Computational Literacies Lab

Your literature review centers research and design questions from the perspective of the researcher or designer, but what is the experience of the participants? How do they make sense of their environments, tools, and activities, and how might they respond to your new designs? Domains ranging from anthropology to communication to human-computer interaction have develped methods for learning about how others understand their own practices and cultures, and how they might understand and participate in transformation of these cultures and practices through design.


Your assignment is to conduct user research in preparation for your own design process. This may be done in one of several modes, enumerated below. Regardless of which you choose, the essence of the assignment is to collect data about how someone else (or a community of others) understands themselves and what they are doing, and then to interpret this data. Interpretation allows you to synthesize your data in terms of your own interests and questions; it also allows you to reflect on your positionality: how you, as a research instrument, may have been biased, inclined to notice or interpret what you saw in certain ways.

This milestone must be conducted individually. Multiple students may visit the same learning environment, but everyone must take their own fieldnotes and make an independent submission.

Assessment criteria