History 9832B is a studio course on interactive exhibit design, intended primarily for public historians and digital humanists. Students will learn how to create interactive exhibits through a series of hands-on projects that teach the basics of interaction design, physical computing, and desktop fabrication. No prior experience is necessary. Preference will be given to students in the public history MA program, but other graduate students may take it with my permission. Contact me at email@example.com for more information.
In this course you will be graded on your documentation of the design process (25%), the project(s) that you develop (50%), and your presentations in multiple media (25%). Your final grade will reflect how much you’ve learned or accomplished in this course, rather than any overall level of technical attainment.
Week 01: W Jan 06
- Barry, Lynda. “On Liking and Not Liking our Drawings” from Syllabus (2014).
- Brown, Tim and Roger L. Martin. “Design for Action” Harvard Business Review (Sep 2015).
- Kolko, Jon. “Design Thinking Comes of Age” Harvard Business Review (Sep 2015).
- Luebkeman, Chris. “Design is Our Answer: An Interview with Leading Design Thinker Tim Brown [paywall]” Architectural Design 85(4): 34-39 (Jul 2015).
- Turkel, William J. “Designing Interactive Exhibits” (17 Dec 2011).
- Turkel, William J. “The History Department with a Fab Lab” (2 Feb 2013).
Week 02: W Jan 13
- Killen, Heath. “Interview: Designing Futures with Stuart Candy” Desktop: the Culture of Design (Jul 18, 2013)
- Mars, Roman. “Interaction Design Lessons from Science Fiction Movies” The Eye: Slate’s Design Blog (Nov 22, 2013)
- Sterling, Bruce. “Design Fiction [paywall]” ACM Interactions 16(3):20-24 (May-Jun 2009) [alternate link]
- Zeldon, Joey. “Learning to Sketch vs. Sketching to Learn” Core77 (Aug 20, 2015)
Week 03: W Jan 20
- Lowgren, “Interaction Design – Brief Intro,” in Mads Soegaard and Rikke Friis Dam, eds., Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction, 2nd ed.
- Kaptelinin, “Affordances,” in Mads Soegaard and Rikke Friis Dam, eds., Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction, 2nd ed.
- Chalmers and MacColl, “Seamful and Seamless Design in Ubiquitous Computing,” 2003.
- DiRT: Digital Research Tools wiki
Week 04: W Jan 27 & Week 05: W Feb 03
- Hi-Low Tech (MIT Media Lab, 2009-14) [Explore the site]
Week 06: W Feb 10
N.B. We won’t be meeting together this week. Instead you should install SketchUp Make on your own computer and try creating a 3D model of the package that you made in week 04 or week 05. You can simplify your model as necessary. When you are finished, email me a picture of your package (or a picture of what it was supposed to look like) and a screenshot of your 3D model.
There are resources for learning SketchUp here.
Week 07: W Feb 24, Week 08: W Mar 02 & Week 09: W Mar 09
- littleBits website
- First week: Electronics design challenges
- Second week: A more complicated build
- Third week: Drawbots
Week 10: W Mar 16, Week 11: W Mar 23, Week 12: W Mar 30
Design brief: for your final project, you are going to create a prototype of a ‘kit for cultural history’, inspired by work done at the Maker Lab at the University of Victoria (see readings below). You and your partner will present your final project in class on Wednesday April 6. It is important to note that your project is going to be a proof-of-principle demonstration. It doesn’t have to be complete or work perfectly, and some aspects of the project (particularly research for historical content) can be quite sketchy. That said, you want to be able to clearly and professionally present your ideas. Imagine that you plan to use your final project to obtain seed funding or sponsorship, to show to potential employers, or as part of a grant application.
Here are the constraints your project must satisfy:
- It must fit into a Banker’s Box with room to spare.
- You should begin by creating sketches, storyboards, 3D models and physical prototypes. I will review these with you to help you develop and refine your idea.
- Your project should be housed in a custom package that suits your overall concept. You will create this package out of cardboard, foamcore, corrugated plastic, and other suitable materials.
- You should design some vector graphics that can be cut on the vinyl sign cutter (see the robots and Tyrannosaurus on the wall of the lab to get an idea of what is possible). Your graphics can be used for instruction, decoration, branding, signage, etc.
- Your project should feature some kind of physical interaction or manipulation. The use of electronics is optional.
- Unless I suggest it specifically, you should not plan to use Arduino, MaKey MaKey or other microcontroler-based technologies.
- You should archive all of your documentation for the project in a GitHub repository with an appropriate license (perhaps CC-BY)
There are two general ways to approach the subject of your project. You can start with something you are interested in (e.g., the history of hockey, women in the Special Operations Executive, dinosaurs, etc.) and try to design your kit around the topic. Or you can start with a particularly compelling interaction and ask what kind of kit would provide a suitable context to display your interaction. In previous years, students who have taken the latter approach have tended to create much better final projects.
- Elliott, MacDougall and Turkel. “New Things Old: Fabrication, Physical Computing, and Experiment in Historical Practice.” Canadian Journal of Communication, Vol 37 (2012): 121-128.
- Belojevic. “Debuting Our Early Wearables Kit.” 3 Feb 2014.
- Belojevic. “Kits for Cultural History.” 20 Sep 2014.
- Macpherson. “Mécanisme à l’intérieur de la tête de mort.” 11 Sep 2015.
- Chan. “Announcing the Early Wearables Kit Repository.” 7 Nov 2015.
- Morgan. “Exhibiting the Early Wearables Kit at Rutgers.” 17 Nov 2015.
- Morgan. “Kit Content as Kit Container.” 9 Dec 2015.
- Sayers. “Why Fabricate?” Scholarly and Research Communication, Vol 6, Issue 3 (2015).
- Goertz. “Bits and Atoms: Remaking a Receiver.” 25 Jan 2016.
- Profhacker, GitHub 101
- GitHub Training
Week 13: W Apr 06
FINAL PROJECT DEMONSTRATIONS