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"True interactivity is not about clicking on icons or downloading files, it's about encouraging communication."
- Edwin Schlossberg, 2002


Course Description

This course is designed to help students gain the skill sets necessary to successfully create work in the constantly evolving digital environment. It covers the fundamentals of interactive website elements, prototyping, and game development. Our focus is on evaluating user testing and addressing user challenges in these media by studying the principles of interactive experiences and the group processes that make them successful.

Over the semester, you will explore sub-topics from 3 core fields:

  1. IXD (interaction design) in Web Practices
  2. UXD (user experience design) in Application Practices
  3. The marriage of IXD and UXD in Game Design and Methodology

There is no prerequisite for this class, but as it is only available to Media Arts majors, you need to have a very basic knowledge of:

  • HTML and CSS
  • How to navigate the web, and how web pages work
  • How to use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator

Additionally, students are required to own or have access to either Windows 10 or macOS 10.10 or higher, up-to-date browsers and, ideally, a smart phone less than 3 years old (although this is optional).


Content & Grading

Points are divided into 4 categories:

  1. 30% / Forums
  2. 30% / Labs
  3. 40% / Topic Projects and Workshops


Forums are designed to be used as think tanks, and will ask for responses regarding that topic’s materials found on the website. These are participatory, but should not be taken lightly. You are required to make a detailed original post of your own, as well as reply to your classmates’ posts. Forum participation should be meaningful and educated, with a focus on collaboration and continuing dialogue.


Labs are our online equivalent to in-class work. These are mostly guided exercises, where you are provided step-by-step instructions or materials in order for you follow along with the instructor. You will turn in these labs for grading, but you will not be asked to provide much (if any) structural changes.

Labs should be utilized as jumping-off points for your own Topic Projects, where you will have a chance to stretch your creative wings.

Topic Projects and Workshops

There are 3 major design sections to our course topics and each comes with a Topic Project. These projects will be workshopped in a 3-step process:

Step 1: Workshop Submission

You will need to complete the Topic Project to the best of your ability before submitting it to a Workshop. This means it may still have bugs or issues, but they should not be major. The project should be complete.

Step 2. Workshop Assessments

UI, UX, and games are all about feedback, and understanding how users interact with the product. As “testers” (peer reviewers), you will be given several of your classmates’ projects to review, and should take at least 15 minutes on each. You will need to be dedicated to this process - your responses will contribute to how the project’s creators will edit, re-work, or revise their product for grading.

This is arguably the most important aspect of this course. I expect a lot of you here. You will submit and workshop among your peers before you submit to me for official grades.

Step 3. Revisions and Write-Ups

After your project has been workshopped, you will have access to all your assessments. You must study all of this feedback, and carefully consider its applicability (or not) to your product and its audience. You will also turn in short write-ups (1 pg) about your considerations.

Grading Breakdown:

Grade Points Percent Transcript
A 930 - 1000 93% and Above 4.0
A- 900 - 929 90 - 92% 3.7
B+ 870 - 899 87 - 89% 3.3
B 830 - 869 83 - 86% 3.0
B- 800 - 829 80 - 82% 2.7
C+ 770 - 799 77 - 79% 2.3
C 730 - 769 73 - 76% 2.0
C- 700 - 729 70 - 72% 1.7
D+ 670 - 699 67 - 69% 1.3
D 630 - 669 63 - 66% 1.0
D- 600 - 629 60 - 62% 0.7
F 000 - 599 59% and Below 0.0


Course Outcomes

All project files and examples are provided where applicable. There is no textbook for this course, but you are required to have:

Adobe Xd (CC Subscription)
Adobe Muse (CC Subscription)
Unity Personal Edition (Free)

Additional Requirements:

  • macOS 10.11 or Window 10
  • We will be watching Abstract, a NetFlix series that will require a subscription.
  • You will be required to play a game during the “Games” module, which may run $10-20 depending on your choice.
  • We may possibly watch 1 or 2 films, which you will be required to rent ($4 each).

How to Succeed in this Course:

  • Check Moodle, and check it often.
  • Keep in contact with your instructor.
  • Prepare a consistent schedule for yourself.
  • This class progresses in waves, sometimes slow, sometimes cresting. You are expected to research and explore core concepts during non-Project topics.

Late Work Policy

Important! Workshops open and close on system dates which cannot be changed once set. No late Submissions can be accepted. If you do not submit your Projects to workshops, you will not be allowed in the Assessment phase. There is a potential for you to lose up to 25% of your course grade if you do not participate in Workshops.

Other work will be accepted up to 7 days late, at 50% penalty.


Course Outcomes

This is not an engineering course, meaning you will not be required to thoroughly learn a language or the back-end operations of an application. Nor is this strictly an art course, expecting visual masterpieces. This class is about communication and commercial media practices, and the process of overcoming design challenges.

Our intent is not for you to avoid mistakes and accidents; we want you to embrace them!

It is hoped that after completing the course, you’ll have a deeper understanding of how data is looped, assimilated, and applied in digital media, including:

  • How to use interactive media software to create functioning drafts of web sites, apps, and games.
  • How these drafts are tested, and how this test data is catalogued and studied.
  • How to rely on quality assurance to produce the best possible product for a target user.
  • How to apply and prioritize changes within quick production timelines.
  • How to enjoy this wonderful community in the digital age!