Live Web - Fall 2020 - Syllabus

Instructor: Shawn Van Every
Office Hours: Signup for an appointment
Location: Zoom
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 2

Introductions What is the "live" web? (Synchronous vs. Asynchronous)
HTML5 and Client Side JavaScript: JavaScript 101 and Media Elements
Class Recording
HTML 5 Media Elements Recording
Examples from Videos
  • 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 16

    Presentation Schedule
    JavaScript 102: Becoming Live AJAX, and WebSockets
    Serverside JavaScript: Node.js
    The foundation: Chat
    Class Recording
  • 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 23

    Transmitting Other Data Types: Collaborative Drawing, Mouse Events, Other data: Notes
    The Canvas
    JavaScript 103: Objects and JSON
    Class Recording
    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 30

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

  • Class 5: October 7

    The AV Web Part 2: Involving Everyone: Multiuser Audio/Video
    Old: PeerJS Week 5 Notes and Running your own PeerJS Server
    Recording from Class
  • Get up and running with Live Audio/Video
  • Come up with an idea for a midterm project, blog about it, prepare to discuss in class.

  • Class 6: October 14

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

  • Class 7: October 21

    Midterms Due
    Recording from Class
  • Document your midterm, link to it in your blog but also make sure the documentation link is up to date.
  • Class 8: October 28

    Guest Presentation: Aidan Nelson - three.js and WebRTC together (and YORB 2020)
    Manipulating Video and Saving Files on Node.js
    Screen Recording
  • Create a new project or update an existing project saving image files or using Media Recorder

  • Class 9: November 4

    Guest Presentation: Billy Clark from CultureHub
    Simple Server Side Databases and Chat + Database Example
    WebRTC Data Channels: Notes
    OLD Peer.JS Notes
    Class Recording
  • Find an inspirational project to show in class
  • Update an earlier project or create something new that utilizes NeDB for data storage and persistance.

  • Class 10: November 11

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

  • 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 18

    Final Project Proposals

    Class 12: November 25

    Traditional Streaming + OBS
    Recording from Class

    Class 13: December 2

    SFUs - Using Servers with WebRTC
    Class Recording

    Class 14: December 9

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