Information for Instructors

Note: The below is general guidance and does not reflect our modified IDeATe operations during the COVID-19 safety measures.

Classroom access     Teaching assistants     Lending access for Instructors     Lending equipment and course reserves     Course budgets     Guest Speakers     Baseline course supplies     Consumable Supplies at IDeATe Lending     New Equipment Requests     Specialized training     Laser cutter access     Laptops and software     Help     IDeATe orientation     Text to include in your IDeATe syllabus

Classroom access:

Instructors have CMU ID access to all IDeATe classrooms in which they teach. If you have problems accessing your classroom or need access to additional rooms, please email help@ideate.cmu.edu.

Teaching assistants:

If you plan to hire a TA through IDeATe, let us know in the semester prior to your class so we can help with the proper hiring steps. Both undergraduate and graduate enrolled students may be considered for an IDeATe Teaching Assistant position.  A typical TA schedule is 8 hours per week.

Please note:

  • Language assessment is required for all nonnative speaking students who want to work as teaching assistants (TAs) at Carnegie Mellon (this is in accordance with CMU policy and PA law).  If your candidate is a nonnative speaking student, please have them contact us.  We will help to coordinate a language evaluation with CMU’s Intercultural Communication Center.  The evaluation needs to occur before the hire can be processed.
  • Students should not start work until their hire is processed in Workday.  Gretchen Graff, Business Manager, will confirm when this step is complete. Please consider at least a week of Workday processing time from when we receive the student’s application.
  • If you have a TA arranged through another department, please send the names and Andrew IDs of your TAs to help@ideate.cmu.edu before classes start, so we can give them access to the appropriate rooms as well as borrowing privileges at IDeATe Lending.

To request:

1) Send us a note confirming your intent to hire someone to help@andrew.cmu.edu.

2) Ask your student to apply for a TA position via our Work with Us page.

Lending access for instructors:

All instructors who teach IDeATe courses can borrow items from IDeATe Lending. Hours are posted at https://resources.ideate.cmu.edu/info/hours/. We ask that you check items out through the lending system and not just walk out of Lending with them; otherwise, we may inadvertently report the items as stolen. Please be sure that your returned items are checked in and not just left outside the door to Lending. If Lending is closed, email help@ideate.cmu.edu, explain the circumstances and return the item when Lending reopens. If you know in advance that you will need an extended loan period on a particular item, please send an email to help@ideate.cmu.edu so we can make arrangements.

Lending equipment and course reserves:

If you have specialized equipment to be used exclusively by the students in your class, you can request the items be put in the course reserve section in Lending. These items will be loaned only to students on your course roster. It can take us several days to get items properly tagged and entered into the Lending system, so please work with help@ideate.cmu.edu in advance so we can have the items ready in time for your students.

Course Budget:

In addition to all of the resources on this page, IDeATe-supported classes will each have a budget of $500 which, with instructor input, can be used to support individual or unique needs that may arise. Examples might be unique, individual class project materials, field trip costs, catering/event-related expenses.

To request:

Complete the IDeATe Course Purchase Request form.  This will create a ticket with help@ideate.cmu.edu, and we will respond shortly.

Guest Speakers:

If you are interested in hosting a guest speaker in your class and would like to offer an honorarium or set up a speaker fee, notify us at least two weeks in advance by completing the guest speaker request form below.

Please note the difference between honorariums and speaker agreements, and when each of them is necessary. Refer to University Contracts Office Honorarium Guidance to understand whether an honorarium payment or guest speaker contract is proper for your scenario or contact us at help@ideate.cmu.edu if you have questions.

An honorarium is considered a “thank you” payment to that individual for their time and expertise after the event has occurred. This business process is used when a speaker provides a lecture or participates in the class unrecorded, and without expectation of compensation. If a guest has an expectation of payment, is being recorded, or payment must be made to an organization, then we must set up a speaker agreement contract in advance of their visit.  Our business office will request our University Contracts Office create a speaker agreement contact. Signatures would need to be in place before the visit occurs.  This process needs 2 weeks of lead time at a minimum.

To request: 

1) Complete a Guest Speaker Request form.  This submission will generate a help@ideate.cmu.edu ticket.

2) We will be in touch to discuss details and arrangements.

Baseline supplies for courses:
Baseline supplies are core materials that every student in the class will need in order to complete projects assigned as part of the curriculum. This is a way to ensure each student has the same access to materials to complete a project. Baseline supplies may be distributed as individual kits per student or can be made available to the course in bulk supplies (for example, shared glue bottles or bolts of fabric). 
To request:
1) As early as possible, create your supply list using this template.  Submit a purchase request by attaching the template to the course purchase request form.
2) When the materials are purchased, the instructor will be notified with order confirmation details so that they can track anticipated arrival.  When the materials arrive, they will be ready for pick up at the Lending Office.
3) The instructor is responsible for the distribution of the materials to students in class.  

Consumable Supplies at IDeATe Lending:

Our Lending Office A29 has acrylic, plywood, and other consumable materials available for student projects on the laser cutters.

Please noteConsumable materials are at no cost to the student if they are required in the IDeATe class curriculum.  If the student would like material for a project outside of class assignments, they can purchase these materials at the Lending Office.

To request:

1) Prior to the semester start, let us know at help@ideate.cmu.edu that you intend for your students to use the consumable materials, the timing of the project assignment, and the approximate type and volume of material that will be needed.  This will help us to evaluate whether we need to stock up ahead for your class.

2) At the time of the project, have your student pick up their sheet of plywood or acrylic at the IDeATe Lending Offuce window and indicate the course name.  The Lending Office Attendant will mark it as a course-related purchase in our system.

New Equipment Requests:

IDeATe has a large inventory of equipment available for courses in the IDeATe Lending Office, as well as within each of the classrooms.  Please first check to see if we already have the equipment.

How to request procurement of new equipment:

We understand that as technology changes and our classes evolve to support learning, you may have recommendations for us to expand our collection.  Please email help@ideate.cmu.edu with those suggestions.  Consideration will be made based on a number of factors, including funding, space, and common use amongst IDeATe classes and functions.

Specialized training:

If you expect your students to use equipment such as laser cutters, 3D printers, Arduinos, etc., and are not planning to provide the necessary training during class time, please send an email to help@ideate.cmu.edu so that we can ensure your students get the training they need. Some training is available through IDeATe micro-courses.

Laser cutter access:

If your students need access to the laser cutters, please review the latest IDeATe laser cutter policies, and send an email to help@ideate.cmu.edu so we can ensure your students have access to the room. Effective 20 May 2019, we no longer provide provisional access to students who have not yet completed all training requirements. Please communicate this to your students upfront so they have time to complete these requirements before they will need the laser cutter, and emphasize to them the importance of always adhering to the “buddy” system. To qualify for laser cutter login privileges, IDeATe students must successfully complete:

Students who have not completed all training requirements will not be granted login access to the laser cutters, and are encouraged to make use of IDeATe’s Open Fabrication Hours instead.

Laptops and software:

As of Fall 2021, IDeATe Lending has Dell Inspiron PC laptops running Windows 10 Enterprise 20H2 and MacBook Pro laptops running macOS 10.15 (Catalina). For the latest details and a list of software, check https://resources.ideate.cmu.edu/computing/software/. Each spring, IDeATe solicits requests for new software to be installed over the summer. Due to budget limitations, we cannot honor all software requests. To reserve computers for use in your class in Hunt or to request additional software, send an email to help@ideate.cmu.edu. When not in use for classes, laptops are available for same-day and overnight use from IDeATe Lending.

Help:

Please email help@ideate.cmu.edu with requests and problems rather than sending a personal email to one of the staff, so that we can respond effectively even when team members are away or busy. If you do send a personal email, we will generally convert it into a help ticket anyway, so please save everyone some time and just send the email to help@ideate.cmu.edu.

IDeATe orientation:

If you would like your students to have an overview of IDeATe minors, courses, facilities, and policies, email help@ideate.cmu.edu to arrange for Kelly Delaney to come to your classroom.

Text to include in your IDeATe syllabus


If you are teaching a portal course, you should include your version of the common learning goals in your syllabus. Variations on these learning goals may be suitable for upper level classes as well. The Vice Provost for Education has requested that all course syllabi be available to students during registration and that all syllabi include student-oriented learning goals.

IDeATe Common Learning Goals

  • Demonstrate an appreciation for and ability to participate in critique of one’s own work and the work of others
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the role of reflection in learning and designing (begin to become a reflective practitioner)
  • Demonstrate an ability to articulate the story (visually, orally, verbally, aurally …) of one’s own work and one’s own learning
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the history, cultural context and social implications of X
  • Demonstrate the ability to work in a multidisciplinary environment
  • Demonstrate technical and creative skills in X

…where X is the technical topic of your course.

Information about IDeATe

Facilities: Most IDeATe facilities are located in Hunt Library. Lending, Physical Computing Lab, Media Lab, the laser cutters, 3D printers, and wood shop are on the lower level. Some of the equipment requires special training which you will receive either in the class that requires it or in a micro course. If you are unsure of how to operate any of the equipment or are unsure how to use the equipment safely and effectively, please send an email to help@ideate.cmu.edu.

Safety: Report all fires and emergencies immediately to University Police at 412-268-2323.

  • Emergency response: University Police412-268-2323
  • Building maintenance: Facilities Management & Campus Services — 412-268-2910
  • IDeATe-related inquiries — help@ideate.cmu.edu

IDeATe Lending: Once you are enrolled in an IDeATe course, you will have access to IDeATe Lending. You will maintain your access through the rest of your time at Carnegie Mellon. You must present your CMU ID each time you borrow an item. You will also be able to purchase a limited number of consumable items (such as plywood and acrylic) for projects. Please visit https://resources.ideate.cmu.edu/lending/ for more detailed information on available resources, to review the IDeATe Lending Policy, and to find hours of operation.

Classroom and Lending access: If you are enrolled in an IDeATe class at least a week before the start of the course, you will have access to IDeATe Lending and (if applicable) have keycard access to the classroom door on the first day of class. If you add a course during the Add Period, you may need to wait a few business days to receive access while the lists are updated. If you add a course after the last day of the Add Period, email help@ideate.cmu.edu with your name, Andrew ID, and course number so we can add you to our systems.

Laser cutter access: Please review the latest IDeATe laser cutter policies at https://resources.ideate.cmu.edu/equipment/laser-cutter/laser-cutter-policies/. To qualify for laser cutter login privileges, IDeATe students must successfully complete:

Until you have completed all training requirements, you will not be permitted to login to the laser cutters and must make use of IDeATe’s Open Fabrication Hours instead. Please plan ahead by signing up early for required classes, in order to ensure that you complete all training requirements BEFORE you will need the laser cutter.

IDeATe advising: If you have questions or need advice about IDeATe minors or courses, please get in touch with Kelly Delaney, the Assistant Director of IDeATe. Her office is in Hunt A9A and her email is kellydel@andrew.cmu.edu.

Information about IDeATe for your students

You may want to distribute this additional information to your students if you teach an entry-level IDeATe course. Also, you can email help@ideate.cmu.edu to arrange for Kelly to come to your classroom early in the semester to give the students an overview of IDeATe, welcome them to the community, and answer any questions they might have.

IDeATe, the Integrative Design, Arts, and Technology network at Carnegie Mellon, offers undergraduate minors and courses in Game Design, Animation & Special Effects, Media Design, Sonic Arts, Design for Learning, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Intelligent Environments, Physical Computing, and Soft Technologies. These areas merge technology and creativity and provide learning opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration. IDeATe minors and courses are open to all majors. We welcome students from every discipline to the unique learning environment that exists at Carnegie Mellon.

IDeATe offers several types of courses:

  • Portal courses serve as prerequisite, cross-training courses for interdisciplinary work, enabling you to understand the disciplinary competencies and perspectives of the students you will be collaborating with through a design inquiry process.
  • Collaborative courses are project-based courses that IDeATe has developed within departments. They focus on creating together in emerging, complex, and unstructured problem-solving domains and are structured to accommodate students from any discipline who have passed the portal courses.
  • Supportive courses are departmental courses that existed prior to IDeATe. They have these collaborative elements and are options for your IDeATe work. Please note that the supportive courses tend to have other prerequisites and may have registration restrictions.
  • Micro courses are short but intensive skills-based experiences that give you a basic understanding of some of the techniques and equipment used in many IDeATe courses.

IDeATe is not its own department. Rather, Carnegie Mellon’s departments contribute faculty and courses to the IDeATe curriculum. Therefore, IDeATe does not have its own course number prefix. You can find the IDeATe course offerings for the upcoming semester by going to the Courses section of https://ideate.cmu.edu/.

If you have questions or need advice about IDeATe minors or courses, please get in touch with Kelly Delaney, the Assistant Director of IDeATe. Her office is in Hunt A9A and her email is kellydel@andrew.cmu.edu.