1. Learn how computational media is different from traditional media.
  2. Get a feeling for what computers can do.
  3. Get a feeling for how computers work.
  4. Learn how to wire circuits and program computers.
  5. Learn how to learn the stuff you need to accomplish the projects that interest you in computational media.

Important Note: This class will be “flipped” meaning that you will have to watch the lecture and read tutorials before class and do hands-on work in class.

Readings: There are couple of suggested readings if you prefer books but most of the material is online readings , tutuorials or lectures.

Costs: You will need a laptop.  You will be required to buy between $50-$100 in electronic gizmos.  For example this Arduino kit, available at the NYU Computer bookstore, would do nicely.  There is a place in the East Village called TinkerSphere that is great for this stuff too. If you decide to build an elaborate installation it might cost you more for the materials.  All the software is free and open source.

Work: Chances are you will work hard on this class.  It is not that conceptually difficult but debugging takes an unpredictable amount of time.  If you treat it like a puzzle it is pretty enjoyable.  Also as a beginner you should try to get satisfaction with small steps while keeping in mind and writing down your big dreams.


  • On-time Participation 20% (2 or more absences is grounds for failure)
  • Blogging 20%
  • Assignments & Sketchbook 40%
  • Final Project 20%


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. Conversely excitement about your projects ideas for using computation will best propel your acquisition of skills necessary to realize those ideas.  This fourteen week course is divided in two parts. The first portion starts with the expressive capabilities of the human body & how we move through the world. The Physical Computing skills will allow you to go past the limitations of the mouse, keyboard & monitor interface & at locations other than the home or the office. The platform for the class is a microcontroller (Arduino brand), a very small inexpensive single-chip computer that can be embedded anywhere & sense & actuate in the physical world. The core technical concepts include digital, analog & serial input & output. The second portion of the course focuses on fundamentals of computer programming (variables, conditionals, iteration, functions & objects) as well as more advanced techniques such as data parsing, image processing, networking, computer vision & 3D graphics. The Java-based ‘Processing’ programming environment is the primary vehicle. Processing is more oriented towards visual displays on desktops, laptops, tablets or smartphones but can also connect back to the physical sensor & actuators from the first part of the class. The course is designed for computer programming novices but the project centered pedagogy will allow more experienced programmers the opportunity to play further with their project ideas & make lots of friends by helping the struggling students.

STATEMENT OF ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: Plagiarism is presenting someone else’s work as though it were your own.  More specifically, plagiarism is to present as your own: A sequence of words quoted without quotation marks from another writer or a paraphrased passage from another writer’s work or facts, ideas or images composed by someone else.

STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLE: The core of the educational experience at the Tisch School of the Arts is the creation of original academic and artistic work by students for the critical review of faculty members.  It is therefore of the utmost importance that students at all times provide their instructors with an accurate sense of their current abilities and knowledge in order to receive appropriate constructive criticism and advice.  Any attempt to evade that essential, transparent transaction between instructor and student through plagiarism or cheating is educationally self-defeating and a grave violation of Tisch School of the Arts community standards.   For all the details on plagiarism, please refer to page 10 of the Tisch School of the Arts, Policies and Procedures Handbook 2013-2014, which can be found online at: http://students.tisch.nyu.edu/page/home.html

ACCESSIBILITY: Academic accommodations are available for students with documented disabilities.  Please contact the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities at 212-998-4980 for further information.

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