First Day of Class

Let’s go around the room & introduce ourselves. What are your favorite digital production tools? Do you consider yourself to be a writer? A designer? A programmer? All of the above? What do you hope to get out of the class? What make and model of mobile device(s) do you use?

Course Objectives

  • Apply your skills in digital media production, writing, interaction design and programming to development of a system with a real-world audience and real-world implications.
  • Consider the challenges of designing interactive media for a group experience in a particular physical space.
  • Analyze and critique similar software and installations.
  • Employ industry-standard tools and develop skills & strategies for managing a long-term collaborative project.
  • Learn to integrate their own skills, techniques and processes with that of their classmates.
  • Learn to articulate and advocate for their ideas in a collaborative setting.

Course Structure
Think of this class as the interactive exhibit design studio for the Sarnoff Collection Museum. Each of you are members of the design team, and we’ll be working together over the course of the semester to research, design, develop and demonstrate interactive exhibits for the Collection space or website. In some cases, projects may be invited for inclusion in the actual exhibition.

The course schedule is designed (roughly) to follow an iterative development methodology like you might experience working at a larger museum or commercial design studio, and you will develop your prototypes in incremental stages. Your deliverables will include…

Course Deliverables
Design Notebook – Your Design Notebook we will be updated weekly over the course of the semester, and will capture your research and thinking as the course progresses.

Vision Document – The vision document is your roadmap for the design and development of your prototype, capturing information about your intended users and functional & non-functional requirements.

Exhibition Critiques – You’ll complete two critiques of existing “real-world” interactive exhibits.

Field Trips – You’ll also make two field trips to nearby exhibitions to experience selected interactive exhibits in situ.

Functional Prototype – Your final deliverable is a functional interactive exhibit prototype, which you’ll demonstrate at least twice (early prototype & final demonstration).

Prototypes can be broad, presenting novel ways to navigate the entire collection for example, or narrow, presenting a cross-section of the collection by theme, form, etc. They could also be specific, going into great detail with a single object. Here are some example exhibit types.

Prototypes can implement aspects of one or more of the trends explored in class.

We’re taking a “gamified approach’ to grading in this course. You’ll all start out with 0 points, and then ‘collect’ points as you progress through the course. Points collected will then be weighted in the following manner:

  • 25% Final demonstration
  • 25% vision document
  • 20% Exhibition critiques
  • 20% design notebook
  • 10% Field Trips

Course Materials:

Note: Additional topic-specific materials may be provided during class, with links posted on the blog entry for that class.

What Makes a Great Exhibit

Check out this series of video interviews with David Harvey, Senior Vice President for Exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History

Assignment 1a ( 5 points, 1 point each)

  1. Create a Presentation on Google Drive to use as your Design Notebook.
  2. Create a title page, then add a page called “Inventing the Future 1”.
  3. Read the following:
  4. Think about how you use technology in your daily life. Have you encountered any of the technologies described in the reading? Write down your thoughts in your Design Notebook – just a paragraph or two is fine.
  5. Look through the Collection Opening Items listing and the associated item texts. Are any of the items related to any of the technologies described in the handouts? If so, make a note of them in your design notebook, along with your thoughts about how they’re related.

Assignment 1b  ( 5 points, 1 point each)

  1. Read the 2012 NMC Horizon Report pp 23-26 & TrendsWatch 2014 pp 24-31.
  2. Take a look at some of the examples of open content & big data currently used in museums and other settings on p 25 in the Horizon report & p 30 of TrendWatch.
  3. Create a new page in your Design Notebook with the heading “Open Content & Big Data”.
  4. Write a brief paragraph about your favorite example(s).
  5. Can you find any other examples of how museums are using Open Content/Big Data “in the wild”?  Jot down a brief description & a link to what you find.

Submitting Your Work
This week’s assignments are due each Thursday before the next class, at 5:00 pm. Late submissions will be docked 1 point. When you’ve completed them, share your Design Notebook with me at For a Design Notebook template, see my comment below on this post.

Post a comment with any questions – others may have the same or similar questions, or may have the answer. Of course you can email me at as well.

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