Making Things Interactive

April 30, 2008

Final Writing Assignment: Class Critique

Filed under: Assignments,Cat Adams,Final Writing Assignment — catadams @ 10:54 pm

In attempting to come up with ways to improve the class, I have yet to decide if it should be changed or left the way it is. Foremost in my mind is the loose structure. We are taught some basic coding skills and given some fundamental assignments and then left to our own devices. While some would say this lack of structure provides no basis for learning, I believe this unique environment has allowed for maximum exploration and project development. Of course, this means the students must be motivated.

I disagree with anyone who says there should be a programming prerequisite to this course. The resources are available, be it the professors, other students or the internet. I found that between those three resources, I was able to solve the problems I encountered and learn new skills.

Still, there are a few things I would add. I would require students to find more outside projects to share with the class. This is not to say that I feel the projects we did were limited by any means, but an extra push to get us to find out more about the interactive world could only be a benefit.

I wish there had been other scheduled help time during the week. Near the end of the semester Mark invited us to come to the Code Lab a few times, but I would have liked more regular after-hours help sessions.

One of the most successful things in the course was the appearance of guest lecturers. I thoroughly enjoyed them, especially knowing they were right here at CMU. I hope they present again for subsequent classes.

As an addition to the course, it might be interesting to replace the mid-semester project with a group project, or create a second class for doing group projects. It might also be more feasible that way to use some of the technology available at CMU, such as laser cutters and 3d printers. I also believe the projects created could be even more interesting and amazing than the ones we saw this semester.

Overall the course was a very successful one. While, at its core, it should not be changed, a few additions could easily make it one of the most desirable and popular architecture electives.

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