Academy UX program was set at 12 weeks when I started and I had to decide how to organize the program to maximize value.
I created a total of 12 projects for students to complete throughout the program. Each project has a deck that indicated objectives, expectations, project details, examples, and expected time to complete the project.
I created an assignment due date spreadsheet so each student could know how they were doing in the course as they went along. In order for there to be transparency, a student can view their progress at any time.
I taught Monday - Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. During this time I may teach 2 cohorts (or groups of students). Each cohort gets at least one lecture with an activity a day, sometimes 2 or 3 depending upon the day. Lectures cover everything from UX Research & Design activities and deliverables, to career navigation, to soft skills.
Teaching involves everything from standard lectures, to in-class activities, to studio time, to working on projects, to reviewing concepts.
A common phrase we used is "we hug elephants," meaning anything is open for discussion. While learning soft skills, we decided to role play. Everyone was pumped after practicing. And we hugged a stuffed elephant.
After doing a brainstorming activity, everyone is dot-voting for his or her top 3 favorite ideas.
Synthesizing user research takes a lot longer than expected. But creating affinity diagrams made the patterns come clear.
After graduation presentations (of portfolios), it was a relief to stand on the stage and pose for pictures.
I created a UX Program rubric for students to know where they stood for each project and activity throughout the course.
Each week I met with students one-on-one to review their course progress and understanding of the material. If they were falling behind we scheduled extra time for additional tutoring.
Each week, students have a closed-book, open-ended 10-question quiz related to the topics we talked about that week. This helped me assess the class's understanding of specific topics.
Students are assessed via project work, presentation skills, quizzes, and collaboration ability. Students present work every Friday to be critiqued and practice presenting. They work on both individual projects and group projects with real companies.
Design Educator & Design Manager