Designing Interactivity


Designing Interactivity was one of my first adventures into teaching. I quickly discovered, doing and teaching are not as closely related as one might think. My whole intent, my whole philosophy of design is connecting humans to humans, not connecting humans to technology. I found myself asking, how does one teach a very technical skill and not lose sight of the end goal? How can a professor share his or her knowledge gathered over decades in 3 hours a week? The answers have been slowly coming to light: hour by hour, class by class.  

Demonstrating how communication technology can help others offered me the ability to bring humanity back to the center of class. I would reference and dissect online campaigns and applications that brought life to communities and offered a voice to the voiceless. This is the reason to learn, this is the motivation. 

As I stumbled forward I found decimating information, especially technical information, had to be a step-by-step process, achieved by meticulous attention to detail and massive preparation. I had never done that and I had no idea how to, but I made it work. I prepared the best I could and made myself very available to students. I was transparent in that my first class knew I worked diligently and with heart, teaching to the best of my ability. 

At the end of that first semester I had found a new respect for teachers: I had no idea what it took, but I do now. Iā€™m better for knowing and so are my students. Some good work came out of that class, such as the Jerk Magazine WordPress theme.


  • Taught course twice early in my time at Newhouse. 
  • The overall goal for the course is to teach basic techniques and technologies to create a website.



  • A mix of juniors, seniors and graduate students. 
  • 15ā€“20 students 
  • Technology taught: CSS, HTML, ActionScript, Adobe flash and Dreamweaver. 



  • Learn what it takes to have a successful web experience. Explore core design concepts and their applications to interactive design. 
  • Develop the skills necessary to bring your ideas to life, the nuts and bolts of web design, including basic understanding of HTML, CSS, XML, jQuery, MySQL, PHP, Flash & Dreamweaver. 
  • Help guide users to connect with information in a useful and intuitive way.