HDCC 106, Section 0501

Mobile Media Design and Culture


Tuesday – Thursday 3:00-4:15pm


Dr. Jason Farman

Email: jasonfarman@gmail.com

Office: 0123 Prince Frederick Hall

Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1:30-3:00pm or by appointment

Office Phone: 301.405.2866

Course Website: https://dccmobile.wordpress.com

Course Lynda.com Playlist: http://www.lynda.com/SharedPlaylist/e3419956ac0c46afb1b3afff3ccc3885?org=umd.edu


Description: The most pervasive digital technology on the planet at the moment is the mobile device. Mobile media are being used in a wide range of ways globally and making tremendous impacts on the ways people communicate, document the world, share news, consume entertainment, live social and romantic lives, and create art (to name a few). How we design for such a rich ecosystem with different expectations and uses from one region to the next? How does cultural studies inform the ways we can be thoughtful in our approach to mobile design? This course looks at a range of big topics — mobile media history, practices of space & place, medium-specificity, locative media, participant motivation, gaming, materiality and tangibility, creative misuse, and design challenges for the future — and how theory and practice of mobile design can offer some perspectives on these topics. Throughout the course, you will gain a toolkit of design skills including learning HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, and jQuery mobile in order to prototype, test, and launch your own app by the end of the semester.


Required Texts:

All readings are available on Canvas. All Lynda.com video tutorials are available in the playlist linked above in the syllabus header.



  • App Analysis 5%
  • The Things We Carry Photo Project   10%
  • POP Prototype 10%
  • Misguide 10%
  • Final App 35%
    • Proposal (5%)
    • InVision prototype (5%)
    • Usability test notes (5%)
    • Final usable app (20%)
  • Lynda.com notes  15%
  • Quizzes 5%
  • Active Engagement 5%
  • Design Camp Attendance 5%



Reading and video tutorial assignments are listed on the day they will be discussed in class. You are expected to arrive to class having read and watched the works listed. There is roughly 2 hours of work that will need to be done before each class meeting. All assignments are to be turned in before the beginning of class. Computer problems are not an excuse for late work. NO LATE WORK WILL BE ACCEPTED.


Active Engagement:

Your participation is crucial to the learning you will experience in this class. Because this is a discussion-driven and hands-on class, the quality of the class for everyone is in large part dependent on the quality of preparation and visible engagement of each participant. Please realize that although you may have prepared the readings and assignments and may be listening to others, if you do not actively demonstrate your preparation and ideas in discussion, there is no way to observe and, hence, evaluate the quality of your preparation and participation. This process of contributing helps concretize the ideas covered in lectures and will ultimately help you do well on the class project. You may miss up to three classes, however, anything beyond this amount will lower the grade significantly and six missed classes may constitute a failing grade. Attendance is taken only during the first 10 minutes of class. If you are 10 minutes late, this will constitute a tardy. Multiple tardies equate an absence and can affect your grade just as missing a class can. Active engagement is worth 5% of your final grade.


Design Camp Attendance:

Your participation in this course is graded based on your active engagement with the material in class as well as your attendance in 1 Design Camp (which is a 2-part workshop) and 1 of the following: DCC-related workshops, talks from guest speakers, or films. Your attendance in these constitutes 5% of your grade.



You will have two quizzes each week that cover the material in the readings and from lecture. These quizzes, which are mainly multiple choice and matching (with the occasionally short answer question), are designed only to make sure that you are keeping up with the readings and attending lectures. There are no trick questions; if you have done the readings and taken notes on the lectures throughout the week, you will get a good grade on these quizzes. These quizzes are taken on Canvas and must be completed prior to lecture each Tuesday and Thursday. Each quiz will be available on Canvas for 24 hours prior to each lecture. Once lecture begins on these days, the quiz will be closed and cannot be taken if missed. For example, a quiz due by lecture on Tuesday will be available starting at 3pm on Monday and will cover topics discussed in the readings due for that day and may also include questions drawn from last Thursday’s lecture. Quizzes are worth 5% of your grade.


Course Related Links and Resources:

Download the Adobe Creative Cloud applications:

Other Cool Video Tutorials:

InVision Prototyping Tool:


Note on Academic Honesty and Plagiarism: Any source that you draw ideas, quotes, or images from must be cited accurately in your paper in APA or MLA style. If you use any source in your work without correctly citing the work, this constitutes plagiarism. Any intentional plagiarism will result in a failing grade for the assignment and will likely result in a failing grade for the course (and an XF on your transcript).


Students with Disabilities: The University is legally obligated to provide appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities. The campus’ Disability Support Services Office (DSS) works with students and faculty to address a variety of issues ranging from test anxiety to physical and psychological disabilities. If a student or instructor believes that the student may have a disability, they should consult with DSS (4-7682, email Dissup@umd.edu). Note that to receive accommodations, students must first have their disabilities documented by DSS. The office then prepares an Accommodation Letter for course instructors regarding needed accommodations. Students are responsible for presenting this letter to their instructors.


Please Note: This syllabus is subject to change at any time according to the professor’s discretion.  The assignments below may also include readings handed out in class, which each student is responsible for completing.




Week 1: Introduction to Course and Histories of Mobile Media

Tues Jan. 27

  • Overview of Course

Thurs Jan. 29

  • Read: Jon Agar, Constant Touch, Ch. 1-2
  • Lynda.com: HTML, Introduction and Ch. 1-2


Week 2: The Rise of Mobile Technologies

Tues Feb. 3

  • Rich Ling, “Theorizing Mobile Communication in the Intimate Sphere,” from Routledge Companion to Mobile Media
  • Lynda.com: HTML Ch. 3
  • DUE: App Analysis

Thurs Feb. 5

  • Adriana de Souza e Silva, “From Cyber to Hybrid: Mobile Technologies as Interfaces of Hybrid Spaces”
  • Lynda.com: HTML Ch. 4


Week 3: Prototypes

Tues Feb. 10:

  • Brett Oppegaard and Brian Still, “Bodystorming with Hawkin’s Block: Toward a New Methodology for Mobile Media Design”
  • Lynda.com: HTML Ch. 5-6
  • DUE: “The Things We Carry” Photo Assignment

Thurs Feb. 12

  • Steve Krug, Don’t Make Me Think, Ch. 1-3
  • Lynda.com: HTML5: Structure, Syntax, and Semantics Ch. 1-2


Week 4: Medium-Specificity (Case Studies: Baltimore Heritage; iPad apps; Responsive Webpages)

Tues Feb. 17

  • Donald Norman, “The Psychopathology of Everyday Things,” chapter 1 in The Design of Everyday Things
  • Lynda.com: HTML5: Structure, Syntax, and Semantics Ch. 3-4
  • DUE: POP Paper Prototypes

Thurs Feb. 19

  • Jeff Ritchie, “The Affordances and Constraints of Mobile Locative Narratives,” from The Mobile Story
  • Lynda.com: HTML5: Structure, Syntax, and Semantics Ch. 5


Week 5: Locative Media (National Mall; CoMob; soundyarn; Geocaching; Grindr; Tinder)

Tues Feb. 24

  • Rowan Wilken and Gerard Goggin, “Locative Media — Definitions, Histories, and Theories,” from Locative Media
  • Lynda.com: CSS Ch. 1-2

Thurs Feb. 26

  • Raz Schwartz and Germaine R. Halegoua, “The Spatial Self: Location-Based Identity Performance on Social Media”
  • Lynda.com: CSS Ch. 3


Week 6:  Mobile Games and Participant Motivation (Case Studies: 7scenes; Foursquare; ARGs; University of Death)

Tues March 3

  • Jane McGonigal, “SuperGaming: Ubiquitous Play and Performance for Massively Scaled Community,” Modern Drama 48.3 (2005): 471-491.
  • Lynda.com: JavaScript Introduction, Ch. 1-2

Thurs March 5

  • Jordan Frith, “Turing Life into a Game: Foursquare, Gamification, and Personal Mobility”
  • Lynda.com: JavaScript Ch. 3-4


Week 7: Beyond the Screen (Case Studies: These Pages Fall Like Ash; Zombies, Run!; OccupyAR; murmur)

Tues March 10

  • Ben Bunting, “The Geocacher as Placemaker: Remapping Reality through Location-Based Mobile Gameplay,” from The Mobile Story
  • Lynda.com: JavaScript Ch. 5-6
  • DUE: Maryland Misguide

Thurs March 12


Week 8: Spring Break


Week 9: Creative Misuse (Case Studies: Improv Everywhere; TXTual Healing; Glympse

Tues March 24

  • Rita Raley, Tactical Media (selections)
  • Michael Bull, “To Each Their Own Bubble,” from MediaSpace
  • Lynda.com: jQuery Mobile, Introduction, Ch. 1-2

Thurs March 26: No Class

  • Lynda.com: jQuery Mobile Ch. 3-4


Week 10: Challenges and Futures (Case Studies: Broadcastr;

Tues March 31

  • Mark Sample, “Location is Not Compelling (Until It Is Haunted),” from The Mobile Story
  • Lynda.com: jQuery Mobile Ch. 5-6

Thurs April 2

  • Selections/presentations on issues of privacy, ethics, race, obsolescence, and “universal” design
  • Lynda.com: jQuery Mobile Ch. 7-8


Week 11: Lab — Finalizing Projects

Tues April 7

  • Lynda.com: Dreamweaver and PhoneGap, Introduction, Ch. 1-4
  • Make sure you have Dreamweaver CC on your computer
  • Download and run Android and iOS SDKs

Thurs April 9

  • Lynda.com: Dreamweaver and PhoneGap, Ch. 5 [Ready to build/deploy apps by this date]


Week 12: Lab — Initial Designs

Tues April 14

  • Lynda.com: Dreamweaver and PhoneGap, Ch. 6
  • DUE: Project Proposals

Thurs April 16

  • Lynda.com: Dreamweaver and PhoneGap, Ch. 7


Week 13: Lab — Implementation

Tues April 21

  • Lynda.com: PhoneGap Build, entire course

Thurs April 23

  • DUE: InVision Prototype


Week 14: Lab — Implementation

Tues April 28

  • DUE: Lynda.com Notes

Thurs April 30


Week 15: Lab — Usability Testing

Tues May 5

Thurs May 7


Week 16: Lab — Project Revisions

Tues May 12

  • DUE: Usability Testing Notes


Week 17: Finals Week

Final Projects Due: Wednesday, May 20