[MACS265] Innovation Illinois - F2019


Course Description
Where do transformative, world-changing innovations come from? How do they emerge? Who’s behind them? What makes them transformative?  Innovation Illinois introduces the histories of the varied, world-changing interdisciplinary innovations from the University of Illinois that bridged students and researchers in engineering, humanities, sciences and the arts. We will explore how local histories of Illinois innovations help us understand today’s innovation trends and processes, from contemporary accessibility design and wheelchair sports and kneeling buses, to computer-composed music, online education, public media, and the first massively-used Internet browser. During the duration of the course, we’ll work together in student teams that mix perspectives from different parts of our campus to imagine, research, and develop—via paper, multimedia, and code-based prototypes--future innovation ideas. We’ll be introduced and get to experiment with mixed media resources and prototyping methods, spanning on and offline archives, digital editing, low and high-fidelity prototyping, and online data collection. We’ll also visit campus sites and speak to key figures related to Illinois’ world-changing interdisciplinary innovation histories and collaborations. Our work will culminate in a research project that surveys interdisciplinary practice on our campus, and explores innovation as a practice that necessarily emerges from creative innovation cultures that cross the arts, humanities, social sciences, and computer science.
Projects will use a variety of primary sources, from interviews and news media to data collected online and materials drawn from the University Archives. Your work over the duration of the course will build oral and written communication skills, skills in interdisciplinary team collaboration, accessibility in user interfaces, critique, and skills in mixed methods for research and design. By the conclusion of the course, students will be able to recognize and narrate various “Illinois firsts” that will inform their design and innovation practice well after they leave the campus. You will further have the chance to explore a means to extend an Illinois’ legacy with design exercises that address accessibility and inclusivity.
All readings and media resources for the course are available through the Readings/Schedule page.
Team Project and Paper
Students in mixed teams will develop a research project that explores innovation’s multidisciplinarity, and survey creative innovation practices across UIUC’s campus. In mixed teams, students will develop surveys that gather feedback on what inspires, supports and foster innovation practices in diverse settings across the campus and local communities – and will gather resources from archives to develop insights on relevant past innovation practices. Students in teams will also co-produce a mixed media or digital project of their choosing (ie. a series of video shorts, a podcast series, a series of themed Wikipedia entries, an online interview archive, a data collection application, etc.) that highlights individual contributions of student survey findings for new audiences interested in interdisciplinary innovations. Teams will meet with the course instructors to consult on project ideas. All projects will incorporate materials from the University Archives, coverage from The Daily Illini or Illinois news resource, online data (learning how to assess reliability of online data) and a brief sound or video recording. All project teams will also design an outreach and communications strategy as part of the project deliverable. Projects should also include a bibliography of relevant resources. No prior experience in media production, working with archived materials, or Web design is required. We will walk through these processes in preparation for final projects.
Students will also develop a short white paper - of 8-10 pages - that summarizes insights from survey results, and draws upon readings and resources from the class to put your findings in dialogue with what’s been documented on past Illinois innovation practice. Final papers will present a full bibliography of all sources the student project draws from. Students must incorporate and properly cite (in a citation style of their choosing) at least five sources from the syllabus, and must incorporate at least three additional sources. For information on citation, Purdue OWL is highly recommended.
Team projects and the final paper are due at the start of our final class session, in which students will present their projects to the class. There will be no final exam for this course. ;]
Weekly readings will be posted to our class’ shared Scalar site. Students will each create their own individual Scalar workspace to post assignments to on Day 1 of class.  The registration key you will need to use to set up your Scalar site will be: Rm3pPd0#s7

Weekly assignments with reactions (min. 1 page) to the readings and lab exercises should be posted to your workspace, and the link sent to the instructor team by 8P on the night before next class. Reactions should either respond to a specific question given to you in advance or identify arguments, common themes, oppositions, and issues worthy of further discussion from the texts. Use of visuals are terrific, but should not be used as filler or in place of analysis. No incompletes/makeups are assigned.
Participation: 20%
Weekly Scalar blogs: 30%
Survey proposal: 10%
Team project: 20%
Final paper: 20%
Please Note: Instructors are available for questions after class and by appointment. Paper drafts, paper content, and grades will not be commented on via email.

Attendance Policy:
Attendance will be recorded for each class, so be on time. Unexcused late arrivals and early departures may count as absences and diminish your grade for class participation. If you must be absent, it is your responsibility to inform me beforehand or submit a valid excuse immediately upon returning to class. Excuses for absences during the course will not be accepted at the end of the semester. Accumulating three unexcused absences will automatically lower your grade by half a letter grade (ie. a B to a C). Accumulating five unexcused absences will result in a full letter grade lowering. More than 8 absences will result in an automatic failure.
Tech Policy:
Laptops in class are just fine. We'll often make use of laptops in class for activities. BUT: do keep activities relevant to class. This is just basic courtesy to the class and your classmates. Activity otherwise will warrant an invitation to be excused from class as an unexcused absence. Also: When using the class website and online platform, do not edit or alter any content you did not author. Obstructions of such nature could result in automatic failure. 
Academic Integrity:
UIUC Student Code of Policies and Regulations specifies that students must refrain from violations of academic integrity (cheating, plagiarism, fabrication and other forms of obstruction); from behavior that may lead to suspicion of such violations; and from behavior that helps others commit such violations. You can read the Code at: http://www.admin.uiuc.edu/policy/code/