Epic Everyday, MSc project course elective in HCI/Interaction Design, Chalmers IT University, 2003, 5 credits

Epic Everyday was a project course investigating interaction design roles and methods in local public situations. Kiosks, bus drivers, shopping bags mundanities that have potentially epic impacts on the social ecosystem of the city. Focusing away from from generic and global applications and methods, students were asked to: get up close and personal in their neighborhoods and communities; go out and detail rituals, events and formats for social exchange in everyday life; and design an intervention, enhancement or disruption. Methods for prototyping, communicating, testing and iterative design concepts was in focus, with the ethos "go public, install it, own it".

Classes and assignments in the course were sequenced as:
– Investigate: "What is there?" Outcome: tell a story.
– Speculate: "What is the big picture?" Outcome: make a map.
– Intervene: "What do you propose?" Outcome: design/iterate an intervention.
– Install: "How do you prototype the experience?" Outcome: take it public.

The project course was action and concept-driven, with an emphasis on active verbal participation, hands-on involvement 'in the field', iterative idea generation, and methodological inventiveness. The structure of the course was based on one full-day tutorial session a week, in which the morning focused on students presenting and discussing the status of their project and the afternoon was individual or group tutorials. There were three lectures, including those on 'design research process' and 'prototyping methods', a more formal interim critique and a final presentation open to the public. Deliverables were to include a material prototype and/or multimedia presentation (with less emphasis on written, theoretical or scientific documentation). Students were also assessed on their webpage documenting their process, concept, related work and reflections on higher-level interaction issues. Students were evaluated on their ability to apply and invent design methods, to identify and prototype the 'right thing', and to communicate their design concepts and proposals.

Image (above)
Photo from the final presentation by Anna Dahlberg and Anna Götesson

My role
The course was co-taught by Margot Jacobs and myself. We took joint responsibility for the topic, structure, lectures, readings, field trips, tutorials and assessment. It was a 7-week course with enrollment limited to under 10 students, who applied by submitting an expression of interest. The course was taught in conjunction with our research at the Interactive Institute within Public Play Spaces. The HCI/Interaction Design program at the IT University Göteborg was initiated and managed in part by researchers from the Interactive Institute and the Interaction Design Group at Chalmers University of Technology.

More about the course
Course webpage with links to student projects

See also

/ Projects / Public Play Spaces