This fall, I taught Interactive / Web Design 1 at Parsons. I reworked my approach so we could really concentrate on the thinking behind developing a cohesive website strategy. The students each developed a project to help others, then we walked through the stages of interaction design with an emphasis on research and strategic thinking. Students were expected to produce a card sort, rough sketches, sitemaps, wireframes, and sketches for a responsive website (only 2 break points). We went over additional artifacts such as style sheets and some introduction to code.
I have found that having student concentrate on altruistic projects actually helps them produce better design. They are ofter too early in their career to have the confidence and circumspection to make projects about themselves, including portfolios.
Overall, I was blown away by the level of compassion and thoughtfulness my students were able to summon in 15 weeks.