Syllabus

DESIGN FICTION AND IMAGINARY FUTURES
Spring 2015 Semester
Course Number: 51478/51878
Instructor Name: Aisling Kelliher | Email aislingk@andrew.cmu.edu
Website: http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/aislingk/
TA: Leslie Bloomfield | Email lbloomfi@andrew.cmu.edu
Office Number: MM 202c | Office Hours: Monday, 10.00am – 11.00am by appointment
Classroom: MM107 | Meeting Days and Hours: T Th 1.30pm – 3.20pm
COURSE website: https://cmudesignfiction.wordpress.com/

1. Catalog Description
This praxis-based course will actively engage futures research through the integration of findings from critical readings, ethnographic research, mediated storytelling and hybrid prototyping. Using techniques of inversion, defamiliarization, uncertainty scenarios, everyday practice and good old-fashioned humor, we will create objects, systems and experiences that stimulate conversation, debate and understanding. The course seeks to produce a diversity of “what will?” and “what if?” cultural provocations that deeply examine possible, unwanted and seductive futures.

2. Prerequisites
Graduate students and Senior Design majors, or by permission of the instructor.

3. Learning Objectives
• Gain knowledge of prior and related future-focused work and speculative/critical/fiction design
• Develop understanding in the relevant cultural, aesthetic, theoretical and critical issues
• Practice diverse future focused and design interrogative research methodologies
• Gain practical experience in designing and realizing prototypes, interventions and experiences
• Develop evaluation/critique tools and frameworks

4. Instructional Methods
Classes will involve lectures, discussions, lab sessions, project presentations, critique sessions and occasional guest presentations. Students will participate in and lead in-class and online discussion/presentations.

5. Attendance Policy
Students are expected to attend all classes. In the case of absence, please inform the instructor before the class if possible, and/or after the missed class. Classroom attendance and active participation is 15% of the overall grade.

6. Required Texts
There are no required texts for this class. Digital and photocopied reading/viewing material will be provided by the instructor and available on the class wiki https://cmudesignfiction.wordpress.com/

7. Regular Assignments and Term Projects
There will be 4 graded project assignments during the course as well as a grade for in-class presentations, participation and online documentation.

8. Evaluation
Students will be evaluated on the quality of their active, productive participation in classroom and online discussion. Project assignments will be evaluated for theoretical relevance, creative innovation, conceptual clarity, technical development and design aesthetics. Group projects will additionally be evaluated for evidence of genuine multidisciplinary collaboration and effective team management. Students will receive written feedback and grades on assignments/participation at regular intervals during the semester and standard overall grades at mid-term and at the end of the semester.

9. Grading Policy
Classroom Attendance + Participation (15%)
Online Research + Documentation (15%)
3 Speculative Projects (30%)
1 Final Project (40%)

10. Academic Integrity
This is expected at all times. All necessary and appropriate sanctions will be issued to all parties involved with plagiarizing any and all course work. Plagiarism and any other form of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Please refer to the following link for additional information: http://www.cmu.edu/academic-integrity/plagiarism/index.html

11. Academic Accommodations
To request academic accommodations due to a disability, please review the information available at http://www.cmu.edu/hr/eos/disability/students/index.html. This is an important step as accommodations may be difficult to make retroactively.

12. Final Exam Period
There is no final exam. There will be an end of semester exhibition during the week May 4 – May 8

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