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BA Curriculum - Overview

The BA Interaction Design Curriculum is structured around design practice, reflective theory and interactive technology.

Our educational approach is hands-on and learning by doing. We apply this when working with people, objects, screens, spaces or theories.

The goal of the first year is to learn interaction design basics, to practically explore different media through experimentation and to learn ways of approaching users and context through design methods such as participatory design. The second year allows students to dive into embodied interaction where objects and environments are designed. Second and third year are project-based with Design Studios with topics such as spatial interaction and service design. In Design Studios, we apply knowledge from basic design, theory and technology to design inquiry, ideation, prototyping, evaluation, iteration and presentation. Theoretical courses run throughout the whole curriculum and focus on understanding media in everyday life and the social impact of designer's work. Technology courses provide students with knowledge in programming, electronics, physical computing, sound technology, video prototyping and digital fabrication.

1. Semester: Interaction Basics

Object / Experience
Working with simple materials such as foam and paper, students learn to experiment with sensory effects of three-
dimensional forms. Approaches from product design, such as technical drawing, are combined with approaches from interaction design such as design of affordances and multisensory experiences.

Graphic Design
The explorations in two-dimensional space introduce students to designing signs and typography.

Audiovisual Design
The use of sound and video in interaction design is applied to create future scenarios and present interactive experiences.

Digital Fabrication
This course covers the various computer aided methods and tools for creating physical, 3-dimensional forms. Through fabrication methods such as CNC and 3D printing, students learn both practical skills for developing physical prototypes and critical thinking about materiality, fabrication and design processes.

Programing Basics
Students are introduced to programming in the open-source Processing software. This course is combined with the graphic design basics course to explore parametric and generative design principles.

Theory I: Interactivity
This course introduces different approaches to interaction design, from traditional HCI perspective, to ethnographically-inspired design, system thinking approach to societal issues and provocative strategies such as critical design.

2. Semester: People-Centered Design

Interaction Design Process
This course teaches ways of developing their projects based on methods and practices that are at the core of interaction design. Students learn how to observe and analyze existing behaviors, and how to develop innovative ideas based on findings from contextual and people-centered inquiries.

Graphical User Interface
This course introduces the design and technological basics of screen based interfaces. Students apply human-centered methods to screen-based interaction design. Prototypes are developed using HMTL, CSS, and Javascript.

Theory II: Design Methods
Different situated and people-centered methods are discussed such as cultural probes, bodystorming, contextual inquiry, video scenarios and participatory design.

3. Semester: Aesthetic Explorations

Interactive Visualization
Students analyze and represent big data from fields such as health, technology, natural science or sociology. They create novel ways to explore qualitative or quantitative data through screen-based interaction.

Physical Computing
Students learn basic understanding of electronics and work with the Arduino platform. Through a small project, the Internet of Things is explored as students connect designed objects with each other and exchange data among them.

Sonic Interaction Design
This course is a detailed coverage of complex sound interactions. Students learn tools and technology that are used to develop interactive sonic feedback and "live" experience mockups.

Soft Architectures
Students learn about the application of novel materials and their ability to transform space into responsive, adaptive environments.

Theory III: Aesthetics of Interaction
Embodied interaction paradigms are discussed. Students learn about and analyze formal, spatial and temporal aspects of interactive experience.

4. Semester: Spaces and Services

Spatial Interaction
Students develop projects that engage social interaction within public spaces. Cameras and simple sensors are used to track people interaction and environmental changes.

Service Design
Students engage with the complexities of developing a multifaceted project in which interfaces, screens, and objects are connected through a service such as health data management, car sharing or social networking.

Theory IV: Technology and Society
This seminar explores issues related to public space such as habitual behaviors, privacy, ownership and surveillance.

5. Semester: Embodiment

Mobile User Interface
Students design and develop graphical user interfaces for mobile devices and tablets. Applications are developed for cross platform compatibility.

Embodied Interaction
Students create devices that provide feedback through sound, light, vibration and movement. Projects include location-based services, context-aware interfaces, urban gaming and virtual environments.

BA Concept
Students explore problem areas of their interest and develop first ideas for their final BA projects.

Theory V: Embodiment
Theories of embodiment are presented and their impact on design discussed. Students learn about the sensory illusions, multimodal interaction and enactive knowledge.

6. Semester: Final Project

BA Project
Over the course of one semester, students develop their final BA project under the close mentorship of interaction design professors.

Theory VI: BA Thesis
This course accompanies the students through their final BA project. Receiving advice on methods that could be used for different problem areas, students formulate their own approaches.

Career Trip
This course is a multi-day excursion to design agencies and institutions in London, Munich or other major design capitals. Students visit workplaces and meet leading figures in the interaction design industry.