Design Practice and Ethics

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSDE2SD5112

Semester and Year Offered: Semester 5, Monsoon Semester

Course Coordinator and Team: venugopal maddipati

Email of course coordinator:

Pre-requisites: BA / BDes

Course Objectives/Description:

To analytically explore, by the means of listening to successful design practitioners, the multiple ethical issues facing design practice especially when it directly touches human wellbeing.

To analyse the academic inputs and experiences of the preceding semesters through the lens of ethics.

To understand and articulate one’s individual stand on the above issues with regard to one’s own design practice

Course Outcomes:

On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. Comprehend the complexities and ethical questions related to Design practice. Students would have reflected, with the help of practitioners, about the implications of their practices in a variety of registers, through multiple lenses, such as caste, gender and class.
  2. Develop a critical vocabulary in terms of the dos and don’ts related design practice. By listening to established practitioners about their early professional journeys in a variety of disciplines, students can learn how to anticipate the ethical implications of their own future practices.
  3. Learn how to distinguish between transcendental conceptions of ethics and more situated notions of ethics that imbedded in the particular projects they take up.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

This is predominantly a class that draws on the experiences and practices of established designers. The modules, in that sense, are divided up into diverse areas of design.

  1. In this module practitioners in the fields related to user interfaces and user-experience design reflect on the ethical implications of their practice, with the students.
  2. In this module practitioners in fields that are more product, architecture/infrastructure or object-related reflect on the ethical implications of their practice, with the students.
  3. In this module practitioners in fields related to policy reflect on the ethical implications of their practice, with the students.

Assessment Details with weights:



Date/period in which Assessment will take place

Weightage in %


Assignment 1

Mid August



Assignment 2

Early October



Assignment 3

Early December







Reading List:

  1. MacIntyre, Alasdair. After Virtue, Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1981
  2. Fry, Tony. Design Futuring: Sustainability, Ethics and New Practice. Berg: Oxford. 2009
  3. Felton, Emma, Oksana Zelenko and Suzi Vaughan (eds): Design and Ethics: Reflections on Practice. London: Routledge. 2012
  4. Heller, Steven and Veronique Vienne (eds). Citizen Designer: Perspectives on Design Responsibility. New York: Allworth Press. 2003

Additional Reference: