AIM Syllabus

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36-2601 Authoring Interactive Media


Teacher: TBA

Office: TBA

Phone: 312-344-7754


Web Site


This class focuses on effectively communicating content in an interactive format. Students research, plan, and produce interactive media projects. Several media components are developed and integrated to support the goal of each piece. Topics covered include contextual problem solving, information architecture, and usability. All projects are designed with participants in mind, considering their culture and demographics. Contemporary authoring technology and content creation tools will be used.


PREREQUISITIES 35-1300 Digital Image Development

-- AND --

36-1000 Media Theory and Design I

-- OR --

22-1320 Design Lab


    After completing this course, students will:
  • Demonstrate the ability to integrate media into an interactive multimedia project.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the underlying concepts behind, and be able to create, interactive projects using current production technologies.
  • Demonstrate the ability to successfully develop interactive strategies using methodology introduced in the Media Theory and Design classes.
  • Be able to develop goal-oriented media.
  • Apply cultural and critical theory to create work that considers contemporary cultural and social conditions.
  • Look critically at the current state of the art in interactive production through exposure to the profession.
  • Be able to create projects that emphasize discourse and dialogue (interactivity rather than exposition).
  • Produce finished piece for inclusion in student portfolio.

Applications and Platforms Covered

  • Text editor (for example: HTMLKit or Scite)
  • Validators (markup and CSS)
  • The rest of list TBA


  • Sketchbook
  • Removable media for archiving (such as a USB drive, DVDs, or CDs)


Required Texts

Pause & Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative by Mark S. Meadows, ISBN: 0735711712 (abbreviated as PE in the syllabus)

HTML for the World Wide Web with XHTML and CSS by Elizabeth Castro, ISBN: 0321130073 (abbreviated as XHTML in the syllabus)

Highly Recommended Texts

Information Architecture for the World Wide Web by Louis Rosenfeld and Peter Morville, ISBN: 0596000359 (abbreviated as IA in the syllabus)

Departmental Attendance Policy

Two late arrivals equal one absence. You are expected to be in class on time; attendance is taken at the beginning of class. Two absences (even excused absences) may result in a failing grade. Three absences and you FAIL- NO EXCEPTIONS. If an absence cannot be avoided, it must be discussed with your instructor ahead of time. Medical and other emergency leave of absences follow a different policy. Please contact your instructor if such a situation arises.

Departmental Archival Policy

On the final day of class you must submit all work and documentation (including proposals) on two CD-ROMs. You will not pass the course without fulfilling this requirement. The CD will not be returned – create a backup copy for your files.

Class Website Policy

As part of this class you will be expected to create and maintain a class portfolio website. This website will showcase all of your work throughout the semester (in-class excercises, homework, proposals, projects, etc.). It is your responsibility to maintain links to all of of your work. These links will be used for grading and a missing link will be considered the same as a missing assignment.

Instructions for setting up your class portfolio will be covered in class.

Content Introduction

This course will focus on the production of digital (Web) interfaces based upon an understanding of information architecture, with the capability to weave subjective and objective data via a synthesis of media forms. Creative strategies will be analyzed, discussed and revised in the interest of inventing goal-oriented media.

Course rationale

This is a required course for Interactive Arts and Media majors.

Classroom policies

Academic Integrity: It is expected that students will turn in their own work and maintain honest academic practices. Failure to do so may result in a failing grade.

No incomplete grades.

Late work and makeup assignments:Assignments and projects turned in after the date due will be marked down one grade for each week late (the time between classes will be counted as a week).


Projects and Assignments These are just a sampling of the projects and homework assignments required and may change at any time. ---

15% Quizzes

10% Class participation

20% Exams (midterm and final, 10% each)

10% Project #1

20% Project #2

25% Assignments/Course Portfolio (6 assignments)


Grading Guideline

Grading is incremental. All students start with 0 points and work up to a final grade.

 90-93 A-
       above average and outstanding work, no more than one absence, 
       active participation in class and excellent scores
       on exams and projects 
 87-89 B+
 84-86 B
 80-83 B-
       above average work, no more than two absences, and active 
       participation in class and above average scores on exams and projects
 77-79 C+
 74-76 C
 70-73 C-
       average work, no more than two absences, and/or average scores
       on exams and projects
 69-60 D
       below average work, no more than two absences, and/or below
       average scores on exams and projects
 59 and below F
       anything below and including 59% - failure to turn in assignments, three
       or more absences, and/or failing grades on exams and projects
       can lead to an F

Final Projects must be turned in on Final CD see Final CD



Conaway Center Statement

Students with disabilities are requested to present their Columbia accommodation letters to their instructor at the beginning of the semester so that accommodations can be arranged in a timely manner by the College, the department or the faculty member, as appropriate. Students with disabilities who do not have accommodation letters should visit the office of Services for Students with Disabilities in room 520 of the Congress building (312.344.8134/V or 312.360.0767/TTY). It is incumbent upon the student to know their responsibilities in this regard.

Course Calendar

Please see Course Calendar Wiki for weekly descriptions.

This course and syllabus is subject to change. Last revised 6/30/06