Macromedia MOOC Design Thinking – a Success Story.

The Concept of Macromedia MOOC Design Thinking

In autumn 2013 Prof. Oliver Szasz (Vice Head Graduate School Munich) began to conceptualize the first MOOC of Macromedia University. A MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is an online course, which enables students from all over the world to take courses from universities, usually free of charge. Next to traditional course materials e.g. videos, readings and assignments, MOOCs provide interactive user forums, where course questions can be answered and discussed in the course-related learning community.

The relatively young concept of MOOCs has been very intriguing for Macromedia University, which is known for its international reach and innovative learning environments. Prof. Faust (President Macromedia University) initiated this project, because a MOOC offers excellent opportunities to share knowledge on an unprecedented scale, it supports discourse with students globally, and allows participants to study self-directedly, in their own pace, whenever it is suitable for them.

Macromedia Graduate School – Linking theoretical frames with practice.

Macromedia University’s curriculum provides a combination of theory and practical application in the strategic triangle of Business, Management and Design. The M.A. Media and Design programme at Macromedia University’s Graduate School strongly supports the concept of Design Thinking with its approach to tackle complex problems and to create successful innovation by adopting a design and a management perspective. Therefore, Design Thinking is not only at the core of the course curriculum, but has also become the topic of Macromedia University’s first MOOC. Learn more about the Macromedia Media and Design M.A. course.

The notion of Design Thinking has been discussed widely in recent years as a set of methods, which can be applied in a step-by-step process, in order to solve complex problems. Yet, Design Thinking should be considered not only as a methodology, but as a discipline, which examines aspects of society, culture, technology and economics and incorporates various other scientific fields accordingly. Therefore, Prof. Oliver Szasz created a concept for a Design Thinking MOOC that features 14 different professors and lecturers, who present knowledgeable and inspiring aspects of their fields, which provide not only a multitude of perspectives on Design Thinking, but also establish the distinctive angle of this MOOC.

The Macromedia MOOC Design Thinking links theoretical frames with practice. Students have the opportunity to look into fundamentals like historical and theoretical aspects of design, design models and design systems. They can gain deeper insights into the Design Thinking methodology and the human-centred design approach. They can learn how to apply teamwork and communications skills, and investigate creativity methods and visualization tools in the context of strategic design. And last but not least, the Macromedia MOOC Design Thinking will teach students how to evaluate ideas and concepts and why an innovation attitude and intercultural communication competence is crucial for a successful implementation.


The Production of Macromedia MOOC Design Thinking

Macromedia University’s School of Creative Arts, which houses the Media and Communication Design faculty and Film & Television faculty, offered a unique opportunity to produce this MOOC entirely by utilizing inhouse capacities. Doris Wedemeier, dedicated Production Manager at the Film & Television faculty, set out together with Prof. Oliver Szasz to conceptualize the artistic realization and to plan, coordinate, and supervise the MOOC production by engaging more that 40 School of Creative Arts students in an unprecedented manner. Doris Wedemeier particularly never got tired to make maximum use of the stage setting in order to create distinctive looks for every single lecture.

Never before have so many students and alumni of Macromedia University worked together for more than 8 months on one project. An appropriate space for the studio needed to be found, the film set needed to be constructed, student film crews needed to be coordinated, catering needed to be organized, light needed to be set, before the directors were able say: “...and action!”

Not to forget the 14 professors and lecturers who not only passionately prepared inspiring lessons to fit into the MOOC syllabus, but had to face the unfamiliar situation to present their lectures in front of a camera and a student film crew. More than 60 hours of footage was digitally filmed in HD, which needed to be meticulously viewed and edited, followed by many weeks of postproduction. 3,740 hours of work went into this project before all data could be uploaded to the MOOC platform We want to express our thanks to the team, which was kindly available day and night for support.

During the first running period of the MOOC, a dedicated social media team of Macromedia University staff and students answered diligently all participants’ enquiries. A Facebook fan page offered a platform for additional exchange and has been visited in peak times by more than 350 people per day. Click here if you wish to subscribe to the news and update service of Macromedia University.

Course Details: Macromedia MOOC Design Thinking

The MOOC is divided into 4 consecutive weeks, each week featuring three or four lectures. Each lecture is divided in several lessons, which are usually not longer than 5 minutes. The lessons not only consist of video material, slides, additional reading material and interactive quizzes, but also discussion forums, which provide the key feature of a MOOC’s successful learning infrastructure.

The Macromedia MOOC Design Thinking will be available for participation in autumn 2014. The updated version will also include an exam. Please stay tuned for further information of sign up for our MOOC-newsletter here >

Once enrolled, students have unlimited access to all course material. A Statement of Participation can be downloaded free of charge after completing 80% of the course.

The MOOC will be available several times per year on the dedicated MOOC online platform Specific enrolment periods are published usually 4-6 weeks before the new launch of the course. Furthermore, the upcoming Macromedia MOOC Design Thinking will feature an exam, which allows students to test their knowledge thoroughly and after successfully passing the examination, they will be able to download their individual Macromedia University exam certificate.

Team Macromedia MOOC Design Thinking

Prof. Oliver Szasz (Project Director, Concept and Creative Direction)
Doris Wedemeier M.A. (Creative Direction, Production Manager)
Dr. Inga Heins (Press Relations)

MOOC Professors and Lecturers:
Prof. Dr. Alyosh Agarwal (Programme Media und Communication Management / Lecture: Business an Innovation)
Silvio Barta (Programme Media and Communication Design / Lecture: Design as a Discipline)
Prof. Jürgen Faust (President Macromedia University / Lectures: Design Models and Theory, Design Systems)
Prof. Lars Grau (Vice Chair Media and Communication Design / Lecture: Strategic and Concept Design)
Prof. Oliver T. Hellriegel (Chair Brand- and Communication Design, Fresenius University of Applied Sciences / Lecture: Problem Space, Wicked problems)
Paul Neervoort (Head of UX ExB Group, T-UX / Lecture: Prototyping and Testing)
Prof. Tanja Schmitt-Fumian (Chair Media and Communication Design / Lecture: Design Today)
Prof. Dr. Barbara Stelzner (Chair Journalism / Lecture: Intercultural Communication Competence)
Thomas Stegmann (Programme Media and Communication Design, Lecture: Design Thinking Process)
Prof. Oliver Szasz (Programme Media- and Communication Design / Lecture: Experience Design)
Prof. Egbert van Wyngaarden (Professor Film and Television, Programme Screenplay / Lecture: Storytelling)
Gary York (CEO venture GAINED / Lecture: Multidisciplinary Teams and Communications Skills)

Guest Lecturers:
Johann Knott (Lecture: Creativity and Ideation, Theory and Methods)
Bret Sheridan (Lecture: Creativity and Ideation, Theory and Methods)
Astrid Thomaser (Lecture: Human Centered Design

Film Production Team:
Albert Werner (Assistant Production Manager)
Fabian Widmann (Director)
Dennis Huszak (Director)
Lukas von Stein (Director)
Davis Prax (Assistent Director)
Lorenz Zitzelsberger ( First Camera, Light)
Lukas von Stein (Second Camera)
Patrick Hoffmann (Light)
Laura Lipp (First Camera)
Billy Gropper (Second Camera)
Fabian Gruber (Second Camera)
Sebastian Biermaier (Grip)
Malte Wilhelm (Continuety)
David Helmut (Grip)
Maximiliane Krause (Sound)
Benjamin Desai (Assistant Coordinator & Media and Design M.A. student)

Nelson Manuel Correia Vunda (Head Cutter)
Christian Dronia (Cutter)
Sebastian Johann Biermaier (Special Effects)
Alexander Plagge (Visual Effects)
Oliver Sredzinski (Cutter)

Graphic Design Team:

Luisa Forster
Stefanie Hickel
Lena Hubertus
My-Linh Le
Julian Nitsche
Mara Schmidt

Social Media Team:
Sarah Ines Struck (Press Relations)
Nour Tawfik
Renato Lopez Diaz

Special Thanks to everybody from Macromedia University for their encouragement, support and participation, in particular:

Dr. Reimar Müller-Thum (CEO Macromedia GmbH)
Prof. Jürgen Faust (President Macromedia University)
Prof. Dr. Guido Schafmeister (Academic Director, Professor Media Management Programme Sports and Event Management)
Markus Küll (Head of Marketing & Sales)
Gyde Ziesemer ((Head of Marketing & Sales Campus Hamburg)
Dr. Peter Stainer (Head of IT, Operation & Facilities)
Prof. Michael Leuthner (Acting Chair Film and Television)
Tina Crail (Graduate School Coordinator)
Katharina Schwab (Student Advisor - Master School & International Students)
Heike Gaßner (Event Manager)
Sarah Ines Struck (Social-Media-Redaktionsleitung)
Dora Molnar (Manager Operations and Services)
Kathrin Nüssel (Manager Operations and Services)
Rene Schurek (IT-Systemelektroniker)
Hanspeter Vogt (AV Technik)
Bengt-Olaf Bruns (Webmaster)
Nicola Stübing (Webentwicklerin)
Elisabeth Weber (Zentraler Einkauf)
Inna Chevychalova
Andree Müller
Benjamin Desai
Tatiana Kuvaldina
Juan Carlos Vanegas Diaz
Jye Woon

Responsible for the content of Macromedia University MOOC Design Thinking:

Macromedia GmbH, Germany

You want learn more about Design Thinking? You are planning to make a Master of Arts?

In creative professions, the demand for management knowledge and management qualifications has risen sharply in recent years. The Master’s course in Media and Design is aimed primarily at designers who wish to apply a comprehensive understanding of design to tasks and processes. However, it is different points of view, which broaden one’s perspective, creating the fertile soil for true innovation. Therefore applicants from a completely different background are welcome, be they engineers, natural scientists or creative people.

During their studies the Master’s degree students learn to think about and analyse management and design together, they analyse, design and implement, in short, they foster innovations through “Design Thinking”. Within interdisciplinary teams, Master’s degree students develop solutions to design problems, be they in relation to strategy design, service design or human-centred design.

Students choosing the Media and Design course can further specialize in the following areas:

  • Design Management
  • Media Design
  • Service Design
  • Strategic Design
  • Creative Direction
  • International Design
  • Postproduction
  • Animation

Click here to learn more about Macromedia Graduate School.

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