Practicum in Digital Cultures and Creativity
Instructor: Evan Golub egolubUMD@gmail.com

Class Web Page

This website will be be used to post readings, assignments, etc. Any official announcements will be posted here. You may receive e-mail informing you of emergency announcements, but you are responsible for checking the main class site regularly.

Meeting Time

Mondays 3:30pm until 5:15pm in PFR 0111.


One of the HDCC208x courses and a capstone proposal.

Course Description

This two-credit research practicum serves as the culmination of your coursework in the Design Cultures & Creativity Program in the Honors College. It is designed to support your individual (or collaborative) capstone project by exploring the major issues and questions associated with conducting research and undertaking a project with digital ties and framed within the context of cultures and creativity. Given the interdisciplinary nature of DCC, each project will be highly individualized thereby providing the unique opportunity for co-learning structured around discussion, experimentation and group feedback. Through this course you will be asked to synthesize information, demonstrate intellectual curiosity and resourcefulness, as well as develop critical thinking and creative problem solving skills. Particular emphasis will be placed on professional development and situating your research in the context of a larger community of creative thinkers, artists and designers.

All students must work on a "DCC Capstone Project" for this semester. This project might be the start of a longer-term project, but it must have a set of goals of its own for the purposes of this course. Before the beginning of the semester, each student will have developed a proposal for such a project and received feedback. During the semester you will potentially refine the project description and scope, undertake the project while interacting with an example stakeholder, and in addition to your final project outcome have documented and presented on your project's progress. In addition to the project itself, there will be course topics and reflections assigned.

Some Outcomes

  • You will gain practical experience from inception to implementation on the methods, skills, tools and systems that can be used for completing a significant, realistic, and creative project with digital connections.
  • You will each have demonstrated your ability to express project motivations and goals, lessons learned, and challenges faced via written and public presentations.
  • You will experience peer-review of your work through feedback given during and after class presentations.
  • You will gain an understanding of, and be able to discuss, issues in topics related to research such as citations, attribution, copyright, and project development.
  • You will gain an understanding of different research methodologies and demonstrate the ability to choose and use appropriate technologies to communicate a final project.
  • Through research, writing, and an oral presentation, you will develop critical thinking skills and gain experience speaking publicly and sharing your work.

    Major Course Deliverables

    Project, Artifacts, Report, and Presentations: As you work on developing your project you will be creating a record of your work in several ways. One of these is through the artifacts of your work itself, so be sure to keep them. This will include your final creation, but will likely also include things such as intermediate versions, drawings, photos, comments others make, etc. You will report on your progress to the class in a presentation, undertake a dress rehearsal of your capstone fair presentation with either a final or a penultimate version of your creation, give a final presentation to share what you have accomplished, and submit a written report about your project.

    Research and Reflections Journal: Over the course of the semester you will use a Google Doc as a research journal. Each day you work on your project should be documented by you with the approximate amount of time you worked that day. At the end of wach week you will add a brief summary of your sense of that week's accomplishments and/or surprises, especially with reference to your target timeline. You should incorporate images, drawings, schematics etc. when appropriate. In addition to being a part of our regular communication, this journal and status reports might prove very useful in writing your final report as well. This is due weekly every Sunday by midnight.

    In addition to the above, for the first six full weeks of the semester you will be presented with one or more "reflection prompts" upon which to write. These prompts (with the exception the 6th) will be designed to be fairly open and you are free to write about whatever you like so long as it is related to the prompt and reflects on your project. Each reflection should be 500 to 750 words in length.

    Tentative Class Schedule

  • 01/30: Class Introduction and Elevator Pitchs
  • 02/06: "Users and Tasks"
  • 02/13: Research Ethics and Human Subjects
  • 02/20: Prototyping and Iterative Design
  • 02/27: Working Lab and Feedback
  • 03/06: Critique, not criticize
  • 03/13: Mid-Point 10-minute Presentations
  • 03/20: Spring Break
  • 03/27: Working Lab and Feedback
  • 04/03: Working Lab and Feedback
  • 04/10: Preliminary Demos
  • 04/17: Small-Group Peer Feedback
  • 04/24: Final Presentations
  • 05/01: Final Presentations
  • 05/08: DCC 106 meetings / Dress Rehearsal

    Anticipated Grading and Deadlines

    Grading ItemDue Date(s)Percent of Grade
    Research and Reflections JournalEach week by Sunday at 11:59pm10%
    Elevator Pitch01/30 in class5%
    Updated Proposal
    (with a "Why this, why you?" addition)
    02/05 by 11:59pm10%
    Stakeholder InterviewQuestions by 02/13 before class
    Write-up by 03/06 before class
    Scenarios and Users02/20 before class5%
    Mid-Point Presentation03/13 in class10%
    Final Presentation04/24 & 05/01 in class15%
    Project Poster PDF05/07 by Sunday at 11:59pm5%
    Dress Rehearsal05/08 in class10%
    Final Write-upAt final exam time.15%
    Class ParticipationOngoing!10%

    Required Readings

    All required readings (course slides, book excerpts, etc.) will be posted on the class website as PDFs or provided as links to online resources.

    Computing Policy

    DCC is a program that actively utilizes emerging technologies to explore new methods of learning and scholarship. We welcome and encourage the use of laptops, tablets, and similar electronic devices in class for note-taking or class-related research. However, all phones must be turned off or set to vibrate prior to entering the classroom. Students who consult non-course related content on electronic devices during class (such as checking e-mail, texting, or shopping) will be asked to leave.

    Academic Integrity

    The University of Maryland, College Park has a nationally recognized Code of Academic Integrity, administered by the Student Honor Council. This Code sets standards for academic integrity at Maryland for all undergraduate and graduate students. As a student you are responsible for upholding these standards for this course. It is very important for you to be aware of the consequences of cheating, fabrication, facilitation, and plagiarism. Cheating includes: reusing portions of coursework for credit, allowing others to prepare work, and utilizing external aids including commercial term paper and internet companies. If you have a question regarding any of the above or the code in general, consult immediately with one of the instructors. For more information on the Code of Academic Integrity or the Student Honor Council, please visit their What is the Code of Academic Integrity? document.

    Plagiarism and Citations

    The definition of plagiarism is broader than commonly assumed. The following is from the model DCC syllabus. Plagiarism includes: direct quotation, paraphrasing, summarization, and fabrication of materials. If you use any source in your work without correctly citing the work, this constitutes plagiarism. All quotations taken from other authors, including paraphrasing and all sources from the Internet (including Wikipedia, blogs, and forums) and other digital media, must be indicated by quotation marks and properly referenced. When writing a blog or blog comment, cite at least the author's name and enough information for a reader to find the work on their own (e.g. a hyperlink if available.) If you are ever uncertain about your need to cite something or how to do so, please contact the instructor before turning in your work. Any source that you draw ideas and quotes from must be cited accurately. If you use any source in your work without correctly citing the work, this constitutes plagiarism. Any intentional plagiarism will result in referal to the Office of Student Conduct. If it is determined that an act of academic dishonesty has occurred, a grade of XF is considered the normal sanction for undergraduate students. The grade of XF is noted on the academic transcript as failure due to academic dishonesty. Lesser or more severe sanctions may be imposed when there are circumstances to warrant such consideration. Suspension or expulsion from the University may be imposed even for a first offense. Allegations of any act of academic dishonesty will be reported directly to the Student Honor Council.

    Types of plagiarism include:
    1. Buying papers, borrowing papers, or recycling former papers unrevised and claiming these types of papers as your own for your assignment in this course.
    2. Cutting and pasting parts of a webpage or borrowing passages from a book for your paper without properly citing these parts and claiming the material as your own for the expressed intent of cheating.
    3. Using another's creative work such as photos, data visualizations or artwork without proper credit or alteration.

    Religious Observance

    In accordance with UMD and DCC policy, absence will not be penalized, however, it is the student's responsibility to inform the instructor by e-mail of any religious observances that will conflict with your attendance, assignment deadlines, or final exam. The student should provide emailed notification to the instructor by the end of the second week of the term; the notification must identify the religious holiday(s) and the date(s). If this notification is not given to the instructor by this date, all missed assignments, quizzes, and exams are subject to grade penalties.

    Learning Assistance Service

    If you are experiencing difficulties in keeping up with the academic demands of this course, contact the Learning Assistance Service, 2202 Shoemaker Building, 301-314-7693. Their educational counselors can help with time management, reading, math learning skills, note-taking and exam preparation skills. All their services are free to UMD students (www.counseling.umd.edu/LAS).

    Students with Disabilities

    The University of Maryland is committed to providing appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities. In accordance with UMD and DCC policy, students with a documented disability should inform the instructors within the add-drop period if academic accommodations are needed. To obtain an Accommodation Letter prepared by Disability Support Service (DSS), a division of the University Counseling Center, please call 301-314-7682, e-mail dissup@umd.edu, or visit the Shoemaker Building for more information.

    University-Wide Items

    University-wide course policy information of course applies as well. There will also be course evaluations for student feedback that I and the department and the faculty in general take seriously. Towards the end of the semester, students can visit www.CourseEvalUM.umd.edu to complete their evaluations.

    Copyright Notice

    Class materials are copyrighted and may not be reproduced for anything other than for your personal use without written permission from instructor.

    This syllabus is subject to modification at any time according to the instructor's discretion but any such modification will be announced and discussed.