Spring 2014

LMC 6650: Designing Community Engagement

Office: TSRB 316A
Office Hours: Fridays 11AM–1PM, or by appointment
Email: ledantec@gatech.edu

Class Meetings: Tuesday/Thursday, 3:05–4:25PM
Location: TSRB 323

Course Description

This project studio will explore the design of interactive experiences for different forms of civic engagement in close collaboration with a community partner. We will design and develop new features for an existing system that explores data as rhetoric and articulates community identity through the use of interactive maps, data-driven visualizations, and mobile computing. 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.

M.S. Objectives

Primary Objectives
• Demonstrate knowledge, comprehension, and application of the tools and formal design elements of digital media design.

Secondary Objectives
Ability to explain, give examples of, and defend one’s use of formal digital media design terminology

• Can design and create digital artifacts that create the experience of agency for the interactor.
• Can communicate, coordinate, and work productively as a team member.

• Demonstrate use of digital media to create prototypes
• Demonstrate good time management skills
• Demonstrate ability to set realistic goals

Ph.D. Objectives

Primary Objectives
• Students can identify, analyze, and effectively write about a domain within the field digital media and identify areas for original contribution as well as methods to pursue these contributions.
• Students can formulate original interpretations and design original prototypes that reflect an understanding of the humanistic context of digital media.

Secondary Objectives
• Apply theoretical concepts to specific digital media works

• Identify and define a suitable research problem in digital media design and apply appropriate disciplinary or interdisciplinary research methods to address it.
• Demonstrate ability to conduct original research in support of designing new genres and forms of digital media


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

Participation 20%
Design Project or Paper 60%
Written Assignments 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 in partnership with the Historic Westside Cultural Arts Council. You will have a number of specific dates and deliverables throughout the semester:

HWCAC Introduction (Week 2)
You will meet with members of the HWCAC to become familiar with their mission and discuss and co-develop goals for the semester.

HWCAC Review Content (Week 4)
You will meet with members of HWCAC to discuss and co-develop the content for the prototype. You will need to present the prototype from the fall to our community partners and discuss ways of refining it for the Black History Month celebration.

Black History Month Celebration Deployment (Week 6)
You will be iterating on a prototype created in the fall that presents video clips of neighborhood residents talking about local issues. You will need to add features to the prototype and develop an installation for it to be presented and deployed at the Black History Month Celebration – a day-long event on February 16th. Attendance at the event is mandatory.

Deployment Debrief (Week 8)
You will meet with members of HWCAC to de-brief the deployment and develop plans for next steps. These may include iterating on the technology, developing plans for future deployments, or a combination of the two.

HWCAC Site Visit (Week 11)
Additional site visit with members of HWCAC. March 23rd they are hosting a walking tour of English Avenue and Vine City, we will develop a plan for being involved in this event.

Final Presentation (Week 16)
You will present the final project artifact and deployment evaluation to members of HWCAC.

Research Paper

Ph.D. students will participate in the design project and will additionally need to write a 10-page research paper (in the CHI format). More details about the research paper will be discussed in class.

Writing Assignments

You will write responses to the readings throughout the semester. Each written response will develop an argument about the readings – you may choose to focus on one article or connect several (including from previous weeks) – but the key here is that you are developing an argument about the topic and not simply reporting on the content.

The written assignments are worth 20% of your grade, and to keep things simple, I use a straight point system: you need 20 points total to get maximum credit on the written assignments. Each assignent should be 500–1000 words and is worth a maximum of 3 points. There are 11 weeks of seminar, each is eligible for a written assignment, so you have ample opportunity to earn the 20 points.

Course Schedule

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

Week 1

January 7

Introduction to the studio and first day administrivia.

January 9


TOM_SLEE, Seeing Like a Geek

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

Week 2

January 14


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

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

McMillan, D. W., & Chavis, D. M. (1986). Sense of community: A definition and theory. Journal of Community ….

Site visit; HWCAC introduction

January 16


Week 3

January 21


Bennett, W. L., & Segerberg, A. (2012). The Logic of Connective Action. Information, Communication & Society, 15(5), 739–768.

Downey, J., & Fenton, N. (2003). New Media, Counter Publicity and the Public Sphere. New Media & Society, 5(2), 185–202.

Fraser, N. (1993). Rethinking the Publics Sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy. In Habermas and the Public Sphere (pp. 109–142). The MIT Press.

Zuckerman, Ethan. (2008.) Cute Cat Theory of Digital Activism.

Habermas, Jürgen. 1964 The Public Sphere: An Encyclopedia Article.

January 23


Week 4

January 28


Friedman, B., & Kahn, P. H., Jr. (2003). Human Values, Ethics, and Design. In The human-computer interaction handbook: fundamentals, evolving technologies and emerging applications (pp. 1177–1201). Mahwah, NJ, USA: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Knobel, C. and Bowker, G.C. Values in design. Commun. ACM. 54, 7 (2011), 26–28.

Winner, L. (1986). Do Artifacts Have Politics. The whale and the reactor: a search for limits in an age of high technology. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 19‐39.

Joerges, B. (1999). Do Politics Have Artifacts? Social Studies of Science, 29(3), 411–431.

Site visit; review video categories/content

January 30


Week 5

February 4


Larsen, L., Harlan, S.L., Bolin, B., Hackett, E.J., Hope, D., Kirby, A., Nelson, A., Rex, T.R. and Wolf, S. 2012. Bonding and Bridging: Understanding the Relationship between Social Capital and Civic Action. Journal of Planning Education and Research. 24, 1 (Sep. 2012), 64–77.

Mandarano, L., Meenar, M. and Steins, C. 2010. Building Social Capital in the Digital Age of Civic Engagement. Journal of Planning Literature. 25, 2 (Nov. 2010), 123–135.

Quick, K.S. and Feldman, M.S. 2011. Distinguishing Participation and Inclusion. Journal of Planning Education and Research. 31, 3 (Sep. 2011), 271–290.

Begin Interactive Prototype

February 6


Week 6

February 11


Finalize system for Black History Month 2/16

February 13


Finalize system for Black History Month 2/16

Week 7

February 18


Lelieveldt, H. 2004. Helping Citizens Help Themselves Neighborhood Improvement Programs and the Impact of Social Networks, Trust, and Norms on Neighborhood-Oriented Forms of Participation. Urban Affairs Review. 39, 5 (May. 2004), 531–551.

Lievrouw, L.A. Oppositional and Activist New Media: Remediation, Reconfiguration, Participation. In PDC ’06: Proceedings of the ninth conference on Participatory design. ACM, (2006), 115–124.

February 20


Deployment de-brief

Week 8

February 25


Carroll, J. (2004). Completing Design in Use: Closing the Appropriation Cycle. Presented at the Proceedings of the 12th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS 2004), Turku, Finland.

Selwyn, N. (2003). Apart from Technology: Understanding People's Non-Use of Information and Communication Technologies in Everyday Life. Technology in Society, 25(1), 99–116.

Sengers, P., Boehner, K., David, S., & Kaye, J. ‘. (2005). Reflective Design (pp. 49–58). Presented at the CC ’05: Proceedings of the 4th Decennial Conference on Critical Computing, New York, NY, USA: ACM.

Site visit; deployment debrief

February 27


Week 9

March 4

Conference Travel

No class

March 6

Conference Travel

No class

Week 10

March 11


Marsden, G., Maunder, A., & Parker, M. (2008). People Are People, but Technology is Not Technology. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 366, 3795–3804.

Toyama, K. (2011). Technology as amplifier in international development (pp. 75–82). Presented at the Proceedings of the 2011 iConference, New York, NY, USA: ACM.

Cohen, K. R. (2005). Who We Talk About When We Talk About Users (pp. 9–30). Presented at the EPIC ’05: Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference Proceedings, Blackwell Publishing.

Taylor, A. S. (2011). Out there (pp. 685–694). Presented at the Proceedings of the 2011 annual conference on Human factors in computing systems, New York, NY, USA: ACM.

March 13


Week 11

March 18

Spring Break

No class

March 20

Spring Break

No class

Week 12

March 25


Shirky, C. 2008. “Collective Action and Institutional Challenges,” pp. 143‐160 in Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations. New York: Penguin.

Benkler, Y. 2006, The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom, New Haven: Yale University Press, pp 1‐34.

Morozov, E. (2011). Why Kierkegaard Hates Slacktivism. In The net delusion : the dark side of internet freedom (1st ed.). New York: Public Affairs. Pp.179‐204

March 27


Week 13

April 1


Latour, B. Technology is society made durable. In A Sociology of monsters: Essays on power, technology, and domination, pages 103–131. Routledge, 1991.

Star, S. L. Power, technologies and the phenomenology of conventions: On being allergic to onions. In J. Law, editor, A Sociology of monsters: Essays on power, technology, and domination, number 0, pages 26–55. Routledge, 1991.

April 3


Week 14

April 8


Williams, A., Robles, E. and Dourish, P. 2009. Urbane-ing the City: Examinig and Refining the Assumptions Behind Urban Informatics. Handbook of Research on Urban Informatics. M. Foth, ed. Information Science Reference. 1–20.

Brewer, J. and Dourish, P. Storied spaces: Cultural accounts of mobility, technology, and environmental knowing. Int. J. Hum.-Comput. Stud., 66(12):963–976, 2008.

Björgvinsson, E., Ehn, P., & Hillgren, P.-A. (2010). Participatory design and “democratizing innovation” (pp. 41–50). Presented at the PDC ’10: Proceedings of the 11th Biennial Participatory Design Conference, New York, NY, USA: ACM.

April 10


Demo day critique

Week 15

April 15


Demo day prep. 4/16

April 17


Week 16

April 22

Final Presentations

Final presentation to HWCAC

April 23

Final Presentations

Final presentation to HWCAC

Information for Students with Disabilities

Please notify the instructor if you have any disabilities with which you need special assistance or consideration. The campus disability assistance program can be contacted through ADAPTS.

Honor Code Statement

Students are expected to adhere to the Georgia Tech Honor Code.