Live Web - Fall 2018 - Syllabus

Instructor: Shawn Van Every
Office Hours: Signup for an appointment
Presentation Schedule


The World Wide Web is a great platform for asynchronous communication such as email and message boards and extended into media posting and sharing. With the rise of broadband, more powerful computers, always on and connected mobile devices, synchronous communications have become more viable. Streaming media, audio and video conferencing and realtime 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 on this Google Doc. (Note: You must be using Google Docs with your NYU login in order to edit this document).

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 stated 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).

Class Schedule

Class 1: September 4

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 this Google Doc. (Note: You must be using Google Docs with your NYU login in order to edit this document).
  • 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 11

    Presentation Schedule
    JavaScript 102: Becoming Live AJAX, and WebSockets
    Serverside JavaScript: Node.js
    The foundation: Chat
    Screencast Video from Class Part 1
    Screencast Video from Class Part 2
  • 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 18

    Transmitting Other Data Types: Collaborative Drawing, Mouse Events, Other data: Notes
    The Canvas
    JavaScript 103: Objects and JSON
    Screencast Video from Class
    In Class Example: Chat + Blink + Drawing
  • Improve on the examples, send a different type of event to the server and to the clients. This could be a collaborative drawing program or a means to control other people's experience.
  • Download and try out the Citizen app. What do you think?
  • 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: October 2

    The Live AV Web: HTML5 Audio and Video with WebRTC and HTTPS
    Example from Class
    Screencast Video from Class Part 1
    Screencast Video from Class Part 2
    Screencast Video from Class Part 3
  • Enhance one of your last 2 assignments (or create a new one) with the ability to share camera images.

  • Class 5: October 9

    The AV Web Part 2: Involving Everyone: Multiuser Audio/Video
    Screencast Video from Class
    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 16

    Midterm Project Ideas
    Review - Extra Help - Misc Topics
  • Midterm Project: Choose a presentation slot and link to your project site/documentation

  • Class 7: October 23

    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 30

    Manipulating Video and Saving Files on Node.js
    Simple Server Side Databases and Chat + Database Example
    Screencast Video from Class Part 1
    Screencast Video from Class Part 2
    Examples from Class
  • Create a new project or update an existing project using a database, saving files, or using Media Recorder

  • Class 9: November 6

    WebRTC Data Channels: Notes
    Going Beyond: Live Data from the physical world (Arduino) Example
    Going Beyond: Mobile and Live Data from other sources (Web Services) Notes

  • Recreate an earlier project using WebRTC Data Channels OR build a new simple peer to peer data sharing project
  • Create a simple project which involves using data from mobile device sensors or is developed for "mobile first" and uses live audio/video/data OR a simple project which uses an Arduino with a simple sensor to display data in a browser.

  • Class 10: November 13

    Field Trip: CultureHub
    Streaming Kinect Data
    Traditional Streaming

  • 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 20

    Final Project Proposals

    Class 12: November 27

    Final Project Workshop, Additional Topics: Desktop Apps with Electron

    Class 13: December 4

    User Testing and Feedback

    Class 14: December 11

    Final Project Presentations - Expect Guests Final Project Presentation Schedule Documentation due on Friday 12/14. Update link in document.