Mas.961 Special Topics Seminar on Deep Engagement:
Course Syllabus
Fall 2004
  • Weekly written assignments: 25%
  • Class participation /in-class projects : 25%
  • Term Project/paper : 50%

Weekly Readings:

  • Two components: critique (not more than one page per reading) and responses to assigned questions
  • Readings posted opposite the lecturer of the day are the readings due for that week; assignments are posted with date due at noon, the day before class meets
  • Critiques and assignments are due at noon, the day before class meets

Term Project:

  • A conference quality paper with original perspectives on literature, OR build and evaluate computational model, and connect to literature & lectures.
  • Proposals due Oct 26, 2004
  • Final project presentations on last day of class, Dec 14, 2004
  • Final conference style paper (8 page max) due Dec 14, 2004.
Week 01 - September 14 Introduction:
Cynthia and Glorianna
Begin reading:
Marvin Minsky "Emotion Machine" found at
For those who are not familiar with Marvin Minsky's "Society of Mind" you might want to begin by reading Push Singh, "Examining Society of Mind"
Week 02 - September 21 Music:
Tod Machover
1) Marc Hauser's recent article on the neuroscience of music: Hauser:music.pdf.
2) ...and also Glenn Schellenberg's brand new article on studying music and IQ improvement (which puts into perspective a lot of recent work and identifies some special features of music):Schellenberg:Music&IQ.pdf.
3) Listen to this exceptional BBC radio interview with Marvin Minsky about music, broadcast just last week:
4) Listen to this amazing NPR radio piece about Glenn Gould, and what inspired him to record the entire Bach Goldberg Variations two times during his career, and the difference is between "technique" and "soul" in music:
5) Take Tod's Music Perception Test which can be found at:
#01 due 09/20
Week 03 - September 28 Learning:
Mitch Resnick
Papert, S. (1980). Gears of My Childhood (Foreword to the book Mindstorms). Available at
2) Resnick, M. (2004). Edutainment? No Thanks. I Prefer Playful Learning. Associazione Civita Report on Edutainment. Available at

3) Papert, S.
#02 due 09/27
Week 04 - October 05 Summary and Reflection:
Dan Ariely
1) Please read the "more pain" paper first. After you read this paper please write down what you believe about this effect, in what cases would find it, and in what cases you would not. Please also indicate what this would mean for designing experiences more generally.
2) Next please read the paper on duration and the comment that accompanied it. We will use these to revisit your impression from the first paper.

#03 due 10/04
Week 05 - October 12 Measuring Affect:
Roz Picard
#04 due 10/11
Week 06 - October 19 ML SPONSOR WEEK
Week 07 - October 26 Engaging People in an Image that Tells a Story:
Paula Silver, Beyond the Box Productions

Sound and Controllers:
Joe Paradiso
The Uber-Badge - A Versatile Platform at the Juncture Between Wearable and Social Computing. Mathew Laibowitz and Joseph A. Paradiso
Week 08 - November 02 Interactive class discussion Read:
Selected readings from Funology, Volume XI.5, ACM Interactions, September - October 2004 Issue.

General discussion on the readings on "funology." Each article is very short, just a couple of pages. Let's do a round table where each of us quickly summarizes I articles as assigned below, and then start discussion by giving your thoughts/reactions to the reading. This will be fast, furious, and fun.

Cynthia -- I'll do the Norman interview
Matt B. "Beyond Fun" by John Carroll & " Taking fun seriously" by A. Dix
Hyung: Interview with Patrick Jordan on Designing Pleasurable Products & "Narrative construction as play" by Brenda Laurel
Orit: "Technology as Experience" by McCarthy and Wright & "LOL Humor online" by J. Hancock
Matt L.: "Designing for fun" How can we design user interfaces to be more fun?" by Ben Shneiderman
Oliver: "Cultural Probes and the value of uncertainty" by Gaver, Boucher, Pennington and Walker
James: Freedome of fun, Freedom of Interaction" by Wensveen, Overbeeke, Djajadiningrat, Kyffin
Hyemin: "Emotions can be quite Ephemeral. We cannot design them" by M. Hassenzahl
Karen: :Beyond Usability in Games" by R. Pagulayan and K. Steury & "Computer Games as Interfaces" by D. Chao

#5 Proposal due for end of term assignment: a conference quality paper with original perspectives on literature, OR build and evaluate computational model, and connect to literature & lectures.
Week 09 - November 09 "What would be the role of interaction design for the deeper engagement?":
Hiroshi Ishii
Ishii, H., Ratti, C., Piper, B., Wang, Y., Biderman, A., Ben-Joseph, E. Bringing clay and sand into digital design - continuous tangible user interfaces, in BT Technology Journal, Vol. 22, No. 4, October 2004, pp. 287-299

Ishii, H. Bottles: A Transparent Interface as a Tribute to Mark Weiser, in IEICE Transactions on Information and Systems, Vol. E87-D, No. 6, pp. 1299-1311, June 2004
#06 due 11/08
Week 10 - November 16 Interactive class discussion Read:
Davenport, G., Holmquest, L. E. Thomas, M. and Future of Fun Workshop Participants. Fun: A Condition of Creative Research. IEEE Multimedia Magazine, July-September Issue.
#07 due 11/15: includes reading questions
Week 11 - November 23 Computing Culture:
Chris Czikszentmihalyi

"How do we perceive other people's identity in mediated environments?":
Judith Donath
1) Readings for Chris TBA

2) Donath, J. Identity and Deception in the Virtual Community. In M. Smith and P. Kollock (eds.) 1998. Communities in Cyberspace. London: Routledge.

3) Donath, J. Being Real. In K. Goldberg (ed.) The Robot in the Garden: Telerobotics and Telepistemology in the Age of the Internet. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Judith Donath will be introducing the notion of signaling as a theoretical framework for understanding identity, identity deception, and ways of designing environments to help shape particular types of behavior. The final question she'll address is how do we know the other is human - and why do we care?

#08: Regarding Final Projects
Week 12 - November 30 Ambient Intelligence:
Pattie Maes
Week 13 - December 07 TBA
Week 14 - December 14 Final Presentations