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The University of Southampton

OCCT2029 Design for Occupation 2

Module Overview

Design is an art, a skill and a science which is central to the practice of occupational therapy; whether it be the re-design of an environment to suit a particular need, an aesthetic which supports a therapeutic approach or the (re)design of a system or artefact to enable re-engagement with work or leisure. An occupational therapist’s ability to design is critical to the outcome for the person or population with whom s/he is working. In this intermediate module, students will build on their understanding of design and its effects on occupational performance as applied in OT practice, to support occupation for health and wellbeing. Students will select and use a relevant range of assessments to evaluate features of design and their potential impact on occupational performance and psychological wellbeing. Students will utilise contributions from the arts, sciences and humanities in the therapeutic application of design, to enable meaningful living through improved occupational performance in valued roles. Students will incorporate values based practice, demonstrated by acting from an articulated professional position regarding philosophy of universal/inclusive design. Students will develop understanding of the opportunities and limitations created by personal/cultural preferences.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

At the intermediate level, students will move from design specifically for individuals, to the appreciation of implications of design for groups and/or populations and will design an artefact/environment/system which begins to meet the occupational needs of a defined population.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Use creative problem solving and task/occupational analysis, through design to support occupational performance within professional practice
  • Analyse significant features of design using assessments drawn from a range of modalities/disciplines
  • Focus in depth on one therapeutic application. Demonstrate basic academic and practical skills in understanding the contribution from different design modalities to support occupational performance and personal meaning for different groups and cultures
  • Recognise and describe the impact of therapeutic use of design through reflection on personal experience and application of theory from a range of relevant disciplines
  • Design an artefact or environment for group or population in collaboration with an outside agency which may include national or international organisations
  • Work collaboratively and reflectively with outside agencies and users to present an analysis of how a chosen piece of design may affect and influence personal meaning and occupational performance within a group
  • Receive and give feedback to peers regarding design and analysis skills in a respectful, non-judgmental and empowering manner


• Introduction to design modalities to illustrate why this is important in Occupational Therapy practice, including, creativity, ergonomics/human factors, inclusive design and aesthetics • Practice in searching, selecting and applying evidence linked to specific design modalities. Opportunities to access centralised resources such as library services, creative arts resources, plus interfaculty and external organisations including international collaborators • opportunities to explore/use/develop a range of assessment approaches to identify the ways in which design enables or inhibits occupational participation for populations/groups • Completion of specific tasks/activities in groups/action learning sets in order to develop collaborative team working skills. Design and produce environments/artefacts to enhance occupational performance and psychological wellbeing for populations/groups • Build evaluation of effectiveness of design into the practical project using approaches such as anthropometrics and participative ergonomics.

Special Features

For features such as field trips, information should be included as to how students with special needs will be enabled to benefit from this or an equivalent experience. Links to profession specific modules and possibly modules in other faculties/disciplines, such as art, design, engineering, electronics etc Collaborative working with outside agencies which may include field trips appropriate to specific design areas e.g. work places, homes, leisure facilities, charities and voluntary organisations Collaborative international working through remote internet links and conferencing with potential for international placements Self-directed learning, reflexivity and peer review will ensure that all students (mixed ability) will be able to take part at this intermediate level

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The methods will include: • emphasis on developing a focussed approach to using contributions from a range of disciplines for design • brief lectures/seminars to introduce and review generalizable concepts and processes • self-directed learning and preparation in order to make choices and present outcomes to peers • opportunity to work individually, in pairs/teams and action learning sets to complete selected projects and take part in reflection and peer review processes • personal and/or group activities specifically supported by experts and/or national/international collaborators, e.g clinicians, arts and engineering practitioners, users • specified learning activities within module will be course completion/compulsory – with an element of choice: i.e. developing and evaluating a design which will impact on occupational performance related to a defined group/population

Wider reading or practice72.5
Practical classes and workshops10
Completion of assessment task20
External visits10
Preparation for scheduled sessions20
Follow-up work20
Total study time187.5

Resources & Reading list

Inclusive Design for Getting Outdoors (I’DGO).

HMSO Building Regulations Part M.

University of Cambridge Inclusive Design Toolkit.

Lifetime Homes.

Examples of relevant journals which might be accessed on line in university library. Architectural Design Wiley online library Journal of Urban Design Taylor Francis online journal Journal of Design History Oxford Journals online British Journal of Occupational Therapy Ergonomics Applied Ergonomics Access by Design:The Journal of the Centre for Accessible Environments

Resources required will depend on projects attempted but may include practical resources, statutory and practical guidance as well as academic literature and will also include resources used at level 4:. 

Farrelly L (2014). Designing for the Third Age: Architecture Redefined for a Generation of ‘Active Agers’. 


Assessment Strategy

Learning Activities – course completion (Action Learning Set presentation – development and evaluation of a design impacting on occupational performance related to a defined group/population Summative – Individual viva presentation of learning activity/task including - research and collaboration to identify a need, - options generated to collaboratively decide on the final design route to follow - process of designing - evaluation of the usefulness of the design to the defined group/population


MethodPercentage contribution
Viva 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Viva 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Travel Costs for placements

Cost of travel to outside agencies and for field trips linked to chosen design modality Cost of materials to complete/develop design for assessment Potential costs linked to establishing international placements

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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