Expanded Tools—Interactive Spring 2018


Course Description

This class introduces design for the screen. Treating web technologies as a design medium, students will learn to code in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Through hands-on demos and incremental assignments, students gain the technical knowledge needed to interpret and structure web pages. Assignments explore the creative potential of basic code, from visual composition to typography to interactivity. While this course has a formal emphasis, we will critically examine the web through historical, political, and social lenses. We will also explore off-screen implementation of code concepts in printed and installation works.

Course Objectives

Course Learning Outcomes


Exercises & Assignments

In addition to larger studio projects, you will have a series of in-class and take home exercises. These will be geared towards quickly becoming familiar with methods and techniques that will supplement your larger works.

‘Net Topics

Each student will select a notable figure or moment in the history of the net for quick 5-minute presentation with 2-3 discussion questions. Please select a topic from this google doc or propose one of your own.


In this class, we want to create real, working websites. We also want to create formally competant design work with a point of view. We take a craft approach to code. We aren’t creating products, but we are interested in novel or innovative techniques. Work should be well presented. Risks will be rewarded.


Criteria for evaluation

Grades are assigned according to the college’s letter system:

A through F
A = Excellent
B = Good
C = Satisfactory
D = Unsatisfactory, must repeat course if GD major
F = Failure, no credit received, must repeat course

Grades of C- or less are considered a failing grade for the required courses within the major. Students will need to repeat the course and achieve a grade of C or better to advance to the next level.

Final grades will be based on the following criteria:

Grading Late Work

You are required to complete all coursework on time: each assignment is to be finished and produced (printed, uploaded, etc.) by 8:00 am on the day it is due, unless specified otherwise. Work completed after this time, but by 8:00 am of the next class period will be marked down a full letter grade. If you have a scheduling problem regarding an assignment due date, please speak to the instructor as soon as possible and before the due date in order to make alternative arrangements.

Project Grade Adjustment

As long as you turn your projects in on time, you are eligible to increase your project grade. For each project, you have until the end of the semester to change any aspect. Please touch base with me if you would like clarification on what you can improve. Once you make your changes and you would like me to reassess your project for a new grade, please notify me.

Attendance Policy

Attendance is mandatory, and will be taken at the beginning of every class. Arriving more than 15 minutes late, or leaving the class for more than 15 minutes, three times will count as an unexcused absence. Three unexcused absences will result in failing the course. Arriving without your project or materials necessary will count as an absence. Exceptions are based on the discretion of the instructor. Students are expected to inform the instructor prior to missing a class, and are responsible for making up any missed assignments by next class. If you miss a class, please contact a fellow classmatefor notes, copies of handouts, and assignment information. Observance of a religious holiday may be excused by the instructor. Arrangements must be made at least one week in advance to obtain materials for any work missed. It is the students responsibility to turn in any assignments prior to the absence.

Academic Integrity

Students will become familiar with using pre-existing language, images, and software as raw material while creating entirely new works and how to properly credit their inclusion. While making online projects, we will learn what technologies are good (and important) to appropriate. We will reference the “Fair Use” policy,  collegeart.org/fair-use, Creative Commons, and software licenses.


Students are expected to actively participate in class through critique and discussion of assigned readings. Through discussing your own projects and the work of your classmates, you will develop a critical point of view about your practice as a designer. Like process and craft, this is a skill that grows easier through use.


Work should be presented in an orderly fashion. Good presentation will allow us to focus on the process and evolution of the work. Students are expected to provide thorough documentation of their process and final outcomes.


Students should bring their own personal laptops to class. They should also be responsible for their own files, making sure to back them up in some way. For editing and updating code, we will use the code editor Sublime Text (though you are welcome to use another editor of your choosing). For website hosting, we will use Github Pages. For image-making and sketching, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign are standard tools that all CCA students have. Other good digital-image making tools include a phone, digital camera, scanner, screen capture, etc.