Some of the companies I've applied to require submission of an interaction design exercise. I'm particularly proud of one of them and am thinking of including it on my portfolio, but is that a wise decision? Would it seem strange?
the most important thing is that the design is solving a real problem. A top company won't frown upon school exercises if that exercise shows a high-level aptitude. Your school exercise could be 10x more thoughtful and innovative than someone else's real world work. So short answer, yes, if it's good.
I would think that's weird as a "portfolio" piece. Is there a way you can create a new category...something like "explorations? It's a subtle difference, but I'm one of those people that HATES looking at portfolios full of school exercises and experiments passed off as work samples. Call the stuff what it is. That's just me though. In the end you gotta trust your gut.
I'm one of those people that HATES looking at portfolios full of school exercises and experiments passed off as work samples
Thanks for vocalizing this! I think this, above all else, represents the key issue with putting the design exercise on there; it's simply not an actual work sample. I like your idea of imposing more categorization to better contextualize what it is. In fact, I think the rest of my portfolio could also benefit from that.