Technologies for Creativity and Learning

Spring 2008, Spring 2009

How does the design of new educational technologies change the way children learn and think? Which aspects of creative thinking and learning can technology support? How do we design systems that reflect our understanding of how we learn? This course explores issues in designing and evaluating technologies that support creativity and learning. The class will cover theories of creativity and learning, implications for design, as well as a survey of new educational technologies such as works in computer supported collaborative learning, digital manipulatives, and immersive learning environments.

Interface Aesthetics

Spring 2008, Spring 2009

How does good design enhance or facilitate interaction between people? How does good design make the experience people have with computational objects and environments not just functional, but emotionally engaging and stimulating? This semester seminar will cover new interface metaphors beyond desktops (e.g., for mobile devices, computationally enhanced environments, tangible user interfaces) but will also cover visual design basics (e.g., color, layout, typography, iconography) so that we have systematic and critical understanding of aesthetically engaging interfaces. Students will get a hands-on learning experience on these topics through course projects, design critiques, and discussions, in addition to lectures and readings.

Theory and Practice of Tangible User Interfaces

Fall 2007, Fall 2008

A considerable amount of research has been done in the domain of Tangible User Interfaces, a new approach to HCI which focuses on the physical interaction with computational media. However, it has been difficult to define what tangible user interfaces are, and come to a systematic understanding of possible approaches in designing and evaluating tangible user interfaces. This course will explore the theoretical framework of tangible user interfaces through a series of design examples to compare and contrast. Students will also design and develop experimental tangible user interfaces using physical computing prototyping tools.

The class meets 3 hours per week, 10:30am - 12:00 noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Additional lab hours (Mondays: 12:00-1:00pm and Tuesdays: 3:30-4:30pm) is provided for students to expand their basic lab exercises. On Tuesdays, there will be lectures and discussions based on our readings. On Thursdays, we will do hands-on physical computing exercises with Arduino prototyping boards and various sensors and actuators. There are no prerequisites for the class. While no experience working with electronics is required, basic knowledge in and willingness to learn programming is assumed.