Course Title

Interactivity (DESMA 28)

Summer 2019
UCLA Department of Design Media Arts

Tuesday and Thursday, 9am-12:45pm
Broad Art Center Room 4220

Instructor: Yuehao Jiang
Contact: yuehaojiang at gmail dot com
Office Hour: Thursday 1pm-2pm or by appointment


With computers and networked technologies, our culture has been changed. Software enables us to alter our senses and consume information in new ways. How has software affected the visual arts? Why would artists and designers want to write software? This course is an introduction to writing code in the context of visual arts and design. Lectures and demonstrations provide a conceptual, aesthetic and technical foundation in programming as a creative practice. Students explore software art, information visualization, interface design, interactive narratives, and other code-based forms.

This class will prepare students for future upper division classes in the Design Media Arts department: Network Media (161), Game Design (157), and Media Arts (159A, 171).



Grades will be determined with the following % breakdown:

  • Participation: 15%
  • Project 1: 20%
  • Project 2: 20%
  • Project 3: 20%
  • Final Project: 25%

Work will be evaluated on how well it demonstrates understanding of the class material, the effort and progress throughout the project development, conceptual creativity, aesthetic quality, and technical skills.

Late projects and assignments will be penalized by one letter grade per day, and will not be accepted if more than three days late.


Participation means doing your work, sharing your thoughts, asking questions, preparing for meetings, and offering feedback to your peers. This class is meant to be a safe learning space in which you feel encouraged and supported in learning and taking creative risks. Challenge yourself and be encouraging of others as they do the same. Be attentive and considerate to your classmates.

No cell phone or check personal communications (email, Snapchat, Facebook, etc.) during class.


You must attend each class. There are only six weeks to cover a great amount of material. Each unexcused absence will lower your final grade by one whole unit (for example, A- to B-). Three unexcused absences will result in a failed grade in the class. If there is an emergency and you must miss class, please email me before class. Absences will not be excused after the fact except in extreme circumstances. Illness requires a doctor's note.

Class starts at 9:00. If you are more than 10 minutes late for class, you will be marked tardy. Three tardies become equivalent to one unexcused absence.

Access to DMA Labs

Though our class meets in the Young Research Library, students also have access to the 4th floor labs in the Design Media Arts department at the Broad Art Center. Please see the lab schedule for more details.


Bring sketchbook/notebook, pen/pencil to class.

Required Reading and Viewing

  • Getting Started with p5.js, by Lauren McCarthy, Casey Reas, and Ben Fry. Maker Media, 2015
  • Code! Programming with p5.js by Dan Shiffman. (Available free online.)

Suggested Reading

  • Form+Code in Design, Art, and Architecture by Casey Reas and Chandler McWilliams. Princeton Architectural Press, 2010

Coding Resources

Commitment to Diversity

We understand the classroom as a space for practicing freedom; where one may challenge psychic, social, and cultural borders and create meaningful artistic expressions. To do so we must acknowledge and embrace the different identities and backgrounds we inhabit. This means that we will use preferred pronouns, respect self-identifications, and be mindful of special needs. Disagreement is encouraged and supported, however our differences affect our conceptualization and experience of reality, and it is extremely important to remember that certain gender, race, sex, and class identities are more privileged while others are undermined and marginalized. Consequently, this makes some people feel more protected or vulnerable during debates and discussions. A collaborative effort between the students, TA, and instructor is needed to create a supportive learning environment. While everyone should feel free to experiment creatively and conceptually, if a class member points out that something you have said or shared with the group is offensive, avoid being defensive; instead approach the discussion as a valuable opportunity for us to grow and learn from one another. Alternatively if you feel that something said in discussion or included in a piece of work is harmful, you are encouraged to speak with the instructor or TA. [ voidLab / CC SA ]

Other Campus Resources

Center for Accessible Education (CAE)

If you need academic accommodations based on a disability, please register with UCLA's CAE and let me know within the first week of class.

Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS)

Phone: (310) 825-0768

UCLA Arts Library

Hammer Museum