Interactive Design

Overview

Interactive Design

OBJECTIVES

The MFA in Design with an emphasis in Interaction Design prepares students to integrate digital and physical media practices with academic research, experimentation and skill. Interdisciplinary approaches are encouraged, including research and practice in the arts and humanities; computer science and data science; electrical and mechanical engineering; and social sciences, among other disciplines. The program rigorously considers technology both as a medium to expand creative possibilities for interaction and as a phenomenon that invites critical discourse about the role of technological change in culture. Students are encouraged to explore diverse subject matters; and to create interactive objects and spaces, installations, and social interventions.

LEARNING OUTCOMES

In addition to required graduate core courses in Design, students interested in this area can pursue courses (including independent and group studies) in data representation, human-computer interaction (HCI), interactive objects, large-scale installations, machine learning, network-based design, public art, UI/UX, wearable technologies, and design for social change. Additionally, students are encouraged to take courses outside the department in Cinema and Digital Media, Computer Science, Engineering, Psychology, and Science and Technology, and participate in industry internships.

Core courses (taken with cohort):

  • Collaborative studio
  • Theories of Design
  • Studio practice & critique (with first- and second-year cohorts)
  • Methodologies and literature review
  • Professional practices and ethics
  • Thesis Exhibition

Conceptual Knowledge Base:

  • Contemporary creative practices using technology                         
  • Experimental approaches to media
  • Audio/visual data mapping and embodiment
  • Interactions with digital and physical objects 
  • Human Computer Interaction
  • History of digital media
  • Design in the public sphere

Practical Skills:

  • 3D fabrication                                        
  • Code-based design
  • Data, social media and creative representation 
  • Physical computing
  • Process documentation and writing
  • Prototyping
  • Scaled models
  • Wearable computing
  • Writing and proposals

Creative Thinking:

  • Articulating concepts                                                    
  • Developing specific research question
  • Formulating experiments
  • Problem-solving

ONGOING PROJECTS OF INTEREST

​SUGGESTED ELECTIVES

Design

  • DES 111, Coding for Designers                                                      
  • DES 112, UI/UX: Principles and Practices
  • DES 117, Interactive Media I
  • DES 157, Interactive Media II
  • DES 166, Human-Centered Design
  • DES 167, Prototyping: From Objects to Systems
  • DES 178, Design and Wearable Technology
  • DES 191B, Interactive Objects

Cinema and Digital Media

  • CDM 072, Introduction to Games
  • CDM 125, Advanced Sound: Performance & Improvisation
  • CDM 135, Object-Oriented Programming for Artists
  • CDM 136, Electronics for Artists
  • CDM 137, Topics in Virtuality
  • CDM 158, Technology & the Modern American Body

Engineering and Computer Science

  • ECS 012, Introduction to Media Computation
  • ECS 32A, Introduction to Programming
  • ECS 162, Web Programming
  • ECS 163, Information Interfaces
  • ECS 170, Artificial Intelligence
  • ECS 189H, Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction

Psychology

  • PSC 012Y, Data Visualization in the Social Sciences
  • PSC 100, Introduction to Cognitive Psychology 
  • PSC 107, Questionnaire & Survey Research Methods
  • PSC 130, Human Learning & Memory
  • PSC 131, Perception

INFRASTRUCTURE

The Department of Design includes a comprehensive series of computer studios, prototyping labs with laser cutters and 3d printers and electronics labs to assist and support graduate research and design studies. See MFA handbook for a list of additional maker spaces on the UC Davis campus belonging to other departments.

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