Teaching Philosophy

My classes are interactive and I strive to articulate connections between theory and applied projects while teaching. I believe that a student's ability to articulate their thoughts across multiple mediums (writing, speaking, prototyping, etc) creates a foundation for durable learning. I also believe in the importance of context to understand the meaning of an object of analysis. In the classroom, I emphasize that designs are not neutral, but actively shape and are shaped by their contexts. I believe this approach helps designers-in-training to better understand the complex relationships that designs inform and are informed by. You can read a fuller explanation of my philosophy here.

Classes Taught

I've taught classes across three institutions: Colby-Sawyer (CS), Indiana University (IU, as a "stand alone" graduate student), and Kennesaw State University (KSU). If you have any questions about these classes, feel free to drop me a line at mlahey (at) kennesaw (dot) edu!



Advertising & Consumer Culture (IU)

This class examines the intersection of advertising, consumer culture, and the media with an eye toward understanding the contemporary move from mass to niche markets. The class is largely lecture and discussion-based.

Expanded Perception (CS)

This class combines some of the theoretical aspects of media studies with the practical aspects of media production. In short, students put into practice concepts they read about in class. We focus on how images, words, and sounds are designed while making our own.

Ethnography for Designers (KSU)

This class explores ethnographic approaches as a way to better understand end users. Students read anthropological texts, practice interviewing skills, and work on a team-based ethnographic report.

Interaction Design I (KSU)

This class introduces students to Goal-Directed Design (GDD), a prominent interaction design methodology. Students read about GDD before working on a team-based, mobile prototyping project.

Interaction Design II (KSU)

This class introduces students to Lean UX, a prominent interaction design methodology. Students read about Lean UX before working on a team-based, UI-related prototyping project.

Intro to Digital Media & Culture (KSU)

This class surveys digital media—aesthetics, technology, politics, economics––and related cultural formations. We investigate key concepts that help designers-in-training better understand their tools and contexts. The class is largely lecture and discussion-based.

Media Criticism (CS)

This class equips students with a basic set of tools that enable them to critically examine media as a set of texts, industrial practices, technological artifacts, and crucial meaning-makers in our society. The class is largely lecture and discussion-based.

Professional Development (KSU)

This class improves students' abilities to describe their accomplishments in professional networking situations, company meetings, and interviews. Students work on their portfolios, professional identity, and go to networking events.

Prototyping I (KSU)

This class teaches a broad range of Figma (a prototyping tool) basics, as well as exploring fundamental principles of user interface design. Students do all their work for the semester in Figma.

Prototyping II (KSU)

This class furthers student exploration of Figma, including working on their speed and familiarity with Figma, complex interactions, and redlining. Students do all their work for the semester in Figma.

Systems Thinking for Designers (KSU)

This class focuses on what a systems thinking approach can teach to interaction designers-in-training. We define systems thinking before applying it to interaction design-related projects.

Digital Syllabi

In 2018, I shifted the schedule portion of my syllabi to digital versions that are easier to update. This makes disseminating updates to students more efficient. Why? Class schedules can be difficult to construct in the best of times. In short, things change. Syllabi often need to be updated and class content and schedules change for a slew of reasons. A digital version of the syllabus schedule makes these inevitable changes easier to manage. You can see a "mock up" of a hypothetical syllabus schedule here.

A GIF of a digital syllabus for one of Michael Lahey's classes.

Interaction Design II Syllabus, 2022