Fall 2013

LMC 6650: Civic Media, Community Engagement, Design

Office: TSRB 316A
Office Hours: Friday 11AM–1PM and by appointment.
Email: ledantec@gatech.edu

Class Meetings: Tuesday, 1:35PM–2:55PM
Location: TSRB 323

Course Description

This project studio will explore the design of interactive experiences for different forms of civic engagement. We will develop new systems that explore data as rhetoric and articulate community identity through the use of interactive maps, data-driven visualizations, mobile systems, and bespoke devices/services for recording and sharing content. This studio will focus on developing participatory design practices and will include substantial opportunities to work community partners to scope, co-develop, and test design ideas and working interfaces.

Students from any discipline are welcome to enroll.

Course Objectives

This project studio will further your exposure to design research and practice. We will conduct a wide ranging review of literature in design research, human-computer interaction, and science and technology studies. We will examine existing products and systems in order to inform our exploration of civic and community engagement. This studio will provide a venue for exploring the cultural, social, and ethical implications of design and civic media through the lens of community-driven, real-world projects.


The total grade for the class will be based upon the following factors and weights:

Design Project: 60%
Final Presentations: 20%

Participation & Attendance

Studio attendance and participation is mandatory. Participation in discussion is imperative because it allows you to explore the readings and themes collaboratively, and in the process, discover meanings and issues that you probably would not discover on your own. Participation in class also challenges you to continuously question, refine, and articulate your own ideas and interpretations.

Missing more than 2 classes will result in a loss of 1 letter grade.

Readings & Texts

There are no required texts for this course, all readings will either be accessible via T-Square or online.

Design Project

The design project will be a group endeavor where you will be developing an interactive system for one of two ‘clients.’ The first client is the Historic Westside Cultural Arts Council, located in the English Avenue neighborhood and serving the broader Historic Westside. The second client is Atlanta cyclists (and the City of Atlanta to a degree). More details about each client will be provided in class and additional details will materialize through direct interactions with members of each respective community.

The structure for the semester will be the same for both clients, with some variation to accomodate critical-path deliverables:

Part 1: Literature Review and Project Scope
As a group you will conduct a literature and system review to better understand the technical and theoretical landscape of the project. Some of these readings will be provided by me, but the majority will need to be researched by each group. Each group will also provide a plan for the semester to include their fieldwork plan and a schedule for prototype and system development.

Deliverable: Written literature review (3500-5000 words) and project plan.

Part 2: Fieldwork and Prototyping
The second part of the design project will focus on conducting fieldwork (interviews, workshops, and other forms of working directly with community partners) and on developing prototypes. Design work conducted during this time must be in partnership with community members and structured in a way that focuses on the ‘participatory’ of participatory design. Studio time will be given to helping develop and plan fieldwork activities and to understanding the outcomes and implications of those activities.

Early design prototypes will also be developed during this time. These are expected to be early prototypes with a focus on articulating the social and technical interactions that respond to insights gained from the fieldwork.

Deliverable: Written analysis/reflections of fieldwork and design prototypes

Part 3: System Deployment
The final part of the project is dedicated to delivering a working system to the client. Studio time will be dedicated to development and critique as the systems are finalized.

Deliverable: Working and deployable systems/websites/artifacts.

Final Presentations

The last two classes will be dedicated to final presentations where each group will present the work done during the semester, including the final version of your designed system/artifact. You are expected to produce a poster that will be presented at the end-of-term demo day along with a slide presentation and/or system demo.

Course Schedule

What follows is an outline for the course. As the course progresses, we may adjust dates and materials; however, unless specifically stated in class, you should assume this schedule is current and accurate.

Week 1

August 20

First day of class, introduction to the project studio.


Week 2

August 27


Carroll, J.M. Dimensions of Participation in Simon’s Design. Design Issues. 22, 2 (2006), pp. 3–18.

Ehn, P. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall–¦ – the Cartesian Approach and Beyond. Work-Oriented Design of Computer Artifacts. Arbetslivscentrum, 1989, 46–62.

Hayes, G.R. The Relationship of Action Research to Human-Computer Interaction. ACM Trans. Comput.-Hum. Interact. 18, 3 (2011).

Week 3

September 3


Carroll, J.M. Community computing as human-computer interaction. Behaviour & Information Technology. 20, (2001), 307–314.

Rogers, Y. and Marsden, G. Does he take sugar?: moving beyond the rhetoric of compassion. interactions. 20, 4 (2013), 48–57.

TOM_SLEE, Seeing Like a Geek. http://crookedtimber.org/2012/06/25/seeing-like-a-geek/

As a group, find 3-4 articles to be read and discussed for the following week.

Week 4

September 10


From group work.

As a group, find 3-4 articles to be read and discussed for the following week.

Week 5

September 17


From group work.

Week 6

September 24

Conference travel, no class


Literature Review + Project Plan

Week 7

October 1

Studio/Fieldwork Planning


Week 8

October 8

Studio/Fieldwork Planning


Week 9

October 15

Fall break; no Studio.


Week 10

October 22

Studio/Prototype Critique


Week 11

October 29

Studio/Prototype Critique


Fieldwork analysis + Prototypes

Week 12

November 5



Week 13

November 12



Week 14

November 19

Poster critique.


Week 15

November 26

Thanksgiving; no class.


Week 16

December 2

Final presentations.

Final project materials due.