ITCP 70020, Spring 2018
ITP Core 2: Interactive Technology and the University: Theory, Design, and Practice

Course Info: Meets Mondays 4:15-6:15pm (see exceptions below) in room C196.06 (in the basement of the Library) at the Grad Center

Course site: (shortlink


Maura Smale (
Office hours: by appointment (at the GC or City Tech or elsewhere)

Luke Waltzer (
Office hours: by appointment at Graduate Center

Course Description

The second core course serves as the “content course” for the Interactive Technology and Pedagogy certificate. This course makes it possible for participating doctoral and masters students to build on the theoretical insights gleaned in the first core course by beginning to conceive of and develop an interactive technology project within their own disciplines and areas of interest.

This course will survey interactive technology in educational spaces. We will discuss project planning and execution; hypertext and narrative; visualization and design; modes of learning and the structures that impact them within and outside of the classroom; software development and deployment in educational contexts; the conceptualization and production of educational media products; historical and emerging questions about digital literacy and the role of educators in its development; and the labor politics of all of the above. We will employ an interdisciplinary perspective on the application of digital media to classroom teaching and scholarly research and presentations, drawing upon the experiences of the faculty members and all the students in the course.

Labs attached to the course and available throughout the Graduate Center community will also support hands-on introductions to key educational uses of new media applications, including online writing and composition tools, electronic archives, experimentation in virtual spaces, and other approaches. Students will learn skills, concepts, and contexts and then will design and prepare a proposal for a multimedia-based project in their discipline, for their final grade. We will emphasize collaboration and minimal viable product as a means to avoid the scope creep endemic to first-time-makers’ projects. Students will be expected to use labs and other support opportunities at the Graduate Center to gain enough competency in an area of technical expertise such that they can develop a proof of concept in their term project, a proposal for a multimedia-based project.

Course Requirements

All students should be members of the CUNY Academic Commons and users of Twitter (where lurking is acceptable). Remember that when you register for social networking accounts, you do not have to use your full name or even your real name. One benefit of writing publicly under your real name is that you can begin to establish a public academic identity and to network with others in your field. However, keep in mind that search engines have extended the life of online work; if you are not sure that you want your work for this course to be part of your permanently searchable identity trail on the web, you should strongly consider creating an alias. Whether you engage social media under your real name or whether you construct a new online identity, please consider the ways in which social media can affect your career in both positive and negative ways.

We’ll read selections from these blogs throughout the semester, and we strongly recommend that you add them to your regular internet reading routine (via Twitter, RSS, or whatever works best for you). All three address technology in higher education from different perspectives and are useful for teaching and research.

Course Assignments

This semester we will be working on three major assignments, with continuous blogging throughout.

Provocations and responses
We’ll continue the practice established in Core I of having students act as motivators for each class meeting by writing provocations on the blog on the reading/subject of the week, and carrying on a conversation on the blog in advance of class. Since class meets on Mondays, please post your provocations by the end of the day Saturday so that discussion can start Sunday.

Project Abstracts/Short Proposals
Your midterm assignment is to create a project proposal (or two, if you’re still deciding between projects) that has at least two scope variations: one full and one reduced version. Details on the full assignment will be given March 5th and the assignment is due April 5th.

Collaboration and Assignment Design
You will collaboratively craft, with at least one student from another discipline, the scaffold for a final project in an undergraduate course that engages with one or more of the core ideas explored to this point in your ITP experience. We’ll discuss the details for this assignment in class on March 5th, and the assignment plan is due on March 24th.

Final Project Proposal and Proof of Concept
Your final project is to turn in a proposal for a larger project that includes a proof of concept. Your goal is to convince us that your proposal is relevant and productive AND that you can actually pull it off. The details will be discussed on March 19th. You will present your projects at the end of the semester, and the written proposal will be due by May 24th during finals period.

Labs, Workshops, and Support

ITP Lab Schedule

TLC Workshop Schedule

TLC Staff Office Hours

GCDI Workshop Schedule

Digital Fellows Office Hours

Course Schedule

This schedule is a living document, expect it to evolve over the course of the semester.

January 29: Introductions

Assignments for 2/5 in addition to reading

  • Write a blog post with your introductory project ideas (don’t forget to categorize)
  • Email Maura and Luke (at least) 2 dates you’d like to sign up as class motivator by Fri, Feb 2
  • Write a brief bio for posting on the People page of our course site (don’t forget to categorize)
  • Make sure you’re part of the course on the Commons (join on our Group page):

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UNIT ONE: Preparing a Project

February 5: Contexts and Practicalities, and How to Get Things Done

Topics: In this class we will explore ways of thinking through and analyzing a project before it begins, and discuss issues that can arise along the path of the project. Context: Thinking about the What, Where, When, Why and How before you begin a project. The four little B’s (build, buy, borrow, beg). Which one is the right fit for your software project? When starting any media or digital project this is often the first consideration. Do you build it yourself, buy it off the shelf, use free and open source software (borrow) or use some of the free web services out there (beg)? We will also discuss collaboration, scope creep, and minimal viable products.

“Less is more” is both an aesthetic principle of modernism and a functional spec of agile development–as well as a politically-charged phrase when applied to publically-funded activities. Agile development has a long history. It takes its most recent, and quite popular form in Ruby on Rails, 37Signals, and their Getting Real PDF. We will look at what it means to make less.

Class visitors: Inés Vañó García, Achim Koh, Makeba Lavan, Robert Robinson


No Class February 12 (Lincoln’s Birthday) OR February 19 (President’s Day)

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TUESDAY February 20: Preliminary Project Planning

Topics: Taking advantage of the early semester 1+ week break, we’ll aim to do some initial thinking/writing about your proposed projects and discuss them in class. Specifics of this assignment will be posted ahead of the February 5th class.


UNIT TWO: Digital Pedagogy

February 26: Teaching, Learning, Technology

Topics: This session will explore the evolving roles of technology in teaching and learning. What pedagogical opportunities does the integration of technology into the classroom make possible? What challenges does technology create for the student, the instructor, the institution? How do we understand the politics of educational technology that is both a field of inquiry and an industry? How do we locate our own values within all of this?


Motivators: Jenna, Jing

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March 5: Creating Successful and Accessible Assignments

Topics: Crafting purposeful assignments is one of the biggest and most persistent challenges faced by faculty, and college classrooms are rife with prompts that confuse students rather than enlighten to them to the expectations of an assignment. In this session we’ll explore what makes an assignment effective, discuss how technology fits into the process, and translate these principles to our own disciplines and contexts.


Suggested: Student Project Examples

Motivator: Kahdeidra

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March 12: Hybrid/Online Learning, Connectivism, and the University I

Topics: Over the past two decades universities have pursued a range of strategies to support online and blended learning. These strategies implicate interests and conflicts that go beyond the pedagogical affordances of a particular technology or approach. In this session we’ll explore some of these strategies and trace their implications.


Motivators: Christina, Filipa

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March 19: Hybrid/Online Learning, Connectivism, and the University II

Topics: Most conversations about technology and education concern how to use computers in the classroom. And while software and connectivity may enhance many courses when used appropriately, their deeper value may be in the example they provide of how different technologies influence labor, learning, interaction, and thought. What are the biases of the technologies we are using, and how can we interrogate those biases from within the environment they have created?


Motivator: Carolyn

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March 26: Open Access, Open Educational Resources (future of the textbook), and Images

Topics: Debates access to and use of information — text, images, video, etc. — have always been important in higher education. Where do these debates stand now, and how are they manifest in different academic spaces?

Collaborative assignment design due today


Motivator: Natacha

March 30-April 8: Spring Break

Midterm assignment due April 5th (posted on our course site)

April 9: Mid-semester Projects Discussion

Project Abstracts/Short Proposals Due.

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UNIT THREE: Digital Literacy and Ethics

April 16: Digital Literacy: Writing and Reading the Internet

Topics: “a self-aware attention to the current conditions of the internet … [is critical]. A very serious project of digital media literacy is critical for our democracy, and is a crucial place where scholars and our students, regardless of our fields, can make pivotal contributions. As citizens, we need to understand how the internet works—technologically, financially, legally, socially. We scholars and educators need to teach and learn how to better read digital media, to understand who makes it, owns it, and circulates it.” — Alex Juhasz, “Four Hard Truths about Fake News.” Digital storytelling and feminist wikistorming are two, large-scale, multi-sited digital literacy projects that educate to better make and read internet media.


Motivator: Kyueun, Zohra

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April 23: Digital Ethics: Privacy, Transparency, and Other Concerns

Topics: As digital technologies and the internet continue to develop and change our lives inside and outside of the classroom, conversations about approaches to research and teaching now necessarily include digital ethics. We will discuss access to digital technologies and support in using them, the implications of corporate development of digital technologies and the internet, and privacy and data transparency considerations for ourselves and our students.


Motivator: Jonathan

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UNIT FOUR: Making in the Academy

April 30: Making, Play, and Physical Computing in the Classroom

Topics: What opportunities do play and making open up in the classroom? We’ll explore how to harness consumer technology for a range of pedagogical purposes, and also think through the political implications of doing so.


Motivator: Zachary

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May 7: Failure

Topics: All successful digital projects have moved through moments of failure and frustration. Such experiences are common in the classroom as well. In this session we’ll explore how to anticipate failure and how to lower its costs.


Motivator: Lauren

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May 14: Student Presentations

Filipa, Jenna/Lauren, Jonathan, Kyueun, Natacha

May 21: Student Presentations

Carolyn, Christina, Jing, Kahdeidra, Zach

May 24: Final Proposal Due