Dr. Rieder is teaching ENG/COM 395 this spring, and the focus is on developing original touch-based, interactive digital projects with Processing, Arduino, and the MPR121 capacitive touch sensor.
Touch interfaces will be created using Bare Conductive’s conductive paint, which can be applied to most any surface, including skin (you can make a body into an interactive touch interface).
Dr. Rieder is going to offer a directed research associated with it. You’d sit in on 395 and then meet with him once a week to work through readings in digital rhetoric and physical computing as well as to work on 2 original projects. It’s a chance to learn 1 or 2 programming languages (Processing and Wiring), to design simple circuits, and how to explore the possibilities of digital rhetoric in the new era of ‘physical computing.’
There’s room for maybe 3-4 to sit in.
– The directed research will count toward the digital humanities certificate, and it might count as a methods course; more information on that later.
Here’s a description of the course that was sent to the undergrad students at the beginning of the semester:
We are going to do something a little different from the usual ‘readings course’ in which you analyze and then write papers about rhetorically-engaging events and issues. The reason is that, in today’s digital interactive era, if most of what you do is write papers, then you are missing out on a broader range of rhetorical engagements with the public. As you’ll hear me explain on the first day, it’s incumbent on you to have a broader range of methods than those associated with print-based communication, if you want to be persuasive
With that opening in mind, our fall semester will be structured like a series of workshops in which we learn how to be rhetoricians for the new digital era of touch-based, interactive media. If you think about the number of times each day that you swipe, press, or touch an interactive surface, it is hard to ignore the role that they play in our everyday lives — and for rhetoricians, it’s silly to ignore the opportunity that they represent, to engage with the public in creative and compelling/persuasive ways. In our class, you will be learning how to code, design (draw and paint) original touch interfaces, and collaborate on the creation of original, rhetorically-engaging, interactive multimedia projects.
This course is designed for a total beginner. Hands-on tutorials will walk you through everything you need to learn. You DO NOT need to know anything when you begin the course in order to be successful and earn an A. If you aren’t a total beginner, the collaborative nature of the class means that you’ll be able to apply your expertise to the projects on which you work — and add to what you know.
Here’s a Ted talk that offers some context for some of what we’ll be engaging with: