Please note that the following schedule is subject to change, due to both progress of the class and individual students.



ALL DOCUMENTATION BLOG POSTS ARE DUE MONDAYS AT 12 PM / NOON. Please note that if you have not posted by that time, you will not receive credit for that week.


Week 1

Due 8/30

  1. Create your documentation blog and email both instructors the URL

  2. Write a opening post - it’s the hardest one! Describe your areas of interest, what you might like to make, work that inspires you, etc. Also include a paragraph about what excites you about thesis and what makes you nervous about the process. NOTE: If you want some inspiration around domains for next class, the ACM 2012 classification system is a good place to start.

Due 9/4

  1. In class presentation (5-7 minutes) on your domains, 2-3 initial research questions, and at least 3 precedents. Post your presentation and any feedback to your blog.

** One way to frame your initial question could be: Can X do Y by/with/through Z? For example:

Research + Writing Assignment (Due Sunday, 9/2): What Are You Studying?

  1. Initial list of sources in your domain (to begin compiling your bibliography)

  2. List of 10 research questions

  3. List of 3, refined research questions

  4. Refine and update your sticky note domain/sub-domains map. (You can use mapping techniques other than sticky notes if you’d like.) “Your diagram should reveal relationships amongst its topics….” From T1 spec for Milestone Paper_Research (Project 1)

  5. Create a list of at least 25 possible live people in your domains whom you’d like to interview (Documentation of 3 interviews are required at the end of Wk 3). See Interview spec. Begin contacting these possible subjects.

Week 2

Required R&W 1x1s next week: Please sign up for time slots next Tues with Louisa. Take one in the morning if you’re available. If you need to change, please contact another student directly for a switch and inform Louisa by email of the change.

Due 9/6

  1. Choose at least 4 creative research methods. For each one, describe or list (a) how they would help you gather more information to sharpen your design question(s) and (b) the major benefits and challenges of using this method. Post this to your blog.

  2. Pick 3 or more from your list of domain experts whether you received any responses or not. To begin working on your interview prep (see spec), describe their relevance to your design questions: Who are they? What is their expertise? Why would they be helpful to you? Write 3 initial questions you would ask each of them. Post this to your blog.

Due 9/11 (Post to documentation blog)

  1. Employ a creative research method we have discussed or that you have found. Post your process, any material you generated, any feedback you received, and any reflections you had on the process to your blog.

  2. You will have up to 10 minutes to discuss your project with the entire class. You may use this time however you like: you can do a formal presentation, hold a discussion, ask questions, do a design research exercise - it's up to you to design how you want to get feedback from the group that will help you make some decisions. Everyone is expected to actively give feedback to everyone else during their allotted time.

Research + Writing Assignment (Due Sunday, 9/9): What do you want to make first? How will this project(s) help you begin to create a problem space for your inquiry?

  1. As notes or narrative text, begin to conceive design questions within this space, using your research questions as starting points to connect investigation, discovery and project ideas.

  2. Please go to MFADT thesis shows and papers from the last four years (2018, 2017, 2016, 2015). You will find the final documentation of these theses in the New School Digital Archives here. Find at least 3 projects and describe each of them and why each resonates with you in no more than 3 paragraphs for each precedent. (Please review the papers of your chosen projects, noting that the large majority, but not all, students elect to make their papers accessible.) Conclude this paper (maximum length: 5 pages) with a first draft description o f what you're considering making first. What genres interest you? What technologies? What will be your initial content focus? Have you any methodologies in mind?

  3. Circle back to your research and design questions. Has thinking about your studio practice affected them in anyway? If so, please revise. Within your domains, drill down to identify a community or communities of practice directly related to your research.

  4. Describe how they are relevant to your project. Connect individuals from your list of possible interview subjects and/or revise and extend the list.

Week 3

Due 9/13

  1. Come prepared to meet with Liza individually to discuss your design questions, creative research methodologies + artifacts, and project status. Post a status update to your blog.

  2. Two week timeline with milestones. Post to your documentation blog.

Due 9/18 (Post to documentation blog)

  1. Employ another creative research method. Post your process, any material you generated, any feedback you received, and any reflections you had on the process to your blog.

  2. Post your in-class audience assignment to your blog.

Research + Writing Assignment (Due Sunday, 9/16)

  1. Draft parts of your Project 1, Milestone Brief. Tackle your introductory paragraph and those sections which you find most difficult first. Please submit a minimum of 5 pages.

  2. Final reports on at least 3 interviews with experts in your domains.

Week 4

Due 9/20: Presentation preparation

Due 9/25: Research presentations

Research + Writing Assignment (Due Sunday, 9/23)

Draft parts of your Project 1, Milestone Brief. Tackle those sections which you find most difficult . Please submit a minimum of 5 pages, using proper citation style, either MLA or Chicago.

Week 5

Due 9/27: Research presentations

Due 10/2: Post your presentation, feedback, and a short reflection on where you are with your thesis that addresses the following questions:

  • What are you excited about?

  • What questions do you have?

  • What challenges do you face?

  • What do you plan on doing to do next?

Research + Writing Assignment (Due Sunday, 9/30)

Second Draft: Milestone Paper: Research (As well as placing it in our private R&W google folder, please post on your process blog.)


Week 6

Due 10/4: (1) MAKE SOMETHING. Develop one prototype and post documentation of it on your blog, including any images or video. Why did you choose to make this prototypes? What variable were you testing for? What information did it give you about your project? Did anything about the process surprise you? Bring it to next class. (2) Write out an initial set of design values for your project and post them to your blog.

Due 10/9: (1) Document your in-class play test on your blog. Describe the variables you tested, what happened, the feedback you received, anything that surprised you, and any new questions or directions you have. (2) Create 2-3 *new* prototypes that explore another question. (3) Revise and tighten your domains and research question based on feedback from your presentation. (4) If I told you any next steps in our 1x1, those are due as well.

Research + Writing Assignment (Due Sunday, 10/7)

Please write a Designer’s or Artist’s Statement (no more than 1 page). Please write about your process and the intent of your work. Here is information on this kind of statement. Also please find a few examples of the blurbs.

Week 7

Due 10/11:

  • Document your in-class play test on your blog.

  • Read the full Prototyping Resources document. Write a blog post about which Prototyping Types/Methods you would like to try.

  • Prepare your project pitch (10 min) for Thursday. You should restate your refined design question/domains (this can be brief), discuss findings from your prototypes and play tests, and share your plan for the inter-class play test on Tuesday. Note: This does not have to be a slide deck. You can get creative.

Due 10/16: Inter-Section Play test next class! Complete the 3 assignments below.

1) Prototypes: Create 1-2 prototypes based on the list of Prototyping Types that respond to a question you are trying to solve for. You will test this next class. Document it on your blog and reflect on how this prototype addresses a larger question you have about your project. Why did you choose this prototyping type? What decision do you hope to make through this prototype? How will you evaluate whether or not this prototype is successful? (Remember: even a prototype that fails can be successful!)

2) Play test Plan. Prepare a play test plan and post it to your blog by Monday at noon so I can review it. You will go through two rounds of play tests. Each round is 20 minutes and there will be 3 people in your group each round. Here is one framework you can use to outline your plan:

  1. Goal: What do I want to learn from this play test? What questions do I have that I want to answer?

  2. Assumptions: What assumptions do I have about my project? Knowing that my audience is all DT, what biases do I need to be aware of?

  3. Outline:

    1. Introduction (2 min): How will I introduce my project? Starting out with your design/research question, domains, or goal are all good places to start. You can think of this like a pitch.

    2. Rules (3-5 min): Explain what play testers will do. Remember that you only have 20 minutes and keep anything they need to do within those constraints.

    3. Testing (5-10 min): Test it! Be sure to take notes on things you hear them say, do, etc. Where do you see them excited, frustrated, interested, uninterested, etc.

    4. Debrief (5-10 min): Ask them about their experience and have them fill out the survey.

3) Survey. Prepare a survey for your playtesters to fill out. Create 3 questions you want your play testers to answer. Print out 4 copies and bring them to the playtest.

Your questions can be multiple choice, check boxes, scales, or short answer. Keep in mind that they won’t have a ton of time to fill them out, so consider your questions carefully. Here are some example questions:

  • On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being not interested at all and 10 being very interested, how interested are you in learning more about the Roman empire after seeing this prototype? Why?

  • Check all of the emotions you felt while engaging with this prototype.

  • List three things you did not understand about the prototype.

  • What would you have liked to know before testing this prototype?

  • How likely would it be for you to download this app at a conference? (a) very likely (b) somewhat likely (c) not likely Why?

Research + Writing Assignment (Due Sunday, 10/14)

Design Brief, no more than 5 pages (not including illustration nor back matter--Back matter means bibliography or lists of sources cited/consulted) on your first prototype.

The structure of this first brief is up to you. Nevertheless much of it should be narrative text, using research with correct citations. Going forward always strive to connect these findings to your making. (At least ⅗ of the paper should be as described in the previous sentence, as per a research paper.) But...if you’d like to cover some of your content with visuals, such as an infographic, storyboard or a sketch, they are also welcome as part of the five pages. These briefs will help you begin preparing your next Milestone Paper, Prototyping. So please be sure you describe what you’ve made this week, including (a) qualities (design values) (b) methodology, and (c) design questions tested. Provide a link to visual representation of your prototype (s).

Week 8

Due 10/18: Document and reflect on yesterday's play test on your blog. You should include any images, survey responses, etc and address the following questions:

  • Feedback: What feedback did you receive from your play testers during each round? What feedback was most helpful? What feedback was most surprising?

  • Plan: Do you think your play test plan was successful? Why or why not? Did it change how you will present your ideas and prototypes in the future?

  • Decisions: Were you able to make any decisions about your project? If yes, why and what decisions did you make? If no, why?

  • Next Steps: Keeping in mind that we will be writing concept statements and your next module presentation is in two weeks, what next steps do you want to take?

Due 10/23: Create a new or refined prototype based on the feedback you received this week. Document it on your blog along with a question that it is responding to and description of why you created it.

Research + Writing Assignment (Due Sunday, 10/21)

Please write a first draft Concept Statement. You will revisit it often this semester and perhaps next semester as well. Articulate a working concept -- your big idea and its form (s). Your approach - at this stage - should include an updated version of the design values (creative qualities) you are aiming for in your thesis project.

Week 9

Due 10/25: Practice presentations. Use the criteria below to craft your presentation. You each have 7 minutes to present and 4 minutes of feedback. I will specifically address your presentation style and look for gaps so you can iterate for the final presentations.

Due 10/30: ****Prototyping Presentations****

You will have 10 minutes to present and 5-7 minutes for feedback. There will be two critics, one other faculty and one external critic.

In your presentations you should:

  • Describe your prototyping experiments AND findings - remember: don't just talk about what you did, but WHY it is important and what decisions you made as a result.

  • Discuss the related questions or variables that prompted the experiment, what you found out, and which prototype(s) you feel are interesting enough to continue to the context / audience / testing stage.

  • Share your tentative concept statement and revised design values (if they need revising).

  • Reiterate your audience/stakeholders and the community of practice you are working in (i.e. the group of people who work in this area who you might want to review your work, collaborate with, etc - for example, if you were hosting a meet up or salon about your topic, what group of people would you invite?)

Research + Writing Assignment (Due Sunday Oct 28, 8:59 a.m.)

Draft 1 Milestone Paper: Prototyping NOTE: I will not read your first draft if it submitted past deadline.

Week 10

Due 11/1

Due 11/6

Research & Writing (Due Sunday November 4 at 11:59 a.m.)

If you’ve not received comments yet from Louisa on Milestone Paper: Prototyping, Draft 1, you should still start working on Draft 2, as next week’s deadline for Draft 2 is HARD. Please see below.

As for testing, please start working with this form (aka process paper) .

Sign up here for 1x1s with Louisa on Thursday Nov 15 (outside room 1208 )


Week 11

Due 11/8: (1) Finish in-class assignment, post to your blog, and send me the link. (2) Continue working on your high fidelity prototype.

Due 11/13: (1) High fidelity prototype due. Document it on your blog; (2) Playtest plan due. Fill out sections 1-5 in this document and post your responses to your blog. (Note: You do not have to use the Google Doc format.)

Research + Writing Assignment (Due Sunday Nov 11, 8:59 a.m)

Draft 2, Milestone Paper: Prototyping


NOTE: R&W, Also Due Friday Nov 9 at 11:59 a.m. Revised Testing plan (from the one you first made for Liza) , approximately 3 pages. Choose 1 or more prototypes. What questions do you want answered? What testing methods will you use? How will you assemble your test groups?

Week 12

Due 11/15: (1) Updated concept statement and criteria for success due. (2) Draft of video presentation. Create a short 30 second to 2 minute documentation video that communicates your thesis to an outside audience. You choose the format: it can be a trailer, a demo, a user scenario, etc. Here is Becky Stern's list of great project documentation videos for inspiration. (Note: It is very helpful to storyboard this first)

Due 11/20: You should be prepared to playtest with other thesis sections.

Research + Writing Assignment (Due Sunday 11/18)

Same as studio: begin writing or outlining Final Studio Summary Doc. Also please keep working with your testing form and look at this spec, Milestone Paper Testing.

Week 13

Due 11/27: (1) External playtest completed. Finish the last section of the Testing Process Paper and revise any other sections. Post the new version to your blog. (2) New prototype iteration that you will exhibit in the Pop-Up Show. (3) Exhibition plan for Thesis Pop-Up Show (space, electrical, lighting, tech requirements; mock up of demo; documentation plan; etc)

Research + Writing Assignment (Due Sunday 11/25, 8:59 a.m.)

1st draft, Milestone Paper_Testing

Week 14

Due 11/29: Be ready for practice presentations.

Due 12/4: Final crits

Research + Writing Assignment (Due Sunday 12/2)

Even if you’ve not yet received notes on 1st Draft, Milestone Paper Testing, please start revising.

Week 15

Due 12/6: Final crits

Due 12/11: Draft of Final Design Process Doc due.

Research + Writing Assignment (Due Sunday 12/9)

*****Final R&W Due Sunday Dec 9 at 11:59 PM*****

Please post in your R&W google folder: Final Writing packet -updated, revised: 3 Milestone papers + 3 Interviews.

By 11:59 pm on Thursday Dec 13, also please post to your R&W google folder the Final Studio Process Doc and any other writing you’d like to include.

Week 16

Final STUDIO deliverables due Thursday Dec 13 at 11:59 PM

Final of Final Design Process Doc due. Email Liza your Final Studio Process Doc and links to blogs posts for the documentation of proof of concept prototype and the final slide deck.

Project management templates from Liza here.

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