IA50005 Design your Purposeful Life

Academic Year 2023/2024

Please note this module is designed for Graduate Taught and Graduate Research students. This module cannot be taken by UCD undergraduate students.

The aim of this module is to enable students to plan and reflect upon their learning, career and life goals using Design Thinking and other approaches.

Design Thinking, is a human-centric creative problem-solving process. It offers a proven methodology and repeatable approach that can be used to identify new opportunities, solve problems, and develop innovative solutions. While it has usually been applied to the development of products and services, in this module, participants will apply the approach to design their own career and life goals.

Over the course of the module, participants will reflect on their life so far, their values and sense of purpose. Using a combination of creative and analytical tools they will work to develop insights into themselves and to map out their way ahead, acquiring a toolkit that can be used at any point in life to identify, evaluate and make informed career and life choices. Along with this, participants will meet guest speakers from a wide range of sectors who will share their own journeys and lessons learnt. Participants will also develop a community of peers in which to share ideas and hear how others are thinking about their own life and career questions.

Our team of Entrepreneurial Specialists will introduce the students to the processes and tools that will enable the students to make creative and informed life and career choices for themselves.

UCD Innovation Academy

**Enrolment on an Innovation Academy module means a commitment to active participation and engagement, which necessitates full attendance at all scheduled classes**

At the UCD Innovation Academy, we are a group of Educator Practitioners with extensive real-world experience as academics, business and social entrepreneurs, tech thinkers, creative professionals and design thinking practitioners.

We take an action-oriented approach to learning, with a combination of individual, group and class tasks and activities, including discussions, presentations and reflection. All of our teaching is grounded in academic rigour. Our focus is on ‘learning by doing’ in a real-world context. Classes include a combination of individual and team tasks and activities, along with discussions, presentations and reflection.

Note on Class Size: Due to the interactive nature of our programmes - we aim for a class size of no more than 36 students to ensure a quality experience for all. We also require a minimum of 16 participants to ensure enough people for teamwork and a dynamic classroom environment. On very rare occasions, if we have less than 16 registered students we will aim to offer students the opportunity to join another class.

Note on COVID-19: All our courses will be run in accordance with good practice, University and Government guidelines around COVID-19. This module is intended to be taught in-person but we may switch to an online format in light of updated guidelines or circumstances, in which case we will update registered students as early as possible. If this should happen, please don't be concerned - our online experiences are equally engaging.


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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

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

• Demonstrate understanding of the five stages of Design Thinking for Life and their interdependence and have the ability to critically analyse this
• Demonstrate understanding of the appropriate application of Design Thinking for Life and develop an appreciation for its benefits and limits across disciplines and sectors
• Add value to the Design Thinking for Life process by applying practiced skills of empathy, creativity, idea selection, facilitating teamwork, rapid prototyping, iterative design, pitching and story-telling
• Develop and apply reflective practice to identify lessons learnt about the project, the process and the teamwork.
• Make decisions regarding timing, process and number of iterations of Design Thinking for Life appropriate for a particular problem.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Small Group




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:

All Innovation Academy modules take a learning by doing approach, combining, individual, group and team activities, tasks and projects including presentations, discussion and reflection:

• Active/task-based learning
• Peer and Group work
• Reflective Learning
• Enquiry & Problem-based learning
• Student Presentations
• Case Study Learning
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Assignment: Reflection Report Throughout the Trimester n/a Pass/Fail Grade Scale Yes


Presentation: Participants will present their Life and Career Plan and Options to their Class Throughout the Trimester n/a Pass/Fail Grade Scale Yes


Attendance: This module requires active participation and engagement, which necessitates attendance at ALL scheduled classes (80% attendance is required to pass this component).
Throughout the Trimester n/a Pass/Fail Grade Scale Yes


Carry forward of passed components
Remediation Type Remediation Timing
Repeat Within Two Trimesters
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Self-assessment activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Individual feedback upon request.

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 43 Fri 09:00 - 13:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 43 Mon 09:00 - 13:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 43 Thurs 09:00 - 13:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 43 Tues 09:00 - 13:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 43 Wed 09:00 - 13:50