5 lessons from a responsive web design classroom

I’ve taught responsive web design (RWD) at a large state university just outside Austin, Texas, for the past two years to almost 200 design students. With support from my colleagues and a handful of designers and agencies in Austin providing priceless input, writing the curriculum for the course was exciting, but not easy. I wanted to make sure that I had a solid curriculum in place that, like its subject matter, could be fluid and iteratively developed to reflect the industry’s needs. I also wanted to have a component where students meet professionals and participate in internships so a big part of the course work includes opportunities to learn from and work with industry professionals in Austin and beyond. Our program also has a modest device lab that fits perfectly into a custom-built briefcase. All these elements together provide what I think is a real-world experience for my students - and I want to keep taking it further.

I always expected that RWD would add to the students’ toolkits, but I never expected that it would entirely shift their way of thinking, or even my own. I’ve realized I’m not just teaching RWD, specifically, but rather I’m teaching the following key principles of design as a whole:

1. Be flexible and adapt

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