Curriculum

Overview

ITP is a two-year program of full-time study leading to the Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) degree. The degree requires completion of a minimum of 60 graduate credits within a three-tier structure. ITP is a full-time program and thus students must take 12-18 points per semester to maintain full-time status. It is possible to go part-time (below 12 credits) in the last semester to reach the minimum of 60 credits to graduate. 

The degree is a terminal degree and also considered a qualified STEM program

The department brings together smart, passionate people from different disciplines, provokes them with the skills and conceptual understanding necessary to manipulate new media and then supports the applications students dream up. It is sometimes described as an art school for engineers and at the same time an engineering school for artists.

Located in New York City, we constantly attract the best and the brightest faculty to guide our students, making ITP one of the top-ranked departments in the interactive arena.

Tier 1 – Foundation Classes

Foundation classes provide a baseline of technical skills, conceptual understanding and creative process to support and catalyze student projects. Each foundation course will be offered at least once a year. Generally, students will be expected to complete these foundation courses before moving to Tier Two or Tier Three. Sixteen credits in foundation courses are required for completion of the degree program. Due to previous studies or work experience, some students may consider themselves already proficient in a field covered by a foundation course. They may apply to a faculty advisor for permission to waive it. Waiver of a foundation course does not in itself reduce the 60-point requirement for graduation; it means a student will increase the number of elective studies or fieldwork courses taken.

Tier 1 Courses

All computing is physical. We work with computational systems by taking action with our bodies, on devices. The construction of computing devices, and their use, consumes raw materials and energy as well. In short, the virtual always has physical consequences. This course is about how to design digital devices for our bodies’ capabilities.

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Storytelling is a powerful method of communicating messages and engaging an audience. Whether you are building an expressive narrative world, documenting existing work, or pitching a new project, a carefully crafted story is a powerful way to connect with others.  How do new technologies change the way we tell stories?

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The goal of this course is to provide students who are new to the principles of visual design with the practical knowledge, critical skills and confidence to effectively express their ideas in a visually pleasing and effective way. Over the course of 7-weeks an overview of the many tools and techniques available to convey an idea, communicate a message and influence an experience will be presented, discussed and applied.

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The 17th century philosopher Spinoza described “wonder” as a state of suspension in the mind, a paralysis resulting from a confrontation with something wholly new, disconnected from past experience such that judgements of whether it is good or bad are not possible. At this moment in time, we are caught in such a state of suspension with digital technologies.

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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 emerging 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.

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Tier 2 Electives

The second tier classes provide students with contexts in which to develop their creative thinking, problem solving and technical abilities. The curriculum changes in response new developments in the field, student interests, opportunities to bring interesting practitioners as teachers and the outcomes of previous semesters. It is a mixture of seminar classes where students read, discuss and write about the implications of new media and production classes where they make things. Students are encouraged to maintain a balance of three production classes and one seminar every semester. Though most classes run for many years, as many as 20% may be experimental. Because failure is a natural outcome of experimentation, students must be prepared to derive value from unexpected outcomes.

Students may also arrange for internship credits. See course listings for more ideas about the types of classes that we have run in the past. The majority of classes are 4 points and students typically take 4 courses each semester. There are a few 2 point classes as well.

Please note: This is a sampling of classes that ITP has offered over the years. It is not a complete list, since our courses change every semester.

If you are looking for more specific and up to date listings, please visit Albert and then click the “Public Course Search” button. You will find our listing under ITPG-GT – change the year and semester to see a historical log of courses.

Tier 2 Courses

“I want to be famous!” For a decade, this has been the most common response to the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Influencers, TV stars, D-listers – the media has exploded with celebrities who could not have existed even 20 years ago. But who actually gets to be famous?

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This studio class will explore the in-between space of video, painting, installation, and new technologies. What unconventional methods can be employed to create a 3D model? What innovative strategies can be used to integrate 3D animated video and installation in a single work?

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Masks have been used around the world since antiquity for ceremonial and practical purposes, as devices for protection, disguise, entertainment and bodily transformation, made to be worn or displayed.

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Computational simulation and videogame engines offer thinkers and makers a new way to reflect on the question “If I can make a world, what would it be like?” In Worldmaking with Unity, students will be exposed to various theories and approaches of worldmaking, and realize their own creative visions by constructing an original, conceptual, and playfully simulated world…

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This course is designed to provide an overview of visual storytelling in the newsroom. We will explore a variety of narrative formats and design principles, learn about reporting techniques for visual stories, touch on the best practices and ethics of journalism and get our hands dirty with collaborative weekly assignments. 

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This workshop is for students looking to develop a song or musical project in the browser. Students will learn some fundamentals of Web Audio and Tone.js from Yotam Mann, the author of Tone.js, and present a piece of music or audio project in the second week of the class.

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Where does healing reside in media-making? How do we approach creating artistic processes and tools that move towards minimizing harm, supporting collective care, and understanding what healing means for ourselves and with one another?

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Libraries like TensorFlow.js and ml5.js unlocked new opportunities for interactive machine learning projects in the browser. The goal of this class is to learn and understand common machine learning techniques and apply them to generate creative outputs in the browser.

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With Machine Learning models are getting smaller, and microcontrollers are getting more computing power, Machine Learning is moving towards edge devices. This class explores the idea of how machine learning algorithms can be used on microcontrollers along with sensor data to build Physical Computing projects.

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Have you noticed that touchless devices and systems have become more prevalent these days? For example, automatic toilets, faucets, hand sanitizer dispensers, thermometers, and even paper towel dispensers have sensors that allow them to detect when they are needed. Have you seen interfaces where people can type with different body postures?

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In this course, we will explore how to create narratives that leverage our lesser used senses like touch, taste and smell as well as lesser-known ones like space, time, balance and scale. We will dig into the history of experiential storytelling…

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How could we reimagine and expand our interactions and relationships with voice-enabled devices? Artificially synthesized voice introduced personal devices beyond push buttons, twisting and swiping.

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Cooking programs with an image based language is a fundamental skill in the production and design of modern digital processes. Visual programming is not only an alternative way to code, but a solution to approach generative and interactive media.

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Juxtaposed to traditional comics, Experiential Comics combines emergent tech, unconventional comic book art/structure, and game engines to offer users a more immersive, continuous storyworld experience. Challenging the status quo of classic and contemporary digital comics, students will explore new technologies/world-building techniques…

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Performing the Internet is a course designed in response to the closure of performance venues around the world during the pandemic and the subsequent need for new and interesting forms of online performance. In this course students will study and craft performative interventions into online games and virtual worlds…

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Interactive technologies seldom stand alone. They exist in networks, and they facilitate networked connections between people. Designing technologies for communications requires an understanding of networks. This course is a foundation in how networks work.

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Tangible interaction is a difficult topic in 2020. In the early months of the year, there were various calls for a move to a “touchless future” in an effort to counter the fear of infection from touching shared things. Even though more recent research suggests that transmission via inanimate objects (fomite transmission) is a low risk, the perceived fear and its effect still persists.

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We use light in all aspects of our lives, yet we seldom notice it. That is by design: lighting in everyday life, well-designed, doesn’t call attention to itself. Instead it places focus on the subjects and activities which it supports.

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The World Wide Web no longer stops at the edge of your screen. When it comes to products, if it powers up, it talks to another device. This class provides an overview of methods for connecting the physical world to web-based applications. We’ll consider what the emerging interaction patterns are, if any, and we’ll develop some of our own as needed.

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WEB ART AS SITE addresses the history and practice of art made for and inseparable from the web, while teaching basic coding for the web. Web art is space/place/landscape/setting/site; it is not held or beheld, but filled and inhabited.

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You can’t fight for justice if you can’t see the injustice. In today’s digital world, injustice lurks in the invisible choices made by algorithms. In order to understand who these algorithms might discriminate against, as well as who they might favor, it is necessary to precisely measure their impacts in the real world, not just in simulations.

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If social change begins in the imagination, how then can creators better envision and render the more just and beautiful worlds we want to make? Storytelling has the power to be an alchemical force for revolutionary change. Together, we seek to interrogate and apply interactive storytelling as a technology we can deploy in service of our collective liberation.

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This class provides foundational understanding of the scientific and social issues related to the design of resilient urban futures. It provides ways of understanding our shifting ecological landscapes and the need to engage in design that addresses the conditions of the time we are living in now = the Anthropocene = the epoch when human beings began to problematically impact global climate and ecosystems.

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This studio and seminar course explores the basic principles of food biochemistry, enzymology and food processing and how they relate to memory, the senses and the processing of information. Students will also learn basic principles of molecular gastronomy and modernist cuisine as framing devices for understanding how food also functions in the context of bodily health, environmental health as well as cultural and political narratives.

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2020 has amplified foundational flaws in our ecological, food, racial and environmental systems creating a persistent state of whiplash from crises, climate related catastrophes, racial injustice and industry meltdowns.

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What is the medium of memory? In this 7-week studio, we will dig into this question through creative, lens-based storytelling. This class will introduce traditional and bleeding-edge documentary methods to inform our own approaches to activating archival material…

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Lo-fi/Low-impact is a hands-on workshop for learning rapid response prototyping and distribution techniques. We’ll look at examples of zine makers and artist and activist collectives, like the Guerrilla Girls, Dysturb, and The Illuminator, who create campaigns and interventions with purposeful urgency, and then flex our own creative muscles for getting ideas out of our heads and into our hands.

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The web has become an amazing platform for live communication. Streaming media, audio and video conferencing, text chat and other real-time data transmission give us the ability to create a wide array of platforms that enable live cooperative and collaborative performance, real-time games, and novel real-time communications experiences.

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This online asynchronous course introduces the fundamentals of building “fullstack” web applications. It will focus on modern, client- and server- side web technologies and provide practical methods for approaching web development for creative and functional applications. The core technologies used in this course are HTML5, JavaScript, Node.js with the Express framework, and MongoDB database.

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With recent advances in hardware and software, millions of us now carry unprecedented spatial computing and world sensing technologies in our pockets. With these technologies in hand, how do we design AR experiences that are contextual at the core – that are sensitive to the spaces we inhabit and the behaviors of people in those spaces? How do we augment this better understanding of reality?

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Investing in Futures is a two day speculative worlding workshop in which you and your classmates will co-imagine worlds (some absurd, impossible, likely, or improbable) and inhabit them through conversation, craft, and play.

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In this experimental seven week seminar/studio, we’ll explore media meant to be experienced from a first person point of view (ie, training simulations, found footage horror, first person shooters, Go Pro videos, VR).

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This course provides a fresh look at new and revised curatorial, artistic and technological frameworks that explore the decoupling of art and technology from capitalist, colonial and draconian systems. By employing ‘reverse engineering’ as a conceptual tool for repair and repatriations, students will collectively rethink social, cultural and political systems pertaining to monetary, ethical, racial, human, machine learning structures via an artist and curatorially driven lens.

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This two-point workshop covers the basics of paper engineering techniques (including folds, layers, dials and pull-tabs) to make movable designs that can be incorporated into your work. Weekly assignments and a final project.

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This course aims to provide students with the analytical skills to interpret current trends, policies and problems into futuristic (5+ years) product proposals and the thought leadership and communication skills to clearly articulate and pitch those ideas.

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A new world is emerging at the intersections of machine learning and physical computation that will offer wide-scale access to bringing intelligence to everyday devices and spaces at extremely low costs. In this course, students are offered the opportunity to become pioneers in a new field of hardware machine learning as they are introduced to the most used machine learning platform in the world…

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This class looks at “creative signal processing” in the same way we look at “creative coding” – celebrating our ability to manipulate signals – functions and blocks of information that travel across time, frequency, and space – in the wider context of human perception, communication, and culture.

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Society has always dreamed about humans coexisting with automatons, robots and talking machines that fit into every facet of daily life. As a consequence of computation and the internet leaving the flat screen, alternative forms of human-machine relationships are increasingly becoming more ubiquitous. Designing for these new machines brings novel challenges and requires a different approach.

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Today we no longer solely connected to the digital world through computers. The result of this push to connect the digital and the analog world is the increasing necessity for low cost, low power, and self-contained electronics. This course is an applications-driven intro to electronics for inventors.

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Inspired by the Japanese art of Chindōgu, this class will introduce a playful and whimsical approach to learn industrial design. In this 14-week studio format class, students will develop gadgets, inventions, and electronic devices that present absurd solutions to problems, while learning concepts and techniques of design ideation, prototyping, model making, CMF (color, material, and finishes), and manufacturing.

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In this precarious and critical time, it is important to expand and evolve our ecosystem of thought away from the current hierarchies that prioritize the established frameworks of the Anthropocene. There is vast potential in combining emerging technologies and artistic expression to re-envision possible futures and ways of knowing/learning.

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Recognizing patterns is how we make sense of the world. It is this that distinguishes signal from noise, sense from senselessness, and one feeling from another. This class investigates the emotional impact of patterns in our lives, computational techniques in crafting patterns, and ways in which these patterns can be translated into experiences that can be felt.

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Computers are able to understand human speech better than ever before, but voice technology is still mostly used for practical (and boring!) purposes, like playing music, smart home control, or customer service phone trees. What else can we experience in the very weird, yet intuitive act of talking out loud to machines?

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Live streaming is so seamlessly embedded into our online experience. We lay in bed, on our phones watching hearts flicker across the screen as the person we’re watching greets all of the competing messages in the chat, asking for birthday shout outs and follow-backs. While the ability to live stream feels more accessible than ever, it feels very tied to corporate structures, branding and self promotion.

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Rules of play shape competitive games from checkers to football. But how do the unspoken rules of interaction shape everyday life? And what happens when there are no established conventions and the rules are being made up as we go along, as they have been for the past 8 months of living with social distancing?

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So much of life is circumstance, being in the right place at the right moment in time. Can we shape a life or at least a few brief moments of one by designing a space for it to inhabit? In this course, we will treat space as a time-based medium and ask how experiential spaces can generate narratives that are lived rather than told.

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To be a VR creator, it’s not enough to learn the hard skills—it’s also our responsibility to prime ourselves for the human impact of our work. As a means to design VR that is both enjoyable and accountable, this class proposes we borrow design principles from Hedonomics, a branch of ergonomic science that facilitates pleasurable human-technology interaction.

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In even the tiniest fragment of digital sound (especially music) there lies a multiplicity of information hidden within. Using audio analysis techniques, this data can be distilled into a vast array of characteristics that describe various different features of the sound. These include things like the loudness, pitch, or the spectrum of frequencies being detected.

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This course introduces students to modalities for creating site-specific and immersive art and performance. Assignments will examine the work of artists who challenge the limitations of the physical, psychological and transactional spaces that have come to define conventional production models. Students will regularly receive prompts from which collaborative work will be workshopped, generated and presented.

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Cybernetics is the study of how we shape and are shaped by systems. What can it teach us about the ideological and sexual reproduction of gender and sexism? How does sex become gender and what are the politics surrounding who gets reproduced? This class is a hybrid coding, critical theory, and art production class.

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Tier 3 – Thesis

Students register for a final project seminar that is designed to help them define and execute their final projects. It is structured as a series of critique and presentation sessions in which various aspects of individual projects are discussed. Critique sessions are a combination of internal sessions (i.e., the class only) and reviews by external guest critics. Students are expected to complete and present a fully articulated thesis project and related documentation by the end of their last semester. Thesis takes place over 2 semesters in the students’ second year (part 1 for 2 credits in the Fall, and part 2 for 2 credits in the Spring semester).

Tier 3 Courses

This course focuses on the Design, User Testing, and Production of the final Thesis project. Students will meet with the Thesis Advisor bi-weekly, often in small study groups or 1:1 meetings. Prerequisite: Thesis Part 1: Research and Development. All other students will take the traditional 4.0-unit Thesis course.

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Part 1 focuses on research and concept development. Students will have the time to explore deeply into their areas of interest, narrow their focus and, finally, develop a concept and plan for their final thesis project. They will be structured assignments throughout on research methodologies and concept development techniques.

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