Instructor Insights

Instructor Insights

"We have to learn to talk to each other. Yes, this is hard work, and yes, you can do it."
— Prof. Ceasar McDowell

In the episode of the Chalk Radio podcast embedded below, Professor Ceasar McDowell describes how he works with his students in 11.312 Engaging Community: Models and Methods for Designers and Planners, teaching them to use the tools of civic design to craft more inclusive forms of community engagement and decision-making.


Grade Breakdown

The students’ grades were based on the following assessment elements:

  •  15% Civic design skill assessment [Individual Effort]
  •  40% Design briefs [Team Effort]
  •  15% Reflection blog [Individual Effort]
  •  15% Facilitation workshops [Team Effort]
  •  15% Other requirements: weekly readings, class participation, leading a class discussion, etc.

Curriculum Information



Requirements Satisfied

11.312 can be applied toward a Master’s Degree in City Planning, but is not required.


Every spring semester

Student Information


10 students

Breakdown by Year

Graduate students

Typical Student Background

The class consisted of a mix of graduate students, some being from MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning and others having cross-registered from Harvard University.

How Student Time Was Spent

During an average week, students were expected to spend 12 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:

In Class

Met 1 time per week for 3 hours per session; 13 sessions total; mandatory attendance

Out of Class

Outside of class, students completed assigned readings and short assignments, collaborated on a team-written design brief, and prepared for class activities.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2020
Learning Resource Types
Instructor Insights