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IAT 431 :: Speculative Design

Course Description: Provides students with the opportunity to experiment with design using alternative design perspectives, including critical design, reflective design, value-sensitive design, design fiction, and ludic design. The focus is on studying and designing to support real world social change and cultural critique. Students will examine designís potential for cultural, social and ethical critique of emerging technologies and society. This examination involves enacting and embodying differing theoretical positions.

Course Objectives: The goal of this course is to develop skills necessary for understanding, interpreting, and thinking about future designs. Students will study the theoretical perspectives of speculative design, methods for creating flexible and innovative designs of the future, and techniques for critiquing culture and design. Lectures will be complemented with hands-on activities in studio labs along with assignments aimed at creating conceptual design proposals and future design prototypes.

Learning Outcomes: Students will be able to:

  • understand, critique and analyze designs from non-typical design perspectives including value-sensitive design, critical design, ludic design, and reflective design
  • analyze, evaluate, and critically reflect on the design of human-centered solutions with respect to current and emerging design, social and cultural issues
  • design a tangible artifact or digital program from a non-typical design perspective such as value-sensitive design, critical design, ludic design, or reflective design
  • conduct a field evaluation of a speculative design to understand and receive critical feedback and cultural understanding by non-designers

Topics: The thematic investigation will change each year and will focus on a range of topics impacting society and culture in the present and near future. Possible topics include:

  • Smart homes
  • Social media and social networking
  • Sensual design
  • Sustainability
  • Design for fantasy and gaming
  • Mobile device ubiquity
  • Design for the developing world

Portions of the course may involve class activities (e.g., field trips) that occur outside of class time and at locations that are off-campus. Students are responsible for their own safety when engaging in such activities.

Evaluation: Your total course grade will consist of the following percentage breakdown.

  • 40% Individual Assignments
  • 30% In-Class Exam (individual)
  • 30% Group Projects (group work with individual grades)

Students must get at least 50% in each of the above components of the course in order to pass.

All team/group assignments must be completed as a group with your respective team members or you will receive 0 marks for them. All individual components must be completed individually or you will receive 0 marks for them.

You can earn up to 2% bonus by participating in designated research studies within SIAT as a learning experience to broaden your understanding of research in interactive arts and technology. You earn 1% per study that you participate in.

Your TA and Instructor will have final say over who are your group/team members.

You will complete one or more team member evaluations during the term. If your evaluations illustrate you are not performing an adequate amount of work on team submissions, components of your grade may be adjusted to reflect the evaluation. Team members may also directly influence portions of your grade.

Grading Schema: I use the following grade schema by default. This is subject to change though during the semester depending on overall student performance.

  • 95% ≤ A+
  • 90% ≤ A < 95%
  • 85% ≤ A- < 90%
  • 80% ≤ B+ < 85%
  • 75% ≤ B < 80%
  • 70% ≤ B- < 75%
  • 65% ≤ C+ < 70%
  • 60% ≤ C < 65%
  • 55% ≤ C- < 60%
  • 50% ≤ D < 55%
  • F < 50%