Course Description

This course is an exploration of hardware and software interfaces and interaction design principles for the studio artist/designer.

Course Objectives

This course focuses on technical and conceptual skills regarding tangible media, design and physical computing. Labs, demonstrations, and critiques will serve to develop and enhance skills related to interaction models behind dynamic, reactive, and interactive art praxis. Lectures, readings, writing and discussions will augment studio investigations with critical theory, historical and contemporary art movements, interaction design principles and current developments in the field. We will use experiential and experimental methods to explore the Arduino and Processing coding platforms and both input/output systems from a variety of sensors and actuators.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Conduct practice-based research utilizing technology as a medium for critical exploration and the creation of digital artworks.
  2. Demonstrate experiential understanding of programming syntax for studio art applications.
  3. Apply physical and digital methods to studio art production, and demonstrate problem-solving for wiring, soldering, scripting, and sensor-based artworks.
  4. Examine and discuss critical issues and experimental practices in the areas of interactive digital media.
  5. Produce written and verbal analysis of contemporary interactive practices.
  6. Demonstrate proficiency in discussion and critique of the creative practices of themselves and others.


Readings will vary each semester, often drawing from:

For each reading section assigned for homework, students are required to post a response on Canvas when explicitly stated in the schedule. These responses will be used to begin in-class discussion of the material. Late comments will be given 50% credit.


There will be a number of projects assigned in this course. Each project will include a written statement that describes the meaning and intention of the work.

Projects include:

Projects are due on critique days. As such, late work will not be reviewed by the class. Grades will drop each day that they are late.


There are 3 written papers required in this course.


Project 1175 pts
Project 2175 pts
Project 3175 pts
Participation200 pts
Attendance200 pts
Papers75 pts
Total1000 pts

grading policy



In-class participation grades will be based on contributions to discussion and critiques, as well as engagement with exercises, activities, and demonstrations.

Students are expected to participate in class discussions and critiques. Talking about your work and the work of others is a crucial aspect of creating art. Articulating the meaning of your work is just as important as making the work, and will help develop your ideas. The ideas shared in critiques and theory discussions will help us all learn from each other and greatly increase our ability to understand our creative practices. Constructive criticism is never personal; rather it is based on the work, and reflects how the work is perceived by others. As such, it is incredibly important to be receptive to criticism and to give good faith criticism to your peers’ work. Your participation will contribute to your final grade – the act of contributing to class is more important than worrying about perfectly articulating intelligent ideas. Fluency comes through practice.


CFA 207 has a PIN to access the room. Students will have access to room 207 and the Fabrican Lab (subject to open hours) to complete their projects, except during times when other classes are in session.

should expect to complete their work during lab days and during after hours access to the lab. All student projects are to be completed during available lab hours in the Digital Media Studio, on personal computers or in the @One’s Dynamic Media Lab.

cell phone use

Unless when explicitly involved in a project or for the express purposes of research or notetaking, cell phone use is not permitted.


Attendance to all class meetings is required. More than two unexcused absences will affect your final grade, with each absence dropping the final grade by half a letter grade.

If you will be missing class for a religious observance or obligation, or University-approved activity, you must notify the instructor in advance in writing. If you are absent due to illness, family emergency, bereavement, etc, email the instructor as soon as possible.

Students are required to work an additional 6 hours per week outside of scheduled class times.

Religious Holy Days

It is the policy of NSHE to be sensitive to the religious obligations of its students. Any student missing classes, quizzes, examinations or any other class or lab work because of observance of religious holy days will, whenever possible, be given an opportunity during that semester to make up the missed work. The make-up work will apply to the religious holy day absence only. It shall be the responsibility of the student to notify the instructor in advance in writing, if the student intends to participate in a religious holy day which does not fall on state holidays or periods of class recess. This policy shall not apply in the event that administering the assignment at an alternate time would impose an undue hardship on the instructor or the institution which could not reasonably have been avoided.

Policy on Academic Dishonesty

Plagiarism in your writing and essays may result in disciplinary actions from the University as well as failure in the class. It is the student's responsibility to know the University's standards and rules. Please see the University's general rules on conduct and academic standards including plagiarism.

The University Academic Standards Policy defines academic dishonesty, and mandates specific sanctions for violations.

See the University Academic Standards policy: UAM 6,502 for more information

Policy on Disability

Any student with a disability needing academic adjustments or accommodations is requested to speak with the Disability Resource Center (Pennington Student Achievement Center, Suite 230) as soon as possible to arrange for appropriate accommodations. Please contact the instructor as well if you are comfortable doing so.

Academic Success services

Your student fees cover usage of the Tutoring Center, and University Writing Center.

These centers support your classroom learning; it is your responsibility to take advantage of their services. Keep in mind that seeking help outside of class is the sign of a responsible and successful student.

audio and video Recording

Surreptitious or covert video-taping of class or unauthorized audio recording of class is prohibited by law and by Board of Regents policy. This class may be videotaped or audio recorded only with the written permission of the instructor. In order to accommodate students with disabilities, some students may be given permission to record class lectures and discussions. Therefore, students should understand that their comments during class may be recorded.

in-class conduct

As this is your class, you will be asked to contribute to and uphold conduct practices that are collectively agreed to.

The University of Nevada, Reno is committed to providing a safe learning and work environment for all. If you believe you have experienced discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic/dating violence, or stalking, whether on or off campus, or need information related to immigration concerns, please contact the University's Equal Opportunity & Title IX office at 775-784-1547. Resources and interim measures are available to assist you. Learn more.