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University of Michigan School of Information


Citizen Interaction Design - SI 538

Citizen Interaction Design

Proposal open date: June 1
Proposal close date: November 2
Project timeline: January-April
Project duration: 15 weeks 
Number of projects needed: 5-8 

SI 538: Citizen Interaction Design Syllabus


In SI 538: Citizen Interaction Design, students develop new information tools that foster civic engagement by connecting with Michigan communities. Students apply a user-centered design process to understand community challenges from a citizen perspective and develop information tools that support citizen's engagement in those challenges.


  • Information product, tool, or service
  • Report detailing how to sustain and implement the product 
  • Final public presentation of deliverables to the community

Client Requirements 

  • Level of engagement for course/program 
    • 30-60 minute weekly or bi-weekly meetings with student team
    • Regular feedback and communication to student team based on the course schedule
    • Introduction to stakeholders and users for interviews and/or data gathering
    • Access to organizational data, systems and/or resources necessary to project completion
    • Host final public presentation of student work at the end of the course
    • Complete project evaluation
  • Special requirements for the course/program 
    • Projects are generally developed with existing CID partner communities, which are Michigan cities that have a population of 20,000 to 200,000

Additional Details

  • This course generally works through established relationships with CID partner communities but will consider opportunities with other communities.

Past Projects

  • Access for All. Students worked with disAbility Connections to build a tool that helps people with disabilities choose and plan visits to restaurants and retailers based on the accessibility of their buildings. The website now operates in three counties with plans to expand to more.
  • Rat Chat. The team was tasked with creating a way for Ferndale citizens to contribute to solutions for vermin control. Their solution, Rat Chat, offered a simple, text-based way to report rat information in a format that improved response efficiency of city staff.
  • Police Data Initiative. Students worked with the Ferndale Police Department and community members to implement an open data initiative in the city and increase trust and transparency between the community and the police. By using User-Centered Design Methods, the CID team was able to establish a best-practices process and implementation, including a model dataset for release, and establishing a community open data task force to identify future datasets for release.
  • Curbside Calendar. Students created the Curbside Calendar to provide a personalized calendar for recurring curbside services designed to make it easy for residents to know when to expect trash, leaf collection and other city services.
  • Open Data Policy. Students were asked to develop policy infrastructure to support improved public access to government data. Teams in two semesters worked to establish the policy framework, practical tools and sustainable processes required to implement a successful open data program in the City of Jackson. Jackson passed the first Open Data ordinance in Michigan, written by these students.
  • UMSI students partner with Michigan communities to solve real-world information problems

Past Clients

Contact us

Engaged Learning Office | [email protected] | (734) 763-1251

Please complete this form to submit a project proposal for one of our client-based courses or other programs, or to receive information about these opportunities throughout the year.