Michigan State University

Coursework

Experience Architecture (XA) is an interdisciplinary endeavor. Our program combines rhetoric, design, and computer science concepts to help graduates adapt, learn, and lead in innovative workplaces. Throughout all of the required classes to complete the XA program, students will be given real-world experience in leading teams and collaborating on different projects both in and out of the classroom. To do this, students will learn and practice how to design, develop, and architect user experiences. Students will also learn how experiences emerge across ecosystems–websites, apps, devices, and other spaces and places, as knowledge of current technology encourages creativity and innovation in these areas for the future. Coursework in the classroom is often supplemented by experimental or hands-on work necessary in making the transition to future workplaces.

Please note: students who started coursework prior to FS20 that have questions about their degree progress can contact the XA advisor.

Core Courses

Basic principles of user-centered design as applied to user experience. Usability, information architecture, interaction design, and service design practices, tools, conventions, and professional community.

Develop critical and ethical engagement with computational thinking. Uses problem-solving processes including pattern recognition, data representation, and algorithms. Explore relationships between computation and user experience, rhetoric, and design.

Researching for product, services, and processes as applied to user experience. Contextual inquiry, field studies, card sorting, participatory design, interviewing, focus groups, and usability testing.

Integrate knowledge and skills acquired from previous courses. Conceptualization, planning, implementation, and assessment of a project, service, system or an idea in a collaborative setting.

Analyzing, evaluating, and authoring Web sites. Principles of design rhetoric. Practices of Web accessibility.

Exploration of rhetorical theories applied to managing and leading communication in civic and professional organizations. Emphasis on team dynamics and on managing and leading teams and projects. Discussion of entrepreneurial thinking in professional and public writing.

Developing and maintaining large-scale, interactive Web sites. Visual design, usability, audio and video integration, ongoing site management, and web accessibility.

Rhetorical, social, political, economic, and ethical dimensions of digital communication, including identity, community, genre, and events. Rhetorical dynamics of communication across digital spaces such as apps, websites, software, and other experiences.

Introduction of digital tools and methods specific to contemporary graphic design.

Overview of form and communication analysis and manipulation. Investigation of theory, concept and visual tools central to developing visual communication systems.

Studio-based survey of experimental and futures-oriented design practices that are interdisciplinary in nature, intersect with emergent practices in the visual arts, and address broader issues of power, normativity, and social justice.

Digital interactivity as a tool for visual communication, design and distribution of ideas. Conceptual, formal and typographical explorations relating to screen-based activities such as interface design, user-interaction and basic animation.

Identify, explore, and prepare for suitable career options. Topics include self-assessment, career development strategies, and job search skills.

Examination of the desirability of technology, its social forms, and its alternatives. Conventional productivist, ecological progressive, and radical humanist outlooks.

Electives

Theory and practice for architecting information, including understanding and developing taxonomies, folkonomies, site structures, tagging systems, and guided navigation for user experience.

Field experience in a professional environment that supports, user experience, interaction design, design research, usability, information architecture, project management, interface development, and/or web development. Work under the supervision of a professional.

Introduction to rhetorical practices, processes, and strategies. Study of intersections of rhetorical theories and cultural engagement, with emphasis on analyzing and composing for different professional and public settings. Exploration of different knowledge-making processes and influences on writing. Reading- and discussion-intensive course.

Principles and practices of communicating technical information for different audiences and purposes, and across multiple media. Methods of audience-based research, information design, project management, and technical style (verbal and visual).

Applied theory and best practices for content strategy. Understanding the content management lifecycle, aligning content strategy to business goals, assessing communication needs for audiences and participants. Issues in project leadership, management, intellectual property, and organizational communication for creating flexible, dynamic content and content structures.

Time-based design utilizing sound and motion for visual communication and personal expression relating to the field of graphic design. Conceptual and formal explorations relating to the moving image such as motion graphics, stop-motion animation, and kinetic typography.

Using the computer as a tool for making art. Creation of innovative electronic art and new media projects that introduce students to conceptual as well as technical skill sets.

Introduction to core skills and concepts used in digital video production, with an emphasis on art-making, conceptual thinking, and experimentation.

Systems-based approach to design and fabrication of functional experimental art devices, combining principles of mechanical, electronic, software design, robotics, sensors, actuators, and other control devices. Exposure to new paradigms of creative practice and will develop intricate, interdisciplinary group projects.

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