Pecha Kucha

One week you will collaborate with a classmate to share or give something to the rest of the class. Each group will follow the "Pecha Kucha" presentation format 20 slides shown for exactly 20 seconds each. Presentations will be given at the beginning of each class. You must email me by the Tuesday night before your presentation with a zipped folder of your 20 slides according to the following convention:

format: 20 jpg images (1024 x 768 pixels, landscape orientation)
naming: your initials followed by consecutive numbers, i.e. ms-01.jpg, ms-02.jpg, ms-03.jpg

Please follow this format - if you don't your images will appear in the wrong order and affect your presentation. And please PRACTICE your presentation in advance to make sure your slides are named correctly.

presentation: each group shows 20 images. You have 20 seconds to show each image. You have no control over this. It will be programmed on a computer, so you should be fast and we recommend you practice your presentation. Members of each group should speak equally.

What should you present? The key to a great presentation is to present something you love - a creative project, your prized collection, how to make something…this is an opportunity to share something you enjoy greatly or feel passionate about. Here are some sites to refer to:

Inquiry Blog

  • due: February 9 - blog brainstorm
  • due: February 16 - blog creation, "hello, world" post, and 1st blog post
  • due: 1 reflection or "digest" post weekly until April 20th (10 posts total + hello world) - these weekly posts should be 250-300 words in length (or longer) - use this tool to get a word count. You can "tumbl" (aka research) as regularly as you want. I'd suggest trying to post 1 item a day (you can schedule or "queue" these in advance). Regular posting helps to build your audience.

Your Public/Private Self

DUE: 3-4 page essay
This essay should grow out of your experiences in Second Life and the social bookmarking website

  1. Take a snapshot of your SL avatar and attach it to this assignment.
  2. Describe the appearance of your avatar in Second Life in depth.
    • does your avatar resemble you?
    • do you change your appearance frequently or do you have one standard appearance?
    • what motivated any changes your made?
    • did you ask others for feedback on "how you look"?
    • have you spent any money on your appearance? How much? On what?
    • do you like how you look in Second Life?
    • are there changes you'd like to make but can't due to lack of funds, skills, etc?
  3. Conduct interviews with 2 other people in Second Life (who are not in our class).
    • be sure to inform them that you are doing research for a class and that nothing they tell you will be posted publicly to the Internet.
    • ask your subjects questions about their own appearance
    • what motivates the way they look (certain gestures, purposefully androgynous, dressed as an animal or object)?
    • summarize each subject's comments
    • reflect on the role/meaning of appearance in Second Life. How does the way people form identities in this environment differ/align with Real Life. What were your expectations and how did they measure up to your actual experiences?
  4. Finally, compare and contrast the experience of constructing your new alter egos - your new visual + virtual Second Life self/avatar and your new metadata self. Specifically address how your notion of privacy is different with these identities than in Real Life (RL).

Social Graph

DUE: write and draw

  1. write: How do people display social networks in everyday life (that is, not online)? Give 2 concrete, specific examples. Why do they do this? What are the costs of making this display? The benefits? Does honesty play in?

  2. write: Explore two different social networking sites [LinkedIn, Ning, MeetUp, SoundCloud, Orkut, Tribe, Ryze and others…]. One must be LinkedIn and the other is up to you but CANNOT be Facebook. Here is a very big list. What different aspects of your personality/identity can be expressed in these sites? How does the design of these sites facilitate networking? How does this sort of display compare to traditional means of displaying social connectedness. What are the advantages and disadvantages? Are signals of friendship here reliable? Why or why not?

  3. draw: a diagram of your social network (family, friends, acquaintances) using nodes and links. Aim to have between 30 and 60 people in your network - the more complete the better. Show connections among those people whom you know know each other. As you draw the diagram, think about where you are placing people - how have you grouped them, what meaning, if any, are you giving to adjacency or top/bottom? Try to identify brokers in your social network.

  • Think about how you can draw connecting lines: they can be thicker, thinner, longer, shorted. They can be solid or dashed, dark or light, wavy, curved, straight or angular. Consider the challenge of showing people who are physically distant but personally close.
  • Think about the groups/relationships in which people participate in your network. They might range from tight knit groups like families, to loosely focused groups like a college dorm. How can you use color, shape, size to represent these different types of groupings?
  • The final result can be turned in as a digital file (photoshop, illustrator, flash) or on a physical sheet of paper. You might consider including a legend or codex for your diagram.

Collective Intelligence

DUE: 4-5 page comparative essay

Compare and contrast your experience of writing an individual blog to that of co-authoring a wiki. Your essay should draw from class readings. Try to look critically at the output of both endeavors.

Some similarities and differences you might consider:

  • type of content generated
  • quality of the content
  • structure of the resulting document
  • freedom of expression
  • accountability
  • strengths and limitations of each
  • accessibility
  • interactivity, participation

Final Project

The Networked Public Sphere is being designed as we speak. How this occurs will govern what you can do, what you can see, what you look like and who can gain access to what. It is our responsibility to participate in envisioning this future.

Imagine: your team has been offered 10 gazillion dollars of venture capital and a crack team of engineers and computer programmers who can make anything you design. You have 15 minutes to convince the funders that they should pick your project.

The Challenge: design either a new web service, app, or personal display (handheld or wearable device) that augments/enhances social interactivity.

Deliverables: Project Proposal (2-3 pages ) & Presentation (15 minutes)

Teams: work in groups of 3-4


  • What are you making, what does it do?
  • Who are you making it for - who is your audience?
  • What kind of identity information is emitted?
  • Is the display/service public, private, both?
  • How does it interact with other users - proximity, affinities?
  • What problem does it set out to address?
  • What are some related products/services - how does yours differ?

Project Proposal (2-3 pages)

Project Name: consider a neologism.

Background: How did the idea for this project come about? What is the problem it is trying to solve? Why does it need to exist? Who will use it?

Specifically address:

  • Scope - What are you developing? What does the web service or app do? What does it NOT do?
  • Audiences - Who are the major types of users you want the software to serve?
  • Objectives - What goals should the software help your users meet?

Competitive Analysis: - Assess current alternatives/options. What are their strengths and weaknesses? How does your idea fit into the current landscape? You should case study at least 2 other products or services in this section.


What is the look and feel for this project? How can specific design decisions make this service/app appealing and usable to your target audience?

Architectural Strategy
What is a suitable platform for your project? What kinds of existing technologies can you leverage (open-source code, hardware)? What kinds of new software/hardware needs to be developed to realize your project?

Social Strategy
Sharing and participatory culture are essential concepts for this course. What concepts of sharing, cooperation, crowdsourcing, open-source, gift economies, the commons, etc can you incorporate into your service. How does this differentiate your service from its competitors.

Project Presentation

A 10-15 minute presentation in the form of Power Point or a webpage/blog/tumblr. Please turn in either a copy burned to CD or a URL.

The presentation should incorporate the following:

  1. A synopsis of your project proposal (include project name and answers to the above question)
  2. 2 Use cases* or scenarios that demonstrate typical user experiences.
  3. Visual designs - at least 4 visualizations that depict what the service/device/interface looks like and how it would be used. (These can be incorporated into your use cases.)

!!! your device/service does not have to work - but you need to explain how it would work.

* notes on use cases:

A use case is a description of how users will perform tasks with your software or app. Who can do what?

A use case includes two main parts:

  • the steps a user will take to accomplish a particular task
  • the way the software should respond to a user's actions

Each use case captures:

  • The actor - Who is using the software? What specific characteristics does this user have?
  • The goal - What is the user's goal?
  • The interaction - What can the user do? How does the software respond?

You should present at least two use cases for your project.