Creative Projects

tl;dr; This is a hands on course. To ground knowledge in application at the end of most module, students will one in-depth creative work. The prototype should be accompanied by clear documentation; to include technical implementation (code, design files, circuit diagrams), need, strategy and use case (explanation, rationale for solution).

Creative Projects

At the end of each module, you will prepare one in-depth creative work. Each of these creative projects will directly connect to the topics introduced in the module.

Each project will be explained with a detailed brief. This brief will provide context and guidance on the nature of the project, constraints that you must apply and adhere to, and things you should think about as you create your work. The brief will also tell you if there are tools, ideas, or technologies you must work with.

Some of the projects will be independent and some will be collaborative. Independent projects will give you a chance to hone your own skills and apply the things you’re learning. Collaborative projects will pair you with students who can support your skillset and interests.

Learning Objective

As part of the exercise, students will:

  • Rapidly prepare a conceptual design and technical prototype to apply concepts introduced in each module;
  • Become familiar with the concepts surrounding responsive mobile environments (as well as, the themes of the course) by building them;
  • Learn to design and develop simple lightweight interactive and technical prototypes;
  • Learn to work independently and collaboratively to prototype and design intelligent environments.


  1. Introduction: At least two weeks before it’s due you’ll be introduced to the creative project

  2. Proposal: You’ll then develop an outline of what your project will be.

  3. Case Development: You’ll be asked to identify, critically review, and prepare a case study that informs your project and direction.

  4. Desk Crit: Where possible, modules will include time for a ‘desk crit’. This will be an opportunity for you to talk about your idea with the instructor and TAs. It’ll be a chance to get feedback on your concept as well precedents to look at and methods and approaches to incorporate. For the desk crit, you should be prepared with some outline sketches, research or precedents to discuss. When you’re not getting feedback, use the time to develop your project.

  5. Submission: You’ll submit the work online to the IDeATe Gallery the day before class.

  6. In Class Review: We’ll disuss a series of projects in class (note: we may not have time to discuss every project in class). The creator will quickly present their outcome and then as a group we’ll spend time examining it in detail. Each student will also digitally review and give detailed feedback to your peers. (Note: This is part of your participation grade for the course). The feedback should be constructive and highlight open questions, opportunities, needed improvements and next steps.


Specific deliverables will be covered in the assignment descriptions, but these projects will require the following to be delivered:

  • A working prototype that includes software (code), hardware and electronics elements.
  • Code for the application
  • Documentation of the project (contributed to the Gallery).
  • An in class demo. of the completed project.

Submitting your work

In all cases, you’ll use the Gallery to document and submit your work. Submit each assignment as a new project in the relevant pool. Guidelines on working with this platform can be found here.

The brief will describe what you should include in your documentation (specific sections). The Gallery will also give you a template for these sections. Pay attention to these prompts, but don’t feel bound by them (edit, add or modify as needed). Generally speaking you should include:

  • A description of the concept and goals (include video and/or diagrams as needed.)
  • A description of relevant prior projects, approaches or methods you researched and that inspired the project. Be thorough and show what informed the project.
  • The process you underwent to reach the outcome (experiments, hacks, tests, refinments, iterations, failures)
  • The outcome itself and how it works. Include supporting images, a video of the working prototype, circuit diagrams, etc.)
  • Outline next steps and future directions.
  • Add/upload code and any supporting documentation and files.

All work should be submitted by noon before class. Why? Because before class you’ll be asked to review and give feedback on other projects. You’ll also be asked to help choose what work we review in class too.

Choosing a project

Detailed briefs will be provided for each project. Follow this as a starting point and pay attention to the examples provided.

Aside from this, the possibilities are far and wide. The main thing is to choose something you care about. Having a project that’s genuinely interesting to you is going to be best. Keep in mind that it should be reasonably well scoped i.e. something small, discrete and easy to implement well in a tight turnaround. Don’t try to boil oceans, identify a small solvable problem that illustrate your key idea. Keep it constrained but conceptually interesting. From there there’s lots of options.


These projects are a way for you to showcase:

  • Your engagement and understanding of the material of the module
  • Your creative capacity
  • Your own interests

Take note: The most important thing for this project is to come up with a compelling concept - something interesting, informed, aware or critical. The breakdown of the grades favors your ability to come up with an idea like this. Focus on the idea before implementation!

A strong grade will result by create interesting, well-crafted and well documented projects. As such, each creative project will be graded as follows:

  • 10% - Criticality: The project is driven by a clear intent, asks (or answers) an interesting question, expresses a point of view or is generally provocative.
  • 20% - Creativity of Approach - Merit, creativity, and context for the outcome/proposal
  • 20% - Technical Implementation - Quality of code and execution of the outcome
  • 20% - Outcome Documentation - Well illustrated with appropriate use of code, video, diagrams, repeatability, etc.
  • 20% - Presentation and Demonstration - high quality presentation and well narrated demonstration of the solution
  • 10% - Process - Description of process (ideation, iteration, etc.) and personal reflection on learning outcomes

A note on documentation templates: Each creative project will be accompanied with a written description. This is a starting point for your exploration. They aren’t designed to, nor will they, provide a template for things you need to do to get 100%. Please don’t treat them like this. Instead, they are prompts meant to get you thinking. You should interpret them and approach them creatively. You are strongly encouraged to think beyond what’s written.

Grading Rubric

Criticality (Topic):

The course is focused on speculative terrains and critical conversations. Does this project raise an interesting question or present a point of view? Does the statement of intent clearly present an informed perspective? Does it encourage thinking? Does it raise questions? Is it provocative?

  • 0: incomplete: does not satisfy brief and/or no clear questions are raised by this work.
  • 1: passing: satisfies minimum requirements; does not raise any questions directly or formulates a poor statement of intent for the work;
  • 2: good: shows insight and observation; formulates a clear statement that includes; raises some opportunity for dialog around the core ideas;
  • 3: excellent: shows deep insight; formulates a clear statement; raises provocative and rich questions around the topic; thought-provoking, informed and original perspective.
Creativity (Approach):

How interesting is the concept/outcome? Does it represent an a unique approach or an original perspective on the assignment? Does it depart from or have a twist on known or standard approaches? Does it use materials or code in an innovative way?

  • 0: incomplete: does not satisfy brief and no originality or creativity demonstrated (e.g. direct replication of prior approach without extension)
  • 1: passing: satisfies minimum requirements of the brief and/or a minor increment over existing work (extension/adaptation of a precedent)
  • 2: good: shows engagement, exploration and insight; uses precedents and/or materials in relatively original ways.
  • 3: excellent: shows deep insight, and significant understanding of the problem; goes beyond the brief and demonstrates significant originality in the ideas and their application; uses precedents and/or materials in unexpected ways; surprising and delightful outcome.
Context (Concept and Background):

Is the problem space or scenario clearly explained? How clearly are the key principles and goals of the work articulated? How informed is the work? Does it show connections to theory, ideas, research, artists, frameworks or other elements of the domain?

  • 0: incomplete: does not satisfy brief (no mention of problem space, scenario) and/or does not include precedents.
  • 1: passing: satisfies minimum requirements.
  • 2: good: provides a thoughtful and considered introduction to the work with limited references and limited analysis of past work
  • 3: excellent: provides a thoughtful and considered introduction to the work and supports the context with relevant references and critical analysis of past work.
Execution I - Code:

How well implemented is the code? Is it well commented, well formatted, well structured and functioning? Does it show sophisticated approaches? How well composed is it? Does it show technical skill and mastery of programming?

  • 0: incomplete: does not satisfy brief - code not included or does not compile
  • 1: passing: satisfies minimum requirements - provides the minimum core functionality, is basic in operation and could be improved.
  • 2: good: functional; provides reasonably well structured approach; well commented; and shows technical competence.
  • 3: excellent: provides a considered well organized, well commented and structured implementation; and/or has implemented complex functionality beyond the brief and/or demonstrated technical skill
Execution II - Circuitry:

How well implemented is the circuit? Are the selected components sensible for the goals? Is the circuit well designed, functioning, etc.? How well composed is it? Does it show technical skill and mastery of electronics?

  • 0: incomplete: does not satisfy brief - circuit not included or does not function as described
  • 1: passing: satisfies minimum requirements - provides the minimum core functionality, is basic in operation and could be improved.
  • 2: good: functional; demonstrates understanding of components and applied them in a working circuit; circuit is well organized; component selection is sensible and demonstrates some technical skill
  • 3: excellent: provides a strong technical understanding; well considered component choices; functions and is well organized; and works with advanced components, implements functionality beyond the brief and demonstrates technical skill
Execution III - Form:

How well implemented is the aesthetics of the object/device? Are the design and material choices appropriate for the context and do they integrate with the code and circuitry? Does it show sophisticated approaches? How well composed is it? Does it show design skill and mastery of fabrication and forms?

  • 0: incomplete: does not satisfy brief - code not included or does not compile
  • 1: passing: satisfies minimum requirements - provides the minimum aesthetics; involves minimal to no design
  • 2: good: functional; illustrates an intended form for the device (even if preliminary) and that form is sensible and appropriate.
  • 3: excellent: provides an exceptionally well crafted object that shows competence in the design and material choices
Communication (Documentation):

How well authored, curated, illustrated is the documentation? Is it sufficiently detailed to repeat the outcome? Does it include a personal reflection? Does it communicate the project and its goals succinctly and effectively?

  • 0: incomplete: documentation is missing or doesn’t provide any illustration
  • 1: passing: satisfies minimum requirements - it contains the required components; but reasonably poor quality, verbose, unclear or shows other communication issues.
  • 2: good: clearly communicated and sufficiently detailed to easily repeat the outcome; well and appropriately illustrated with media, diagrams and code.
  • 3: excellent: as good, but includes an additional level of rigor, reflection or professionalism that elevates the outcome. e.g. Documentation that is ready to share online for press or crowdfunding.