Although I relish an opportunity to learn about history and events that pertain to art and design, I'm not too concerned about synthesising these historic design periods, themes and ideas, and I don't think it was the primary directive of the course (or if it does happen to be the aim of the course, I didn't catch on). Though it is probably important for a course to help people understand how certain styles influenced certain other styles, especially within the context of design, it is unnecessary to have a course aimed at helping people synthesise various concepts and ideas, as they will do so regardless. The much overused (within this course) analogy of the constant pendulum effect, affecting design and society, neatly proves my point. Design changes by society's own volition, evolving as we do.
In short, asking me whether or not this course has helped me to "synthesise various themes and issues relevant to the history/theory/practice of design" is irrelevant. What would have been more appropriate is to inquire as to whether or not the course has been helpful to my understanding of design in general, and how we came to be where we are in the context of design. If that were the question, I would answer that I found the history of design within the past couple of centuries intriguing and enlightening, and that the course provided me with information necessary to understand why styles changed, at the time in history in which they did, how they came to be, and how they met their eventual demise and potential rebirth. DSDN171 has been an effective tool for learning about design, especially so for me, as I found that while you could take the course at face value, you get much more out of it when you re-purpose it to suit your own interests. It was a refreshing touch to the heavily assignment-oriented design programme, and helped to contextualise the other courses, leading to a fuller understanding of course content and directives.