Purdue Interaction Design MFA Program
Courses

Courses in curriculum

A&D512 Interaction Design Studies
This course introduces the fundamental components involved in interaction design, which is, designing human-computer interfaces from a human perspective as opposed to a technology-centered one. What this means is to design the interface to suit us humans, instead of asking users to adapt to technology.  Throughout this course, students will be working in a prototypical interaction design context and will be guided through the major steps of interaction design resulting in a simple artifact prototype. Technologies involved in this course are Dynamic HTML and entry level Flash.

A&D522 Interaction Design Evaluation
This course builds a foundation for design evaluation research. This foundation will be used to analyze recent evaluations of design frameworks, concepts, prototypes and systems which use mixed quantitative and qualitative methods of inquiry.  I will introduce a range of evaluation approaches including informal usability studies, lab experiments, field studies and analytically-based evaluations.  Students will explore techniques for feedback including usability tests, observation, interviews, heuristic reviews and discursive evaluations.  Underlying concepts of evaluation including scientific experimentation, ethnography, phenomenology and aesthetics will be discussed.  Students will learn how to design and implement appropriate evaluation studies for a range of design projects.

A&D532 Cognition for Interaction Design
This course is about understanding how humans interact with computers and computer-assisted artifacts, and find better ways of designing these interactions to improve the overall effectiveness and user experience. In order to be able to do that systematically, we will need to understand humans better:  The course will assist students in gaining a deeper understanding of multi-modal human cognition, perception, and behaviour and embodied, spatial cognition in the context of computer-based media.

A&D542 Information Visualization Design
This course explores how we perceive information from different visualization approaches and how we can best communicate the information and the concepts represented. Topics include material related to data visualization, perception, interaction with complex information, and visual attention.  Cases will be drawn from all fields of visualization, including scientific, information and knowledge visualization and the emerging fields of ambient and casual visualization.  Interaction plays an equal important role as visualization while users working with complex data. To understand different forms of interaction and their respective benefits, this course discusses interaction from three ways: human time constants, uses of interaction, and nature of interaction.

Courses in draft

Parametric Design and Design Space Exploration
Most current CAD/CAM/CAE software utilizes a design feature called parametrics, a method of linking dimensions and variables to geometry in such a way that when the values change, the part changes as well. In this manner, design modifications and creation of a family of parts can be performed in remarkably quick time compared with the redrawing required by traditional CAD. 
Students will practice on SolidWorks, Generative Component, or Rhino GrassHopper.

Foundations of Computational Art and Design
The goal of this course is to learn programming (Flash, Processing/Java) in the context of an art and design practice, that is, to understand computation as an expressive medium. Interaction designers/artist will eventually be involved on interdisciplinary projects in which the ability to program will be a strong asset, if not a necessity. This course will empower students to communicate confidently with programmers, and thus deepen their interdisciplinary collaborations. At the end, students will become fascinated with the expressive possibilities opened up by programming.

Interaction Design Exploration
This course explores design research issues in and related to interaction design. It complements and provides research paths in design and technology. The course is intended as an in-depth exploration of this convergence structured along three questions: What ideas and concepts have emerged to define interaction design?  What are the methodological foci in interaction design?  What related ideas have informed interaction design?

Tangible Computing
This course will:
1. Critically analyze the history, foundations, agendas, issues, research methods and current and critical research projects and papers in the area of tangible computing.
2. Provide the opportunity to develop hands-on technical skills in prototyping simple tangible systems in order to explore simple, topical research questions.