In early 2021, the University of Minnesota’s College of Design and Coursera launched a new UX Design MasterTrack Certificate program. Two Learning Technologies graduate students, Xinran Zhu and Jennifer Englund, served in instructional designer roles for the program and they shared their reflections on the collaborative online learning initiative.
Xinran’s reflections: We started the design of the program in 2019 Fall. As a founding member of this initiative, I first evolved in the need analysis and environmental scan process at the program level followed by curriculum design with all the instructors. I appreciate the opportunity of being able to collaborate closely with the instructional design team including Jennifer and Matthew Vernon (a former member of the team who is also an LT graduate!), and with the professors in Design. It has been an enlightening journey when listening to their pedagogy, passion, and expertise. At the same time, I was given great latitude on how to promote online course design innovation and technology integration by sharing my experience and knowledge.The program embraces the diversity of students from all over the world by emphasizing social learning, learning by doing, and the establishment of an engaging online community. The program is live now but our design is always an ongoing process to make the learning experience continue to be meaningful and engaging.
Jennifer’s reflections: Our project team consisted of six members: in addition to Xinran and me, Dr. Suaman Chu, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Design and three faculty members in the Graphic Design program: Dr. Brad Hokanson, Dr. Frances Trice, and Debra Lawton. I joined the project a few months after it had started and worked directly with one of the instructors to develop the two courses she would be teaching in the certificate program. I enjoyed being able to use the skills from our LT program, specifically the Designing and Developing Online Distance Learning and the Online Learning Communities classes, and apply them in practice. As of April 2021, the second cohort of learners has now started in the UX Design Certificate program. It’s exciting to see it launched and available to learners all around the globe.

UX design certificate program