University of Technology Sydney

89110 Higher Orders of Design

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2024 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Design, Architecture and Building: Design
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject provides an opportunity to undertake a self-led design research project in relation to a live industry project around using design methods to understand the future of workplaces (office environments) and worker cultures being undertaken with an Australian development company. Students are introduced to the case study, provided inspiration on a range of possible research questions and methods, and are able to determine the inquiry they lead in the subject. Students create a profesisonal design research brief and then respond to this brief with research findings or design solutions. Students are provided with individual feedback and mentoring in relation to their project and participate in peer feedback and discussion with the other students.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

1. Create rich accounts of the socio-material consequences and significance of design, in ways that can inform inclusive designing.
2. Explain the significance of a range of concepts and processes drawn from the scholarly and professional practices of Inclusive Design.
3. Communicate findings and insights from work that recognises the socially constructive power of design representations.
4. Demonstrate active listening by constructively critiquing design research presentations and responding to the work of peers with clear and thoughtful feedback.
5. Develop speculative design propositions reflecting an understanding of critical nature and responsibility of designing.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes to the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes:

  • Advocate for the power and responsibility of designing (A.1)
  • Co-create shared value propositions that benefit all stakeholders (A.2)
  • Communicate using a wide range of media and techniques (C.1)
  • Design for and with, and enable designing by, diverse stakeholders (I.1)
  • Lead a design team to co-create responsible innovations and sustainable systems of service (P.2)

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

The term CAPRI is used for the five Design, Architecture and Building faculty graduate attribute categories where:

C = communication and groupwork

A = attitudes and values

P = practical and professional

R = research and critique

I = innovation and creativity.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs) are linked to these categories using codes (e.g. C-1, A-3, P-4, etc.).

Teaching and learning strategies

The subject is delivered on campus at UTS. Students will engage in presentations, discussions and activities in which they demonstrate their understanding of the concepts presented.

Content (topics)

  • Futuring methods in design
  • Developing design research briefs
  • Exploring relevant design methods and methodologies
  • Undertaking qualitative and quantitative design research
  • Understanding themes and design inspiration from qualitative research data
  • Developing design solutions and recommendations
  • Testing and prototyping ideas
  • Crafting professional design reports and presentations
  • Reflecting and planning for your own design future


Assessment task 1: Design Research Brief


Clarify the focus of your research work using the form of a professional design brief.


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 2, 4 and 5

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

A.2, C.1, I.1 and P.2

Type: Report
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 40%

The brief should be between 1000 - 2000 words (2-4 pages of writing although professional layout should increase the number of pages to allow for section breaks and white space.

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Demonstrated understanding of the project context 25 4 I.1
Development of appropriate research questions or areas of investigation and a logical link to your research methods 30 2 P.2
Referencing of appropriate literature to support your proposed use of research or design methods 20 1 A.2
Effective communication of your brief as a professional design document, incorporating effective layout, structure and a professional bio 25 5 C.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 2: Design Research Outcomes


Effectively communicate your design research outcomes to the client.


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 3, 4 and 5

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

A.1, A.2, C.1 and I.1

Type: Report
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 60%

The report should be between 1500 - 3000 words (3 - 6 pages of writing, although a professional layout will make this longer with section breaks and white space).

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Depth and innovative in your findings or solutions in response to your research inquiry 40 4 I.1
Attentiveness to the client context and broader social impact when crafting your conclusions and recommendations 10 3 A.1
Effective communication in your verbal presentation and in creating a professional design report 30 5 C.1
Accurate referencing and consistent acknowledgement of your sources of inspiration 10 1 A.2
Ability to iterate and improve your work in response to feedback 10 3 A.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Minimum requirements

Regular attendance of and participation in classes, and successful completion of all tasks.
The DAB attendance policy requires students to attend no less than 80% of formal teaching sessions (lectures and tutorials) for each class they are enrolled in to remain eligible for assessment.

It is a requirement of this subject that all students complete OPELA. Students who received a Basic grade in the OPELA are required to attend 80% of the Language Development Tutorials in order to pass the subject. Students who do not complete the OPELA and/or do not attend 80% of the Language Development Tutorials will receive a W grade.

Required texts

Set readings will be made available online and from the UTS library.