Unpacking Impact

Undergraduate and Graduate Class, MIT Media Lab, 2015

Creating impact is a hallmark goal of many projects and collaborations with the Media Lab. What does this impact look like to you? What are its boundaries, contexts, and possible unintended consequences? How can students learn to design with this awareness?

In this course I co-taught with Ricarose Roque and Sayamindu Dasgupta, we take a reflective and critical look into the wider implications of technologies in society, developing intentional awareness on those implications in our design, making, and research. The class included graduate students from the MIT Media Lab, Comparative Media studies, the Sloan Business school, and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, as well as advanced undergraduates.

Through student-driven projects, weekly readings and case studies, discussions with invited speakers, and blog posts, we will examine the contexts of our work — where technologies take shape, the audiences these technologies seek to address, and the design approaches, research methods, and the ethics surrounding these technologies. Students will also develop a major project of their choice, designing something new or investigating the wider implications of an ongoing project, which they will present at the end of the course. Ultimately, this course challenges students to develop an idea of what impact means to them and their projects, supporting them to become more confident and critical designers, makers, and researchers.

Course materials

Blog posts about the course