Course Information

Design Studies 501 : Design in Virtual Reality Fall 2015

T/Th 1:00PM – 2:15PM

Kevin Ponto

Office Hours:
T/Th 2:15-3:00PM (Right after class) or by appointment

Course Objectives:
This course introduces students to the field of Virtual Reality and focuses on creating immersive, interactive virtual experiences. Topics include:
• Historical Perspectives on Virtual Reality Technology
• Computer Graphics and 3-D Modeling
• Human Perception and Psychology
• Human Computer Interaction
• User Interface Design

TextBook: This class will not have a textbook. All course readings will be posted online

PreReqs: This course has no official pre-requirements. Students will be learning new skill sets and will be expected to be strongly motivated.

Course Fee: There is no course fee. Students will be expected to provide their own materials.

Anticipated Audience: Students may have backgrounds in Design Studies, Computer Science, Art, Electrical / Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Industrial Engineering.

Course Format: The course will be comprised of readings, discussions, assignments and projects. All readings will be posted online and discussion will occur the following week. We will have a few assignments to get everyone up to speed. Final projects will occur in teams and will include multiple project pitches.

1. Students are responsible to be aware of announcements on the course web. This will be the primary way for making announcements.
2. Class attendance is mandatory, and participation is an essential component.  Each unexcused absence after 3 will result in a letter grade reduction. Three accumulated late arrivals to class will result in a recorded absence.  Excused absences can only be obtained through written documentation from an authority figure such as a doctor or another professor.  It is best to consult with the instructor if you know you will be missing class a head of time if you plan to have it excused.
3. Late assignments (and work) are strongly discouraged and will result in a reduction in your grade. Deadlines are there for a reason. Please consult the instructor if a circumstance arises that requires a deadline extension.
4. Students are to use the course website in a responsible manner. You should not exploit the lack of security. For example, do not damage another person’s work, or look at someone else’s writing before you complete your own. Do not do anything that prevents the instructor from being able to read or edit anything.
5. Students must give proper attribution for any pieces used as part of their work.
6. Students will be expected to contribute during class discussions.
7. Students taking this course will be expected to work with teams of individuals who may or may not be associated with their major.
8. Students will be granted access to work with higher end technology. Therefore any abuse of these privileges will have severe repercussions.
9. Please notify your instructor via email in case of extended illness or any other problem that may interfere with class attendance. Send your work with another student if you are ill on the day of the critique.
10. Accommodation of any special needs (recognized disabilities, absences for athletic meets, etc.) must requested of each instructor by the end of the second week of each module. Students must also inform the instructor in advance of days they will be absent for religious holidays. Instructors will try to make reasonable accommodations in accordance with university policies.
11. If problems come up during the course of the semester, be sure to let your instructor know. This might relate to matters of health, approaches to your work, etc. We will try to help you find solutions, but will be more helpful and much more flexible if you talk to us before issues become crises. We will maintain the confidentiality of any information you share with us.

GRADES:  Your final grade in this class will be calculated on the following formula:

30% Final Project
15% Project Pitches and Postings
25% Readings and Discussion
20% Attendance and Participation
10% Assignments

The percentage breakdown for final grade calculation:
93-100 = A
90-92 = AB
83-89 = B
80-82 = BC
70-79 = C
60-69 = D
< 60     = F

Information on UW-Madison’s grade calculation can be
found at this website:

There are many services on campus that can help students who are having difficulties. Here are a few helpful links to useful resources:

Master list of student services (including counseling, learning support, McBurney Center, safety department and SAFE nighttime services, LGBT campus center, Dean of Students office, financial aid, etc.)

University Health Service:

GUTS (Greater University Tutoring Service)

Tutoring help and other assistance for SoHE classes through Sohe Student Academic Affairs Office, 262-2608

Important deadlines set by the registrar:

Please contact your instructors via email if you should become sick. If possible, send your work with another student in the class or a friend if you have a project due.

Support your own good health with frequent hand-washing and by trying to
avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Influenza virus spreads through
close contact with respiratory droplets, which generally means touching a
contaminated surface with your hands and then touching your hands to your
face. These hygiene measures are among the most powerful precautions you
can take for yourself, as it will be impossible for every surface to be
disinfected every time anyone touches it.