This course is a hands-on application of interaction design for digital media (primarily browser-based). We will explore how user-interaction adds bidirectionality to communication, examine the intricacies of seemingly-simple digital interactions, and familiarize ourselves with the attributes of digital device as ‘canvas’. We will work both independently and collaboratively to design interactive solutions for a selection of communication challenges.
Our focus will be to learn by doing: first-hand experience gained while undertaking hands-on exercises and real-world projects will provide the context and framework for discussion and instruction.
Work will likely be (but not required to be) accomplished with tools and software you already have (Adobe Creative Suite) or can download and/or use for free (VS Code, Sublime Text, GitHub). Web browsers on desktop computers will also be used extensively, and other devices as your work warrants.
You also will likely use paper to draw out conceptual sketches and generate low-fidelity wireframes, as well as to take notes. You may alternatively use tablets or other design software to sketch out your ideas. Occasionally, you will be asked to show your sketches as part of your deliverables to demonstrate your design process. These should be scanned, photographed or exported as image documents, and need not be printed. As such, printing costs should be minimal/nonexistent.
$0. Hurray for the cloud!
Class sessions: Wednesday mornings, 8:30am–11:20am CDT/CST
Lab sessions: Monday evenings, 6:00pm–9:00pm CDT/CST
All class and lab sessions will be held remotely via Zoom. The Zoom link is available in Canvas, and will also be emailed to you.
Instruction, discussion, independent exercises, and critiques will occur in class. Expect to be present for the full duration of the scheduled class session.
Homework assignments will typically be provided on Wednesdays (when class meets), and be due by 5pm the following Tuesday, in order to allow time for instructor review before the following class.
Assignments will be communicated to you via the class website (foundations2021fall.wudesign.me), and you will deliver all work by uploading to GitHub.
This class includes two major website projects, with many shorter assignments that build on each other and lead up to the larger projects.
To get credit for your work, you must follow the directions for each project/deliverable in order to successfully link your work to the class website.
Understand that your work will be public, and hosted on your own account. When the semester is over, you'll retain full control over what you've made.
Slack will be used for posting and sharing references, contributing to written discussions, and for communicating with your classmates and instructors.
You may occasionally use Figma to generate prototypes and/or use as a virtual pin-up space to post progress work.
Time spent as a large group (lectures, etc) will be kept at a minimum, but expect to be in class for the full schedule session. Most of our in-class instruction will happen through pre-recorded videos and self-guided exercises, allowing you to set your own pace while assimilating new material. This work is to be undertaken independently, but during class hours — attendance is required, and you are expected to remain available throughout the zoom session. Instructors will regularly have short meetings with small groups of students during class for discussion, critique, and progress checks. You may also sometimes work in small groups independent of instructors. Cameras/mics off while working independently is fine, but we prefer to see your face during large meetings and small-group discussions. Meetings of the full class will be recorded and made available for review. This will not be the case for small-group discussions. Like any studio class, expect to make an appreciable time commitment outside of class sessions for homework and projects.
Lab sessions are primarily intended to provide additional real-time access to instructors for assistance and feedback related to assignments and project work. Lab sessions are optional; think of them as office hours. They are an excellent time to work through problems you've had with assignments before the assignment is due.
Everyone learns more when critiques occur as a discussion rather than a one-sided evaluation. Expect not only to receive constructive feedback, but to provide it to your peers. This may occur in class discussions, one-on-one discussions with peers, or in the form of written notes.
You will receive feedback on the work through individual and group critiques as it is developed. Grades will not be given for individual assignments. Faculty will arrange midterm conferences if desired, and will also be available during lab sessions to discuss assignments and overall course progress as needed. At the end of the semester, you will receive a final letter grade, determined by a combination of objective and subjective factors:
Grades will not be assigned on a curve, nor is any other particularly mathematical device applied. If you have an expectation of a strictly numbers-based grade, now is the time to let go of that expectation. We're talking about art here! At a high-level, final letter grades attempt to reflect the following standards:
If grades are important to you, be proactive about ensuring they are as you expect them to be.
The best learning environment — whether in the classroom, studio, laboratory, or fieldwork site — is one in which all members feel respected while being productively challenged. At Washington University in St. Louis, we are dedicated to fostering an inclusive atmosphere, in which all participants can contribute, explore, and challenge their own ideas as well as those of others. Every participant has an active responsibility to foster a climate of intellectual stimulation, openness, and respect for diverse perspectives, questions, personal backgrounds, abilities, and experiences, although instructors bear primary responsibility for its maintenance.
A range of resources is available to those who perceive a learning environment as lacking inclusivity, as defined in the preceding paragraph. If possible, we encourage students to speak directly with their instructor about any suggestions or concerns they have regarding a particular instructional space or situation. Alternatively, students may bring concerns to another trusted advisor or administrator (such as an academic advisor, mentor, department chair, or dean). All classroom participants — including faculty, staff, and students — who observe a bias incident affecting a student may also file a report (whether personally or anonymously) utilizing the online Bias Report and Support System.
The faculty in this course are committed to the ongoing work of anti-racism and we ask students to do the same. We acknowledge that designers have contributed to the creation and perpetuation of unjust systems and institutions. We also acknowledge that designers have a responsibility to shape ethical practices and be part of long-term societal change. This work takes time and sustained involvement. Let’s work together to approach new knowledge with an open mind and heart. Here are some ways that we can work in this class to dismantle white supremacy:
Students in need of financial support to complete the assignments for this course should visit this website to learn more about undergraduate funding opportunities: https://samfoxschool.wustl.edu/node/13123.
Familiarize yourself with the fall 2021 plans at https://covid19.wustl.edu/danforth-campus-plan-for-fall-2021/ and check back often to learn updates and recent changes.
Exceptions to course policies, expectations, and requirements (including attendance and assignment deadlines) because of COVID-19 diagnosis, symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or exposure to a person with a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 diagnosis that requires quarantine or isolation will be made in collaboration between the student and instructor. In these cases, please notify your instructor as soon as possible to discuss appropriate accommodations.
While on campus, it is imperative that students follow all public health guidelines established to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission within our community. The full set of University protocols can be found at https://covid19.wustl.edu/health-safety/. This includes:
We take your health and the health of our community seriously. Any Danforth Campus student who is currently diagnosed with COVID-19, is experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or has had direct contact with a person with a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 diagnosis must remain home and isolate yourself from others. Students who have symptoms and/or do not pass the screening protocol described above must call the Habif Health and Wellness Center at 314-935-6666 for additional instructions.
Attendance is mandatory and will be documented for all course meetings. Students are expected to arrive ready to participate and be fully engaged in the day’s coursework during the entire scheduled class period. Participation in major critiques and reviews by all students is essential. Failure to do so will have an impact on your final grade. Following university policy, class will begin promptly with the start time listed in the undergraduate bulletin. Presence in this class is based on real-time attendance on Zoom. If you join a class session but do not respond or participate, we will assume you are absent and make note.
Lab sessions are optional, but serve as an excellent opportunity to receive feedback to work and answers to questions, so attendance is highly encouraged.
Absences: Your priorities are yours, and we expect you to manage them like the adults you are. As such, we don't arbitrate what constitutes an 'excused' absence. Our expectation is that you keep up with scheduled course work. If circumstances dictate missing a session or an assignment deadline, the severity of that impact is largely controlled by you, and how well you make accommodations — making a plan ahead of time, getting assignments from peers, getting caught-up on work, etc. We are happy to help you plan these accommodations ahead of time in order to minimize adverse impact. Racking up multiple absences will impact the evaluation of your investment in the course. Missing class sessions is also a disservice to yourself and your peers, as this time is largely dedicated to reviewing student work.
Emergencies and Severe Illness: In situations of emergency or extreme illness, please contact Georgia Binnington and she will let all of your instructors know. Circumstances of severe illness or other emergencies will be handled on an individual basis. Should you become ill with the COVID-19 virus, informing Georgia is an appropriate course of action. While we hope very much that none of us find ourselves dealing with Covid or any other serious health issue, we will certainly make accommodations as needed should that occur.
Late Work: All deliverables are due at 5pm CDT/CST on the date specified, whether or not you are in class. Late work will adversely affect your final grade.
The instructors reserve the right to make modifications to this information throughout the semester.
Please review these standardized course policies for classes throughout the Sam Fox school.