Design Cultures & Creativity is a 2 year, 16 credit program. There are four DCC specific courses students must take (one each semester) beginning with a broad overview of how technology and society influence one another in the first semester and culminating in a capstone project of the students choosing at the conclusion of the program. Students are also required to take 2 Honors Seminars of their choosing during their 2 years in DCC as well as participate in a variety of workshops, lectures, film screenings, or working groups. Below is a brief overview of the courses.
16 Credits over 2 years:
Fall Semester: HDCC 105
(Fulfills UNIV 100 requirement).
Spring Semester: HDCC 106
(Fulfills Humanities General Education requirement).
Fall Semester: HDCC 208
Spring Semester – HDCC209
(Completion of 208 and 209 fulfills Scholarship in Practice General Education requirement).
Any Semester: 2 Honors Seminars with HONR prefix. (Most of these also fulfill a General Education requirement)
Please note: Below is a sample of past HDCC 106 and HDCC 208 courses offered. While seminar options change yearly, these represent the types of themes and topics covered.
Doomed to Repeat?: History, Literature, Life
Professor: Michelle Butler
How do history, literature, and art interact with ‘real life’? We have sayings (“Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it’, ‘life imitates art’) that suggest answers to such questions. These sayings are adapted from quotations (George Santayana and Oscar Wilde) but have become proverbs, passed around and cited as obvious bits of wisdom. But are these sayings correct? Does knowing history help us change for the better? Does life imitate art more than art imitates life? In this course, as a group we will select a set of case studies through which to dig into these concepts. For example, we might choose to examine how Hamilton draws upon history, but has also influenced contemporary views of its subjects; its popularity is credited with keeping Hamilton on the ten-dollar bill. We might decide to investigate whether/how/how much early science fiction helped create interest in a mission to the moon, and a belief that it was possible. We might choose to read Shakespeare’s Richard III and research whether/how/how much the historical king resembles the dramatic creation. We might look whether fads and fashion come more from what we watch, or what we see our friends do. Because students will participate actively in selecting specific examples through which we will investigate these concepts, they should begin brainstorming ideas for case studies before the semester begins.
Introduction to Time-Based Media
Professor: Krista Caballero
This course takes an arts-based approach toward the theory and practice of time-based media with particular emphasis placed on the moving image. As a class, we will engage interdisciplinary and intermedia approaches of making that consider the passage of and manipulation of time as the essential element in shaping an aesthetic experience. Sound art, performance, and 2D animation will also be discussed as we explore the relationship of image to time, image to sound, and image to body. Alongside individual production we will examine the impact of time-based art on society through course readings, class screenings, and critical discussion. Formal critiques of work will be required for each project.
Users, Technology, and Design
Professor: Evan Golub
This course will look at how techniques and tools from the field of Human-Computer Interaction, one that spans many disciplines (such as Computer Science, Psychology, Information Studies, Journalism, Sociology, Business, and English) can allow teams whose members bring a wide range of background knowledge to work with each other and with “end users” to design and assess new technologies.
In this course, we will have hands-on exercises and project related to the design and assessment of software that would run on some form of existing technology (desktops, tablets, smartphones, VR headsets). A fair amount of our building and assessing will take place with low-fidelity prototypes, built using arts supplies or tools such as photo editors. However, we will also explore several ways that medium-fidelity prototypes can be built using existing tools, with perhaps a little programming mixed in.
More information: http://www.cs.umd.edu/~egolub/HDCC106/summary.shtml
Gender, Race, and Labor in the Digital World
Professor: Alexis Lothian
This class will explore how the power structures of race and gender have been co-created with the development of digital technologies – even as feminist, queer, and antiracist movements have made the digital world their own since its earliest days. Through case studies ranging from social media activism to fake news to online harassment, we will learn how practices of media consumption, design, production, and critique connect privileged and disprivileged users in the US and elsewhere. We’ll look at our own position within global circuits of labor and as participants in the ways race, gender, disability, and class
are represented and experienced online. And we’ll explore what we can do about it as citizens, students, artists, and activists.
Professor: Brandon Morse
This course will be an exercise in learning to use computer code, and math as image-creation media. We will use the programming language Processing to create imagery and interactivity which is more complex than can be done simply by using a point-and-click software methodology. As an example, through the use of code, it is possible to populate the screen with hundreds or thousands of individual images, each of which having the possibility of reacting to each other, or to user input creating systems that become extremely complex with relatively little effort on your part. From this complexity, new forms, sounds, and patterns that were previously unexpected begin to emerge.
Virtual Reality: Hyper-Reality and Relative Consciousness
Professor: Stephan Finch
This course seeks to blur and exploit the lines between consciousness and mechanisms of hyper-reality. The common thread will be some form of narrative, either in the conceptualization or in the approach to design (i.e. imagining a product for a world that does not yet exist or as the foundation and thread of a consumable such as film or an operatic performance. VR/AR, mixed reality, motion capture, enhanced human/computer interface are a few of the tools we will play with in an attempt to disrupt traditional markets (sports. education, architecture, transportation (aviation, autonomous vehicles), medicine, psychology, film, theater, journalism, gaming, to name a few).
Transhuman Worlding: How to Abandon the Earth and Change the World
Professor: Jarah Moesch
The year is 2018. Recent wars and human-made ecological disasters have motivated a successful fund- raising campaign to temporarily send a small group of Millennials off-Earth in order to rethink what it means to be human.
In this trans-disciplinary course, we are those Millennials, and we will be researching, developing, and designing the cultural futures of human space exploration and off-planet world-making. We will use hands-on practices, from sketching and visual media, to electronics, code, and installation art, alongside justice-focused design practices to re-conceive what ‘civilization’ is, and can be.
Human space exploration has used near-Earth space to study Earth itself: weather, navigation, and communications amongst other concerns. Yet space travel and the potential ‘colonization’ of other planets and asteroids should also include understanding the social and physical effects of embedded histories of racism and bias, inequitable distributions of wealth, food and water, and colonization of land and people. Therefore, in this course, we will focus on designing and developing the techno-social aspects of a spaceship, a ‘colony’ on Mars, and new ways of governance in order to create a more just world, here on Earth.