Course Info

Course Title & Number: Design Perspectives in IMM – IMM 280-02

Professor: Warren Buckleitner
Office Address: AIMM 311
Office Hours: by appointment

Class Meets: Thursdays, 9:30am – 12:20pm
Room: AIMM 206

Course Title & Number: Design Perspectives in IMM – IMM 280-01

Professor: Mark Thompson
Office Address: AIMM 312
Office Hours: Wednesdays, 9:30-12:30 or by appointment

Class Meets: Thursdays, 9:30am – 12:20pm
Room: AIMM 222

Course Description

This class is interdisciplinary, bringing together the various bodies of knowledge that inform the field of interactive design, including content design, interface design, technical design, usability and project management. The class provides an overview of concepts necessary both to create and evaluate interactive multimedia projects. You’ll apply these ideas to a series of individual writing and production assignments, and ultimately to a collaborative project addressing a real-world design problem — a project that spans most of the semester.

To the extent possible, we’ll develop this semester’s projects in consultation with community organizations and businesses in Trenton — particularly the Trenton Free Public Library — considering ways in which interactive and digital media applications might empower them and the people they serve. Our collaborations will be coordinated with the help of the TCNJ Bonner Center.

This class is one of at least three writing intensive courses required by the College.

Course Materials


Three books are required for the course, two of which are available in the TCNJ bookstore:

Both books are also available in electronic format, but Communicating Design in particular is very visual, so the print version is more effective.

The third book, Tech Enhanced Public Libraries,  is currently being written by Warren Buckleitner and Carol Wachter. Digital Excerpts will be provided to the class over the course of the semester.

Other readings will be made available on this blog, the Google Community, or possibly on reserve in the TCNJ library. Additionally, your midterm research paper will require you to do additional research and reading beyond what’s assigned week-to-week.

Online Resources

For the project management side of this class, there are a number of tools we’ll be recommending you use for designing your functional prototypes.

There’s no one software package or web site that offers everything we need for this class, so you’ll be expected to use specialized systems for certain tasks, and keep track of the necessary login information. These tools include:

Other Resources

Course Requirements

Design Notebook – 5%

Background Research – 10%

Project Proposal Presentation – 10%

Midterm Paper – 15%

Project Deliverables – 30%

  • Design Brief
  • User Personas
  • Content Map & Wireframes
  • Style Guide
  • Dynamic Prototype
  • User Testing Plan
  • User Testing Report

Final Project – 30%

  • Functional Prototype
  • Presentations
  • Project Recap

Course Purpose & Learning Goals

Students will:

  • Learn to effectively present and promote their ideas for an interactive media project, as well as reflect on their process of developing that project, both face-to-face and in writing;
  • Get acquainted with the variety of roles, processes and technical tools involved in producing an interactive multimedia project;
  • Explore techniques for managing long-term collaborative projects and adapt those techniques to their own project;
  • Consider the implications of their own work and trends in the field within the context of everyday contemporary culture, and also draw connections between current trends and historical advances in media and technology.

Course Schedule

Jan 29 – Intros & Syllabus

Feb 5 – What is a Library?

Feb 12 – Possible Futures

Feb 19 – Initial Project Ideas

Feb 26 – Projects, Teamwork & Presentation Skills

Mar 5 – Snowed Out, Team Project Workshop

Mar 12 – Team Project Workshop Redux

Mar 19 – Spring Break

Mar 21 – Saturday, NJ Maker Day (optional — this is the Saturday at the end of Spring Break)

Mar 26 –Mid-Term Papers Due, Formal Group Presentations

Apr 2 – User Personas, User Stories & Design Briefs

Apr 9 – Diagrams & Mockups

Apr 16 – Prototypes

Apr 23 – User Testing

Apr 30 – Revise Prototypes

May 7 – Style Guides & Project Documentation, Prep for Final Presentations

May 18 – Final Presentations


Grades with be determined according to the following formula:

  • 30% Final Demonstration
  • 30% Project Deliverables
  • 15% Midterm Paper
  • 10% Proposal Presentation
  • 10% Background Research
  • 5% Design Notebook

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