Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Interactive Telecommunications

I was reading a blog posting at BoingBoing and noticed that Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations was guest blogging. I clicked on the link to learn more about Shirky and found out that he's teaching at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. What got me really intrigued was the name of the program Shirky teaches in - the Interactive Telecommunications Program. I've heard of Telecommunications; I've heard of Interactive; but not both of them together - very cool. Take a look at some of the courses:

Applications of Interactive Telecommunications Technology
This introductory class is designed to allow students to engage in a critical dialogue with leaders drawn from the artistic, non-profit and commercial sectors of the new media field, and to learn the value of collaborative projects by undertaking group presentations in response to issues raised by the guest speakers. Interactive media projects and approaches to the design of new media applications are presented weekly; students are thus exposed to both commercial as well as mission-driven applications by the actual designers and creators of these innovative and experimental projects. By way of this process, all first year students will, for the first and only time in their ITP experience, be together in one room at one time, and will, as a community, encounter, and respond to, the challenges posed by the invited guests. The course at once provides an overview of current developments in this emerging field, and asks students to consider many questions about the state of the art. For example, with the new technologies and applications making their way into almost every phase of the economy and rooting themselves in our day to day lives, what can we learn from both the failures and successes? What are the impacts on our society? What is ubiquitous computing, embedded computing, physical computing? How is cyberspace merging with physical space? Class participation, group presentations, and a final paper are required.

Comm Lab
An introductory course designed to provide students with hands-on experience using various technologies including social software and web development, digital imaging, audio, video and animation. The forms and uses of new communications technologies are explored in a laboratory context of experimentation and discussion. The technologies are examined as tools that can be employed in a variety of situations and experiences. Principles of interpersonal communications, media theory, and human factors are introduced. Weekly assignments, team and independent projects, and project reports are required.

Introduction to Computational Media
What can computation add to human communication? Creating computer applications, instead of just using them, will give you a deeper understanding of the essential possibilities of computation. The course focuses on the fundamentals of programming the computer (variables, conditionals, iteration, functions, and objects) and then touches on some more advanced techniques such as text parsing, image processing, networking, computer vision, and serial communication. The Java-based 'Processing' programming environment is the primary vehicle for the class, however at the end of the semester, the course offers a peek behind the Processing curtain and directly into Java. The course is designed for computer programming novices. Although experienced coders can waive this class, some programmers use ICM to acclimatize to the ITP approach and for the opportunity play further with their project ideas. Weekly assignments are required throughout semester. The end of the semester is spent developing an idea for a final project and implementing it using computer programming.

Here's a listing of other courses running this term. Even from the list, you see some pretty interesting titles.
  • Introduction to Physical Computing
  • 2X2
  • Big Screens
  • Crafting with Data: Revelations, Illusions, Truth and the Future
  • Creative Networking
  • Design for One
  • Designing Around Place
  • Designing for Emerging Media Platforms
  • Dynamic Web Development
  • Election 2008: Social Software and User Generated Media Flash
  • Frame By Frame: Creation and Manipulation of the Moving Image
  • Game Design
  • GL Art
  • Graphical User Interface Design in AJAX
  • Interactive Screens and Cinematic Objects
  • Live Web
  • Materials and Building Strategies
  • Metaforms
  • Narrative Lab
  • Networked Objects
  • New Interfaces for Musical Expression
  • Rest of You
  • Show and Tell Studio
  • The Softness of Things: Technology in Space and Form
  • Video Sculpture
  • Visualizing the Five Senses
Sounds like a great program. I wish I was twenty years younger - I'd take a crack at it. Here's a link to the program and the program overview. ITP | Program | Overview
An oversized Greenwich Village loft houses the computer labs, rotating exhibitions, and production workshops that are ITP -- the Interactive Telecommunications Program. Founded in 1979 as the first graduate education program in alternative media, ITP has grown into a living community of technologists, theorists, engineers, designers, and artists uniquely dedicated to pushing the boundaries of interactivity in the real and digital worlds. A hands-on approach to experimentation, production and risk-taking make this hi-tech fun house a creative home not only to its 220 students, but also to an extended network of the technology industry's most daring and prolific practitioners.


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