HCI and Interactive Arts/Entertainment Design (2012/2013, Semester 2) 

 MODULE OUTLINE Created: 02-Nov-2012, Updated: 10-Dec-2015
Module Code NM4226
Module Title HCI and Interactive Arts/Entertainment Design
Semester Semester 2, 2012/2013
Modular Credits 5
Faculty Arts & Social Sciences
Department Communications And New Media
Timetable Timetable/Teaching Staff
Module Facilitators
DR Alex Mitchell Lecturer
The Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction, 2nd Ed. Description from the site: "This encyclopedia covers the design of interactive products and services like websites, household objects, smartphones, computer software, aircraft cockpits, you name it. The encyclopedia is free, includes HD videos, commentaries, and lots more."
Educational Excellent resource.Excellent resource.Excellent resource.Excellent resource.
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Learning Outcomes | Prerequisites | Teaching Modes | Synopsis | Schedule | Practical Work | Workload | Assessment | Texts and Readings | Participation | Academic Integrity | Copyright

Interactive entertainment, interactive art, and human-computer interaction (HCI) design all deal with the ways in which people interact with technology. They do so, however, from very different and often contradictory perspectives. This module explores the tensions at the intersection of these related approaches to thinking about, designing, and analyzing interactive media. Issues will be explored through a combination of case studies, theoretical discussions, and project work situated at the intersection of entertainment, art and HCI.

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

Cohort 2006 and before:
Read and passed a minimum of 80 MCs.

Cohort 2007 onwards:
(Not applicable to SOC/SDE/ENG students)
Completed 80 MCs, including 28 MCs in NM, with a minimum CAP of 3.5 or be on the Honours track.

(For SOC/SDE/ENG students)
Completed 80 MCs and obtain a minimum CAP of 3.5.

SEMINARS: 3 hours/week, Monday 11am-2pm.

There is growing interest in academia and industry in the convergence of, and tensions between, HCI, interactive art, and interactive entertainment. This module is designed to expose students to these issues.

Students will learn:

  • to view interactive media design from the perspectives of HCI, art and entertainment
  • to understand and appreciate different points of potential convergence and divergence
  • to develop projects that attempt to reconcile different aspects of each approach
  • to apply critical and design approaches creatively across these different approaches to understand and apply the differing evaluation criteria

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.

Weekly Readings
Each week there will be one or more readings.  Be sure to complete the readings before class each week, as I will assume that everyone is familiar with the readings during the seminar and accompanying discussions. Note that there is no reading packet for this module - all readings will either be uploaded to the IVLE workbin, linked online, or added to the library e-reserves.

Assignments and Project
There will be three short assignments in weeks 2 through 7, which will explore the ideas discussed in the readings and in the seminars. For each of the assignments
there will be a simple design problem which has to be approached from one of the different perspectives discussed in the module: HCI, game design, and art/aesthetics. Each assignment will involve designing an interactive media work, plus writing a short reflection connecting the assignment to the readings. We will critique and discuss the assignments during the weekly seminar.

There will also be a group project, which will span weeks 8 through 13. The project will involve designing and making an interactive media work. I will be choosing a topic which cuts across the three perspectives, and which will encourage students to confront the differences between these perspectives. There will be intermediate deliverables for the project, and weekly in-class critique and discussion. We will have a sharing/exhibition session for the completed projects at the end of the semester.

The essay will be individual, and will involve a more detailed reflection on the project and the concepts discussed in the module.

The official NUS policy is that student should expect to work an average of 12.5 hours/week in a 5MC module. For this module, students should expect to do roughly the following every week:
  • 2.5 hrs/wk: Seminar
  • 6.0 hrs/wk: Assignments / Projects
  • 4.0 hrs/wk: Readings and preparation for seminar
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.

Breakdown of marks:
Seminars (10%)
Participation: forum, in-class discussions, etc. (individual)
Assignments (30%)
3 assignments which explore the different perspectives (HCI, art, entertainment) (individual)
Essay (20%)
Critical essay addressing the issues raised in the module (individual)
Project (40%)
Design and implementation of an interactive media work which crosses over between HCI, art and entertainment. (random groups of 3-4, 20% individual mark, 20% group mark)

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.)