Live Web - Fall 2019 - 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's JavaScript Essential Training
  • 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
  • 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
    Example from Class
  • Improve on the example, 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.
  • 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 25

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

  • Class 5: October 2

    The AV Web Part 2: Involving Everyone: Multiuser Audio/Video
    Running your own Peer JS Server
    Example from Class
    Screencast from Class
  • 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 9

    Midterm Project Ideas
    Review - Extra Help - Misc Topics
    Web Audio API
    Audio Example from Class
  • Midterm Project: Choose a presentation slot and link to your project site/documentation

  • Class 7: October 16

    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 23

    Manipulating Video and Saving Files on Node.js
    Screen Recording from Class Part 1
    Screen Recording from Class Part 2
  • Create a new project or update an existing project saving image files or using Media Recorder

  • Class 9: October 30

    Simple Server Side Databases and Chat + Database Example
    WebRTC Data Channels: Notes
  • Update an earlier project or create something new that utilizes NeDB for data storage and persistance.

  • Class 10: November 6

    Going Beyond: Live Data from the physical world (Arduino) Example
    Going Beyond: Mobile and Live Data from other sources (Web Services) Notes
    Screen Recording fro Class Part 1
    Screen Recording fro Class Part 2

  • 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 13

    Field Trip: CultureHub
    Final Project Proposals - We'll be meeting in Manhattan on the 4th Fl of 721 Broadway in the Conference Room.

    Class 12: November 20

    Streaming Kinect Data
    Traditional Streaming
    Final Project Workshop, Additional Topics: Fun with Surveillance Cameras
    Face Tracking, FFMPEG, Surveillance Cameras, Socket Servers with Unity, Electron Apps, or Chrome Extensions

    Class 13: December 4

    User Testing and Feedback

    Class 14: December 11

    Final Project Presentations - Expect Guests Final Project Presentation Schedule Documentation due TBD. Update link in document.