Live Web

Instructor: Shawn Van Every
Office Hours: By appointment; Signup here by clicking on an "Office Hours" slot:
Class Wiki:


The World Wide Web has grown up to be a great platform for asynchronous communication such as email and message boards which has extended into media posting and sharing. Recently, with the rise of broadband, more powerful computers and the prevalence of networked media devices, synchronous communications have become more viable. Streaming media, audio and video conference rooms and text based chat give us the ability to create new forms of live interactive experiences for participants.

In this course, we'll focus on the types of content and interaction that can be supported through web based and live interactive technologies as well as explore new concepts around participation. Specifically, we’ll look at new and emerging platforms on the web such as HTML5, WebSockets and WebRTC using JavaScript and Node.js.

Experience with web technologies are (HTML and JavaScript) are helpful but not required. ICM level programming experience is required.


Grades will be determined according to the following breakdown:


It is expected that everyone in the class will create and maintain a blog for their assignments.

Be sure to enter your name, preferred email address and the URL to your blog (you can always edit this later) on the class wiki.


This class is very participatory in nature and discussions will certainly take place outside of the classroom. Along with the blog, one of the primary vehicles for these discussions (as well as administrative issues) will be the listserv.

Laptops and Mobile Devices

I think laptops and mobile devices are a valuable tool for use in the classroom; unfortunately, they can very easily be a distraction. We are going to be exploring a variety of models for live interaction online and therefore laptops and mobile devices will prove very useful not to mention for taking notes and following along with examples. We should though be courteous to one another though and when we have outside guests, during discussion or student presentations laptop and phone use should be avoided.

Weekly Assignments

We will have weekly assignments that are relevant to material from the previous class. Due to the nature of the assignments, it is likely that you will want to work with other students as well as participate with the projects of your fellow students as testers.

Attendance and Tardiness

Attendance is mandatory. Please inform me via email if you are going to miss a class. Habitually showing up late for class or absences will adversely affect your grade. Two lates equals one absence and two unexcused absences will lead to a failing grade.

Class Participation

As if I haven't said this enough. This class will be participatory, you are expected to participate in discussions and give feedback to other students both in class and participate with their projects. This (along with attendance) is 20% of your overall grade.

Group Project

Starting on the 3rd class, we will have weekly group project presentations. I will divide the class up into groups and each week one or two groups will be expected to present and have the class test a project utilizing technology from the previous class. Some ideas are to reimagine chat with emoji, develop a multiplayer game, put on a live interactive game show, and so on.

Final Projects

Class will culminate final projects. It is expected that these will be both technology and concept driven.


I will periodically assign readings (handouts and/or online articles). The listserve will provide a valuable tool for link sharing as well.

Class Schedule

Class 1: September 5

Introductions What is the "live" web? (Synchronous vs. Asynchronous)
HTML5 and Client Side JavaScript: JavaScript 101 and Media Elements
  • Add your name, preferred email address, and blog URL to the class wiki
  • Signup for the Listserv
  • If you want more basic JavaScript, go through Codeacademy's JavaScript Course, Also,'s JavaScript Essential Training looks pretty good as well
  • Using HTML5's video or audio tags along with JavaScript, create an interactive self portrait. Link to it on your blog.
  • Find a live or synchronous site or platform online. Try it out. Describe it on your blog. How is it used? What do you find interesting about it? Come to class prepared to discuss.

  • Class 2: September 12

    JavaScript 102: Becoming Live AJAX, and WebSockets
    Serverside JavaScript: Node.js
    The foundation: Chat
  • Get up and running with Node.js on Digital Ocean and the example Chat Application. Try to extend it a bit, make it better, more fun.

  • Class 3: September 19

    Transmitting Other Data Types: Collaborative Drawing, Mouse Events, Other data: Notes
    The Canvas
    JavaScript 103: Objects and JSON
    In Class Example: chatplus
  • Improve on the canvas drawing examples. What kind of visual collaboration would you like to see? What else could be shared this way?
  • Email me your NetID and Digital Ocean Server IP and I'll setup to point to your server. We'll need this done for next class!

  • Class 4: September 16

    The Live AV Web: HTML5 Audio and Video with WebRTC and HTTPS
  • Enhance one of your last 2 assignments (or create a new one) with the ability to share camera images.

  • Class 5: October 3

    The AV Web Part 2: Involving Everyone: Multiuser Audio/Video
    Running your own Peer JS Server
  • Get up and running with Live Audio/Video using Peer JS
  • Come up with an idea for a midterm project, blog about it, prepare to discuss in class.

  • Class 6: October 10

  • Midterm Project: Choose a presentation slot and link to your project site/documentation

  • Class 7: October 17

    Midterms Due
  • Document your midterm, link to it in your blog but also make sure the documentation link is up to date.
  • Class 8: October 24

    WebRTC Data Channels: Notes
    Field Trip: CultureHub to meet with Billy Clark and Jesse Ricke and to checkout LiveLab
  • Recreate an earlier project using WebRTC Data Channels OR build a new simple peer to peer data sharing project

  • Class 9: October 31

    Guest: Sam Gregory from WITNESS
    Going Beyond: Live Data from the physical world (Arduino) Example
  • Try using data from mobile, physical, or web sources
  • Get your blogs up to date

  • Class 10: November 7

    Streaming Kinect Data: Special Guest, Lisa Jamhoury, Kinectron
    Traditional Streaming: Notes
    Shiffman Studio Tour: with guide Kyle Greenberg
  • Prepare a final project proposal; in a blog post include a short description of the idea, a bit of background (why you want to make it), include any references, and start thinking about how you will develop it.

  • Class 11: November 14

    Special Guest, Rubin; the Teleroomba and Live 360 Streaming
    Final Project Proposals

    MAKE UP CLASS: Friday November 17

    Final Project Proposals
    ITP Talk and Demo: John Thompson - DICE
    Going Beyond: Mobile and Live Data from other sources (Web Services) Notes

    Class 12: November 21

    Final Project Workshop, Additional Topics: Desktop Apps with Electron

    Class 13: November 28

    Final Project Workshop, Additional Topics: Fun with Surveillance Cameras

    Class 14: December 5

    Final Project Testing

    Bonus: December 12

    Final Project Presentations - Expect Guests Final Project Presentation Schedule - Sign Up Now