Distinguished Lecture Series

Design at Large

• When: Monday, October 03, 2016 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM

• Speakers: Scott Klemmer, Associate Professor with both the Cognitive Science and Computer Science & Engineering Departments at University of California, San Diego

                                   and Co-Founder & Co–Director of the Design Lab

•Location: Research Hall, Room 163

•Department Host: Thomas LaToza


New challenges, cultural values, and technologies are changing design — and vice versa. Pervasive networked devices have freed design from the confines of the lab: design increasingly roams at large. Many of these designs meld the physical, digital, and social worlds. The successes are tremendously exciting, but the failure rate is high. Herein lies the challenge. Currently, many design practices are faith-based rather than research-based. Why is there a shortfall of principles for effective design? In part, some see design as intrinsically mystical and impervious to investigation, because creative work is clearly complex and multifarious. And in part, this is a multidisciplinary effort. Building rigorous design theory requires insights that are currently spread across departments… and also beyond the ivory tower.

My group's research tools harvest and synthesize examples to empower more people to design, program, learn, and create. Our experiments and research systems leverage real-world, web-scale usage to create practical theories for design. One focus of our recent work — inspired by the design studio — is enabling peer learning online. This work, used in hundreds of massive online classes, has created techniques for effective global-scale peer assessment of creative work and small-group video discussions among learners from diverse cultures.

Design is front-page news, the topic of Hollywood films, and enrollment in design courses — both in person and online — has skyrocketed. For me, the most powerful part is how many people are excited about making stuff. Let’s match this enthusiasm with insight.


Scott is an Associate Professor of Cognitive Science and Computer Science & Engineering at UC San Diego, where he is a co-founder and co-director of the Design Lab. He previously served as Associate Professor of Computer Science at Stanford, where he co-directed the HCI Group, held the Bredt Faculty Scholar chair, and was a founding participant in the d. school. He has a dual BA in Art-Semiotics and Computer Science from Brown (with Graphic Design work at RISD), and a PhD in CS from Berkeley. His former graduate students are leading professors (at Berkeley, CMU, UCSD, & UIUC), researchers (Google & Adobe), founders (including Instagram & Pulse), social entrepreneurs, and engineers. He helped introduce peer assessment to online education, and created the first such online course. More than 200,000 have signed up for his interaction design class & specialization. He has been awarded the Katayanagi Emerging Leadership Prize, Sloan Fellowship, NSF CAREER award, and Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellowship. Nine of his papers were awarded best paper or honorable mention at top HCI venues. He is on the editorial board of HCI and TOCHI; was program co-chair for UIST, the CHI systems area, and HCIC; and serves on the Learning at Scale steering committee. He advises university design programs globally. Organizations worldwide use his group’s open-source design tools and curricula.