Design Knowledge for Interactive Media (2012/2013, Semester 2) 

 MODULE OUTLINE Created: 30-Oct-2012, Updated: 23-Nov-2012
Module Code NM5215/NM5215R
Module Title Design Knowledge for Interactive Media
Semester Semester 2, 2012/2013
Modular Credits NM5215 ( 4 ) / NM5215R ( 5 )
Faculty Arts & Social Sciences
Department Communications And New Media
Timetable Timetable/Teaching Staff
Module Facilitators
DR Alex Mitchell Lecturer
Tags --

Learning Outcomes | Teaching Modes | Synopsis | Schedule | Workload | Assessment | Texts and Readings | Participation | Academic Integrity | Copyright

This module explores how a designer of interactive media acquires, integrates, articulates, and shares design knowledge and skills for interactive media design. Students will learn about different design methods, techniques, and formalisms. The module will involve an interactive media project for which students will identify and articulate design knowledge – and then evaluate the result of using that design knowledge. In addition, the concepts of design knowledge, design methods, and design thinking will be critically examined.

This module is open both to graduate and undergraduate (honours) students. NM5215 (4 MCs) is the graduate version of the module, and NM5215R (5 MCs) is the undergraduate (honours) version.

NOTE: detailed information about the module may change up until the start of the module in January 2013.

SEMINARS: 3 hours/week, Wednesday 12-3pm.

This module explores the ways in which design knowledge can be identified, communicated and utilized. Although this module is situated in the space of interactive media design, the concepts are broadly applicable to other forms of design.

In this module, students will:

  • Learn the history of different design methods
  • Develop the ability to identify, create, and articulate design knowledge for interactive media
  • Gain a critical perspective on the advantages and limitations of different proposals for formalizing design knowledge

Tentative schedule:
  1. Introduction: formalizing design knowledge for interactive media
  2. History: classical attempts (poetics, architecture, film), design research, and the rise of modern design methods
  3. Design knowledge proposals: pattern languages, shape grammars, and structure-preserving transformations
  4. Identifying design knowledge
  5. Creating design knowledge
  6. Articulating design knowledge
  7. Evaluating design knowledge
  8. Reflecting on design, design knowledge, and interactive media

See the IVLE Lesson Plan for weekly lesson plan. There may be slight changes to the lesson plan during the semester, so be sure to check the IVLE Lesson Plan regularly.

The official NUS policy is that student should expect to work an average of 10 hours/week in a 4MC module, and 12.5 hours/week in a 5MC module. Note that for graduate students, this is a 4MC module, whereas for undergraduate students, it is a 5MC module. This means that undergraduates are expected to do 1MC (2.5 hours/week) more work.

For this module, students should expect to do roughly the following every week:
  • 2.5 hrs/wk: Seminar
  • 6.0 hrs/wk: Assignments / Projects
  • 1.0 hrs/wk (grad)/3.5 hrs/wk (undergrad): Readings and preparation
Note: this module is designed so that the work-load is about the same each week

   • If a student spends much less time on this module, it is almost certainly a sign the student will not do well.
   • If a student spends much more time on this module each week, talk to me: either you are doing more than we expect – or we have made the activities too time-consuming.

This module is 100% CA (“continuous assessment”); there is no exam.

Seminars (30% for NM5215/24% for NM5215R)
Participation: forum, in-class discussions, etc.
Mid-term report/project (30%
for NM5215/24% for NM5215R)
Students will choose one design methodology and create formal design knowledge for a specific interactive design problem. The report will consist of the proposed solution and student reflections on the process/result.
Final report/project (40%
for NM5215/32% for NM5215R)
Students will apply, evaluate, and reflect on the formal design knowledge they have created for a specific interactive design problem. The final report will consist of documentation and student reflections on the process/result.

Essay (20%, for NM5215R only)
A short essay reflecting on a topic relevant to the module, to be chosen in consultation with the lecturer.

Depending on the number of students in the module, there may be group-based projects. Group size will depend on the number of students in the module, but it will never be larger than 4 students to a group. Also, if there is group-based work, grading will be based partly on individual performance (70%) and partly on team performance (30%). An individual grade means that each individual needs to work alone on that component -- each student will be evaluated separately for that component. A group grade means that every individual in the team receives the same marks for that component.

Everything due in this module has a deadline. Unless there are truly exceptional circumstances, late delivery of a particular deliverable is marked down 10% for each hour it is late. See the Lesson Plan for a week-by-week snapshot of deliverables.

Warning: students may not use a project they have created (or are creating) for another module as a project submission for this module. If students want to build upon a project they have created earlier, they need to:
  • seek approval from the module instructor before starting to work on the project
  • provide information about other modules where the project has been submitted, and
  • clearly describe what is new about the project for this  module (note that "what is new'' must be significant and must be equivalent in scope to other module projects that are not based on pre-existing projects)

There is no reading package for this module. All module readings are available online, either as web links or pdf files within the module IVLE site. Please check the module Lesson Plan for details.

Note: readings will not be “summarized” during the seminars. Rather, the seminar discussions and activities will assume that students have already read the week’s paper(s) before the week’s seminar.

All students are expected to actively participate in seminars and in online forum discussions during the module.

Warning! All students are expected to read and respond to email sent to their NUS email accounts.

This module makes heavy use of IVLE forums to answer questions, support discussions, and make important update announcements. Postings to the module forum are forwarded to NUS email accounts – and those are the accounts we will use if we need to contact students directly.

If students do not check/read mail sent to their NUS email accounts, the consequences may result in lower marks. In particular, students are like to be penalized if they do not respond promptly if we send them email (to their NUS email address). We cannot make exceptions and use other email accounts to contact students.

Note: it is possible to have your NUS email “forwarded” to another email account. To do this, go to https://exchange.nus.edu.sg/ and click on the link for Email Redirection (bottom, left-hand side of the page). Then, follow the instructions.

Please be aware: students need to be responsible for their NUS email accounts. If a student does not read/delete mail from an NUS account (or have it forwarded to another account), the account may “fill up” and mail to the account may bounce. This means: even though a student may be able to send mails from the account, our replies to that account will not get through.

To be very clear: “I don’t read emails sent to my NUS account” will not be an acceptable reason for missing important module announcements, updates, etc.

Academic Integrity is a critical value of the university community and integrity violations destroy the fabric of a learning community and the spirit of inquiry that is vital to the effectiveness of the University. Please find more information on Academic Integrity of FASS at http://www.fas.nus.edu.sg/docs/undergrad/plagiarism_warning.htm

Students are expected to know that using the work of others without proper attribution (e.g. without citing the work properly) constitutes plagiarism. Even when a student paraphrases another person’s work, proper citations are necessary to avoid plagiarism.

FASS offers a small e-course in plagiarism. See http://emodule.nus.edu.sg/ac Students caught plagiarising will receive a zero in their assignments and will be referred to the Deans office. Second offenders can face a fine and other disciplinary actions. So students should be sure to acknowledge any sources or material they use in their assignments!

A project should not include assets – text, art, music, or video – that are violations of copyright. The safest way to avoid this problem is to create your own assets, but students may also use copyright-free assets. Some sites with open-source materials:

    • Internet Archive http://www.archive.org
    • Wikimedia Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org
    • PDSounds Open Library: http://www.pdsounds.org
    • Freesound Project: http://freesound.iua.upf.edu

WARNING! Just because something is “on the Internet” does not mean it is automatically legal to use it in a project. If students use assets that they did not create, they must be able to show an explicit statement from the copyright owner that grants them the right to use those assets. (Teams will be required to provide this information as part of their project documentation.)