Screenshot of the conference website.

This semester’s AIGA education conference, Social Studies Conference: Educating Designers in a Connected World , will be held at the MICA campus from Friday, October 17 through Sunday, October 19 of 2008.

A few days ago I was notified that my original abstract was accepted into the conference. This is my final revised abstract.

Understanding Interaction through People, Settings, and Scenarios

At NC State, the Professional Bachelors of Graphic Design prepares students to understand design from a systems perspective. Among courses that address the issue, three are dedicated to imaging. Last Spring, when co-teaching a three-credit sophomore class —Imaging II: Settings and People (Leading to Activity Scenarios)— with Santiago Piedrafita (faculty member), students were introduced to interaction and time-based media through three key ideas: settings, people and scenarios. Each was addressed through a particular investigation: a “site survey (settings);” a “subject study (people);” and an “activity map (scenarios).”

For the site survey investigation, students were asked to build annotated panoramas through layering techniques, documenting and commenting on a particular location of their daily commute. To visualize the importance of people within a system, students collected ethnographic data of other school members, which they then reinterpreted into one-minute biographical video clips and oversized broadsheets. The semester concluded with an understanding of scenarios, exploring how myriad interfaces found on various mobile platforms shape and affect interactions (scenarios) between users (people) and their environment (setting). This investigation was carried out through hand-made rapid-paper-prototypes, later modeled into stop-animation video clips.

Throughout the semester, concepts were introduced through observation and interpretative methods like annotated tableaus, visual essays, authored journals, video interviews, collaborative ideation techniques, activity maps, paper-prototyping, and stop-animation photography. These “image-making” strategies helped students visualize and actualize key aspects (and phases) of diverse design problems (project-definition-driven, project-building, project-making), understanding issues they will come to terms with when undergoing interactive and time-based media work.

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