HMI723 Play and designing media for participation, 3 (+2) p

Instructor Kevin McGee

Fall 2002

Prerequisites None
Goals To develop the ability to describe, use, and invent design solutions in the area of media technology - with particular emphasis on co-adaptive designs that facilitate both good experience and good praxis.
Content This course is a studio for designer-developers of computational media. The focus is on developing media that allow people to instantly (or quickly) do the self-fulfilling activities they find important. The course will explore aspects of media technology, cognitive science, and aesthetics that are relevant when designing to support engaging participation.We will draw insights from example technologies that are practical (programming environments), engaging (games), or both. We will also examine different models of human-computer interaction and of cognition - including both models of the third-person and experiences of the first-person ("how do we improve the experience of particular activity?"). Finally, we will look at different approaches to "non-utilitarian" media and experiences, such as games, play, art, and performances.
Literature Readings will be adapted to the needs and interests of course participants, but will most likely include pieces by Christopher Alexander, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Jean Lave, Scott McCloud, Marvin Minsky, Seymour Papert, Edward Tufte, and Francisco Varela. These readings will be short and distributed as needed.
Examination Active participation, weekly deliverables, and a final project. The difference between the 3-point and 5-point version of the course is the scale of the final project.

The course is organized as a series of design sessions, discussions, and small, weekly "deliverables." (Note: The weekly deliverables are a mechanism for students to make regular progress towards their final projects; students can expect weekly feedback on their deliverables.) The course will meet weekly for 8 weeks, and then, again, twice at the end of the Fall term for review and rejoicing.

Lectures:16 h
Recommended for Graduate students.

Course size is limited to 15 participants. All students are expected to define and complete a small project that contributes in some definite way to their thesis work; examples of projects include a publishable article, a thesis chapter, a prototype, a small hardware/software implementation, or even a formal thesis proposal. Course language will be a mix of English and Swedish."