Our course will be structured around designing and building gifts. Whether for a friend, yourself, or your colleague, we use the framing of gift not to constrain the space of projects you might do (We will suport you in whatever investigations grab your heart and mind!) but instead as a means of consciously returning to the act of empathy that’s at the core of good design. This involves articulating whom the audience for your project is, what will satisfy them, what you want them to feel, how they’ll use your project, and so on. To us, gifts are among the most charming realizations of that impulse.

A semester might not seem like a very long time when you want to build something, especially if you don't have much experience using these tools and technologies. It's possible, but it requires that you deeply immerse yourself in the processes of design and development over the four months. In order to come out of this course with something you're truly excited about and proud of, we think you will need to do a few things:

  1. brainstorm and publish project inspirations, ideas, and refinements on your Github pages site every week
  2. write code–for your own project, as extensions to class projects, or as exercises–and push it to Github every week
  3. set–and meet–monthly milestones based on your own goals for the course (with our support, if that would be helpful)

To describe in a bit more detail the textures of time and work that will make up your experience in the course...

Exercises & sample projects

During the first couple months of the course, we will provide exercises, prompts, sample projects, and suggested extensions and riffs on those projects to help you dig into the tools of coding. These materials are meant to help expose you to what is possible with the tools we are using, to act as inspiring examples of digital and physical work in this domain, and ultimately to help you transition your time from responding to our prompts towards working on personal projects.

Studio sessions & asking for help

While we want this course to be "hard" and "intense," we don't want it to be frustrating or overwhelming. Part of the reason we teach this course as a team, in addition to enjoying each other's company, is that we want to be in a position to provide everyone in the course with the support they need. Whether you're having trouble brainstorming project ideas, getting your coding environment set up, having a particular technical challenge, or just feeling overwhelmed by everything and nothing in particular, please:

  1. come to our Saturday morning studio sessions from 9AM-1PM at Clover in Harvard Square
  2. join us after any class session at Felipe's where we will be available to continue conversations and answer questions after we are kicked out of the Brattle Street space at 10PM
  3. email us with any questions, big or small
  4. schedule one-on-one time to meet and/or work with us

We will make ourselves as available to you as we can.

Personal projects

One of the most common complaints by participants in past sessions of this course is that they wish they'd begun working in earnest on their personal projects earlier. In January, May seems like a long ways off, but it will come soon enough. We strongly encourage everyone in the course to veer from the curricular path we are providing during classtime as soon as they would like, focusing their time in- and out-of-class on developing personal projects.

These projects will look drastically different from participant to participant. They will involve different levels of complexity in terms of coding, aethetics, and finish. They will involve different technologies altogether. Some people will build a single, final project while others will make a collection of smaller pieces. Get in touch with us early about your thoughts for your own projects. We are happy to lend a hand at any phase: brainstorming, scoping, designing, implementing, etc.