Sandbox is a design thinking and digital product management programme for master’s students at the University of Tartu. The programme provides a unique opportunity to engage in real-life challenges of companies, enhancing professional skills, and delivering value at the same time.
Sandbox is an experimental playground where interdisciplinary student teams can test their bold ideas in a safe environment. We foster innovation through respect and trust in each other, encouraging co-creation and collaboration.
Sandbox programme was born in 2018 when we started developing a specialisation module for product design and management in collaboration with digital product managers from several Estonian companies. Today they still contribute to the programme by guest lecturing, mentoring and providing challenges to industry project courses. We also thank HITSA for supporting the development of the programme, then called “Product Design and Management Specialisation Module Development in the Institute of Computer Science of the University of Tartu”.
Sandbox programme provides opportunities for:
Sandbox programme facilitates the development of creative design thinking and digital product management skills. Five courses in digital product design and management are offered. Two of them are project courses (Digital Product Design Introductory Project and Digital Product Management Industry Project) that are carried out in the form of problem-based learning i.e. by finding and resolving real-life problems.
Course code: LTAT.05.011
Amount of credits: 3 ECTS
Schedule: Autumn semesterThe focus of this course is to allow students to get first-hand experience of conducting a product management project, understanding the complexities of such projects and to prepare them for the remainder of the master module through a near real-life experience. Topics covered by the course include problem analysis and market research; product ideation and vision; product strategy and metrics; sketching and prototyping; project presentation.
Course code: MTAT.03.325
Amount of credits: 6 ECTS
Schedule: Autumn semesterThis course introduces a range of methods for managing software products. The course covers the entire life-cycle of software products, from identifying customer needs, the validation of initial ideas, the design of a financially viable business model, to the planning, release and ongoing management of software products. The course introduces techniques for business model generation, business case analysis, prioritisation, product "road-mapping" and software release planning.
Course code: LTAT.05.007
Amount of credits: 6 ECTS
Schedule: Autumn semesterThis course will introduce students to the fundamentals of Human Computer Interaction with a focus on identifying and deploying methods for interface and experience design, development and evaluation. It will also provide them with an insight into topics beyond traditional desktop interfaces.
Course code: LTAT.05.022
Amount of credits: 3+3 ECTS
Schedule: Autumn and/or Spring semesterThe aim of this course is to give students an overview of different ways and practical challenges of software product management based on examples from different types of software development companies.
Course code: LTAT.05.019
Amount of credits: 6 ECTS
Schedule: Autumn and Spring semesterThis course allows students to apply the knowledge gained during the specialisation module in real-life projects provided by industry partners.
It was very beneficial to experience the different approaches from the different teams and how different people work. I was happy to bring my creative abilities out. Also, the creative methods by the facilitators are very enjoyable and drive creativity in ways other courses/modules don't facilitate.
Digital Product Management Industry Project
In the Industry Project, interdisciplinary teams of master’s students are formed and provided with a problem statement by Sandbox partner companies in order to find solutions to pressing or strategic challenges. Problem validation, product strategy building, solution prototyping, and testing allows students to implement the knowledge they have acquired within the prior courses in a real-life project. Partner companies participate actively in the project discussions, getting an understanding of the overall process and methods used which serves as training for the company representatives.
Partner companies who have participated in the Sandbox programme:
We are looking for partner companies to engage in the Digital Product Management Industry Project. Student teams will work on the problem statement provided by the partner company, discovering the problem, prototyping, and validating the potential solution and delivering value as the outcome. We intake new companies twice a year, in August for the autumn semester project and January for the spring semester project. If your company is interested in joining Sandbox programme, write an email to sandbox [ät] ut.ee.
We are also always open to guest lecturers who wish to give a talk on topics related to product management and design thinking. If you are interested in joining Sandbox programme as a guest lecturer, write an email to sandbox [ät] ut.ee.
Sandbox programme runs in a 300 square meter space that offers diverse and creative study and work environment at the Delta Centre of the University of Tartu. The goal of the Sandbox space and programme is to inspire students to generate and test their ideas in a supportive environment where making mistakes is not considered a failure but a step towards innovative solutions.
Design Factory Global Network
Since 2018, Sandbox is a member of Design Factory Global Network (DFGN). DFGN is a global network of innovation hubs in universities and research organisations, which aims to create change in the world of learning and research through passion-based culture and effective problem solving. All the members of the DFGN focus in their actions on the local community as well as international co-operation, which provides students with the opportunity to participate in global design and product development projects. DFGN as a community is first and foremost a shared understanding of how to spark and support innovation.
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