Professor Casey Reas, TA Andrew Hieronymi

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Syllabus

Dynamic Web. 161B
Winter 2004
UCLA Design | Media Arts

Professor Casey Reas (by appointment)
TA Andrew Hieronymi (office hours Friday 3-4 in Kinross South 128)


When and Where

Monday & Wednesday, 14:00-16:50
Kinross South 128, UCLA


Concepts

The World Wide Web is difficult to define. While its origin reveals it to be a publication media, others see it as a broadcast media, a shopping mall, an environment for personal expression, etc. People are continually using the Internet and the Web for different reasons and the technologies are constantly shifting. In this class we will be reviewing a broad range of the possibilities of the Web and working toward understanding it as a dynamic media.

For the purposes of this class, the word Dynamic will be interpreted in two ways. It refers to creating pages on the Web which contain dynamic elements and the creation of dynamic pages. A page with a dynamic element is a page containing an animated or interactive component. A dynamic page is a page which is built at runtime (when it is accessed).


Skills

The technologies involved in creating work for the Web are continually changing. The practical tools we will use in this class will only be useful for a short time. We will focus on learning the basic concepts behind the Web so that the skills you learn will be transferable to future contexts. You will build on your experiences from 161A and will be introduced to CSS, XML, and PHP. The most important skill to learn is how to teach yourself future skills.

We will work toward developing the vocabulary necessary to speak with developers and to provide a basic understanding of the technologies.


Activities

This class is a design course, not a technical course. We will be learning how to utilize various technologies in the service of design. We will spend time learning technique and then apply it in a design context. Through the quarter you will have the opportunity to complete nine problem sets and write a research report. The first four weeks of the class will focus on short exercises and the final six weeks are devoted to a larger web project. The six week project is divided into weekly exercises walking through the various steps in designing a dynamic website.


Evaluation

All work will be evaluated for it's originality, aesthetic qualities, and conceptual sophistication. Feedback will be primarily qualitative but numeric scores will also be given for all work. All problem sets must be completed to pass the course. If a problem set is handed in late, one point (out of 9) will be taken off each day. Work will not be considered complete until it is accessible from the course website. Failure to complete all problem sets will result in not passing the course.

The numeric breakdown for your grade follows:

10% Participation (contribution & concentration during class)
60% Exercises 01-08
30% Exercise 09

If you will not be in class, it is your responsibility to inform the TA. More than two unexcused absences will result in failure (an excused absence is one approved by the TA before the start of class).



References

Required Books

Web Design in a Nutshell, A Desktop Quick Reference. 2nd Edition.
Jennifer Niederst
O'Reilly


Optional Books

Programming PHP.
Rasmus Lerdorf, Kevin Tatroe
O'Reilly

ActionScript for Flash MX, The Definitive Guide
Colin Moock
O'Reilly


Discussion materials


Understanding the Web as Media
by Curt Cloninger

Usability Experts are from Mars, Graphic Designers are from Venus
by Curt Clonginger

A Visual Vocabulary for Describing Information Architecture

by Jesse James Garrett


Online PHP References

Homepage

Manual
Tutorial


Online Flash References

Support Center

Actionscript Dictionary
Flash to the Core Examples