Creative Computing Capstone
Spring 2016
Course Number: CS 4644
Instructor Name: Aisling Kelliher | Email
Office Number: KW2 1124 | Sandbox, Moss Arts Center
Office Hours: Wednesday, 11.00am – 12.00pm by appointment
Classroom: Learning Studio, Moss Arts Center
Meeting Days and Hours: T Th 11.00am – 12.15pm


1. Catalog Description
This hybrid studio course incorporates a multidisciplinary approach to the study of complex media systems as technological, political, economic, socio-cultural and personal experiences. The primary focus of the class is the design, development, and analysis of Experiential Media Systems. Experiential media systems refer to “real time, physically grounded multimedia systems that enable human beings to acquire knowledge through interaction with a physical system”. Creating such systems requires input and knowledge from multiple disciplines including design, art, computer science, psychology, engineering and the social sciences. In addition to designing and creating systems as part of the studio experience, students will also explore the theory, methodology and history behind the development and interpretation of experiential media systems. Topics covered include media and communications theory, service design, cultural studies, qualitative and quantitative methodology, design principles, human-computer-interaction, information visualization and representation, and user studies and evaluation. During the course, students will create and critique a variety of integrated media systems demonstrating technical competence, aesthetic knowledge, analytic rigor and theoretical relevance.

2. Prerequisites
Undergraduate computer science juniors and seniors, graduate students and non CS majors with permission. CS students should have taken CS 3724.

3. Learning Objectives

  • Gain knowledge of prior and related transdisciplinary media systems work
  • Develop understanding in the relevant cultural, aesthetic, theoretical and critical issues
  • Practice diverse quantitative and qualitative research methodologies
  • Gain practical experience in designing and realizing prototypes and demos
  • Develop evaluation/critique tools and frameworks

4. Instructional Methods
Classes will involve lectures, discussions, prototyping sessions, project presentations, critiques, and occasional guest presentations. Students will participate in and lead in-class and online discussion/presentations.

5. Attendance Policy
Students are expected to attend all classes. In the case of absence, please inform the instructor before the class if possible, and/or after the missed class. Classroom attendance and active participation is 15% of the overall grade.

6. Required Texts
There are no required texts for this class. Digital and photocopied reading/viewing material will be provided by the instructor and available on the class blog.

7. Regular Assignments and Term Projects
There will be 5 graded assignments during the course as well as a grade for participation.
In-class and online discussion
3 Individual or Small Group‘Pressure’ Projects
1 Group Project
1 Individual Reflection Report

8. Evaluation
Students will be evaluated on the quality of their active, productive participation in classroom and online discussion. Project assignments will be evaluated for conceptual clarity, technical innovation, and design aesthetics. Group projects will additionally be evaluated for evidence of genuine collaboration and effective team management. The final report will be evaluated for overall relevance, insight novelty, clarity of exposition, quality of references, and scope of contribution. Students will receive written feedback and grades on assignments/participation at regular intervals during the semester and standard overall grades at mid-term and at the end of the semester.

9. Grading Policy
Classroom Attendance + Participation (15%)
3 Individual Projects (30%)
1 Group Project (40%)
1 Reflection Report (15%)

10. Academic Integrity
This is expected at all times. All necessary and appropriate sanctions will be issued to all parties involved with plagiarizing any and all course work. Plagiarism and any other form of academic dishonesty that is in violation of the student Honor System will not be tolerated. Please refer to the following links for additional information:

11. Academic Accommodations
To request academic accommodations due to a disability, please review the information available at This is an important step as accommodations may be difficult to make retroactively.

12. Final Exam Period
Final reports will be handed in at a date to be decided in February.

13. Syllabus Structure
Jan 19: Introductions, Expectations, Survey, Warm Up

MODULE 1: Nature of Experience
Jan 21 – lecture
Jan 26 – reading and discussion – Dewey
Jan 28 – methods: qualitative design methods
Feb 2 – rapid pressure project pitch and discussion
Feb 4 – pressure project 1 due

MODULE 2: Designing of Experience
Feb 9 – pressure project 1 continued
Feb 11 – reading and discussion – Sengers, Wright et al
Feb 16 – methods lecture: cultural probes PDF

Feb 18 – pressure project 2 due

MODULE 3: Making of Experience
Feb 23 – lecture/lab
Feb 25 – reading and discussion – Buchenau, Petrelli
Mar 1 – guest lecture/working session
Mar 3 – pressure project 3 due


MODULE 4: : Experiential Media Systems
Mar 15 – No class
Mar 17 – Future wheels and project discussion

March 22: Groups 1 – 4 pitch
March 24: Groups 5 – 8 pitch

March 29: Field Work
March 31: Field Work

April 5: Design sketches, scenario development, prototyping
April 7: Online documentation of paper prototypes, scenario descriptions, sketches for in class public crit session. Confirmed guests: Kurt Luther, Margaret Ellis, Steve Harrison, Dane Webster, Matt Wisnioski, Zach Duer, Ico Bukvic, Kari Zacharias. Tentative: Eloise Coupey, Liesl Baum.

April 12: in class development – Aisling at NSF
April 14: in class development

April 19: System refinement and polish
April 21: Online documentation of design process. Development and presentation of evaluation plan

April 26: Conduct evaluation study and produce concept video
April 28: 90% system presentation

May 3: Exhibit and final presentation


Example Readings
John Dewey. Art as Experience. Chap 1 and 3. NY, NY: Penguin. 1934.

Thanassis Rikakis, Aisling Kelliher and Nicole Lehrer. Experiential Media Design and Digital Culture, in IEEE Computer, Jan. 2013 (vol. 46 no. 1

Paul Dourish. Where the Action Is: The Foundations of Embodied Interaction, Chapters 1 and Chapter 2. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 2004. (Available online through CMU library)

Joseph Pine and James Gilmore. The experience economy: work is theatre & every business a stage. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business Press. 1999. (Available online through CMU library)

Stuart Hall. ‘Encoding, Decoding’ in The Cultural Studies Reader, ed. During, Simon. New York: Routledge, 1993: 90-103.
John McCarthy and Peter Wright. Technology as Experience. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 2004.

Phoebe Sengers, Kirsten Boehner, Shay David, and Joseph ‘Jofish’ Kaye. 2005. Reflective design. In Proceedings of the 4th decennial conference on Critical computing: between sense and sensibility (CC ’05), Olav W. Bertelsen, Niels Olof Bouvin, Peter G. Krogh, and Morten Kyng (Eds.). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 49-58.

Marc Hassenzahl et al. “Designing moments of meaning and pleasure. Experience design and happiness.” In the International Journal of Design 7.3 (2013): 21-31

Peter Wright, John McCarthy, Lisa Meekison. “Making Sense of Experience” in Funology, Human-Computer Interaction Series Volume 3, 2005, pp 43-53

Hassenzahl, Marc (2014): User Experience and Experience Design. In: Soegaard, Mads and Dam, Rikke Friis (eds.). “The Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction, 2nd Ed.”. Aarhus, Denmark: The Interaction Design Foundation. Available online at

Marion Buchenau and Jane Fulton Suri. 2000. Experience prototyping. In Proceedings of the 3rd conference on Designing interactive systems: processes, practices, methods, and techniques (DIS ’00),Daniel Boyarski and Wendy A. Kellogg (Eds.). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 424-433.

Peter Wright and John McCarthy. 2008. Empathy and experience in HCI. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’08). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 637-646.

Elbert-Jan Hennipman, Evert-Jan R. G. Oppelaar, Gerrit C. van der Veer, and Bert Bongers. 2008. Rapid and rich prototyping: proof of concepts for experience. In Proceedings of the 15th European conference on Cognitive ergonomics: the ergonomics of cool interaction(ECCE ’08), Julio Abascal, Inmaculada Fajardo, and Ian Oakley (Eds.). ACM, New York, NY, USA, Article 28.
Hugh Dubberly and Shelley Evenson (2010). Designing for Service: Creating an Experience Advantage. Introduction to Service Engineering, Edited by Gavriel Salvendy and Waldemar Karwowski, Wiley, 2010, Chapter 19.

Frank Nack. Capturing experience: a matter of contextualising events. Proceedings of the 2003 ACM SIGMM workshop on Experiential telepresence (2003), pp. 53-64.

Daragh Byrne, Aisling Kelliher and Gareth Jones. Life Editing: Third-Party Perspectives on Lifelog Content, in Proceedings of the 2011 annual conference on Human factors in computing systems (CHI ’11), Vancouver, BC, 1501-1510, 2011.

John H. Miller & Scott E. Page. Complex Adaptive Systems: An Introduction to Computational Models of Social Life. Chap 2 + 4. NJ: Princeton University Press. 2007.

Jodi Forlizzi and Katja Battarbee. Understanding experience in interactive systems. In Proceedings of DIS ’04. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 261-268.

Brent Davis. “Complexity and Education: Vital simultaneities” in Educational Philosophy and Theory, Vol. 40, No. 1, 2008
Ramesh Jain. 2003. Experiential computing. Commun. ACM 46, 7 (July 2003), 48-55.

Marc Davis. Theoretical foundations for experiential systems design. In Proceedings of the 2003 ACM SIGMM workshop on Experiential telepresence (ETP ’03). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 45-52, 2003

Hari Sundaram and Thanassis Rikakis. Experiential Media Systems in Encyclopedia of Multimedia. B. Furtht (eds). NY NY., Springer Verlag. XXVIII: 989p.>

Stephen McAdams, Bradley Vines, Sandrine Vieillard, Bennett Smith, Roger Reynolds. Influences of Large-Scale Form on Continuous Ratings in Response to a Contemporary Piece in a Live Concert Setting. Music Perception. Winter 2004, Vol 22, No 2, p 297 – 350.

James Hollan, Edwin Hutchins and David Kirsh . Distributed Cognition: Toward a New Foundation for Human-Computer Interaction Research. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, Vol. 7., No 2, June 2000 p 174 – 196

Ben Shneiderman, Catherine Plaisant. Strategies for Evaluating Information Visualization Tools: Multi-dimensional In-depth Long-term Case Studies. BELIV, 2006, Venice Italy Top of Form

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