Recent Courses: Web Programming & Design Studio

In 2015 and 2016, I led the Design Studio 1 and 2 teams at RISD (sophomore BFA studio) and taught a four-week Web Programming workshop. See the links below for curriculum.

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December 15, 2016

New RISD GD core class: Design Studio


Follow the course at

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September 11, 2014

Spring 2014: “HTML Output”

The World Wide Web is an ideal development environment because it combines open access to information with the browser’s increasingly robust typographic and compositional possibilities. This one-time studio elective makes use of the Web browser as a design tool to create physical forms: event ephemera, wallpaper and textiles, publications and 3-D objects. Readings, site visits, lectures from experts in the field and case studies will inspire a workshop-style research-oriented classroom. Most projects will have open deliverables intended to foster cross-disciplinary experimentation and collaboration. The course is open to everyone, but will be most beneficial to students who have Web development experience.

Visit the class website for syllabus and project documentation

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February 2, 2014

Visual Systems

Required course for juniors in graphic design at RISD. See course website

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March 3, 2013

Relational Design

Jia Lee

Required course for juniors in graphic design at RISD> See course website

Design is no longer limited to a one-directional process where a visual expert creates a fixed form for a pre-determined audience. The role of designer itself varies from expert to facilitator to user within a single project. The field of Relational Design focuses on effect: the non-subjective area of design that effects experience. It can also be described as contextual and/or conditional — more concerned with the placement and lifespan than with its form.

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March 3, 2013

New RISD G.D. elective: “Call for Proposals”

Getting big ideas into the world requires a lot of preparation and teamwork. To realize self-initiated projects, designers need grants, other funding, exposure, and access. This course leads students through the various stages of early project development from big idea to finished proposal. We’ll review current best practices in pitching ideas, spend time taking and editing photos and video, and create a web presence for the project.

Students will work in teams, taking on various stages of a project’s development. Projects may be student-initiated or respond to actual calls for proposals. The semester culminates with a project website, emailable deck presentation and actual kickstarter video to secure funding. The course lends itself to students who are self-directed and have experience or interest working with video and web design. This course is open to students in all majors with permission from the instructor.

See course website

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December 5, 2012

Digital Bits

This three-session workshop combines the tactical skills needed to structure web pages with a looser more playful compositional mindset. Students are introduced to the structural elements and properties of HTML and CSS through hands-on demos and a take-home assignments. Tight technical HTML drawings give way to looser, full-screen abstract compositions. Week three incorporates interaction, introducing CSS3 transform, animation, and other user-controlled properties. Although created from code, the assignments are inspired by the contemporary and historical print works of Bradbury Thomspon, Karel Martens and Paul Elliman.

RISD Fall 2012

W See 2013 website
W See 2014 website

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December 4, 2012

Data-Driven Design

Originally designed for a summer 2011 two-week workshop that ran at RISD from July 25 to August 5th, 2011. The syllabus, lecture notes and assignments are available from the link below.

The course was also taught with some alterations once-a-week over four weeks at the University of Connecticut. For example, the students were asked to visualize the average price of college tuition using the materials and space in the art building.

W See course materials

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October 30, 2011

Graduate Typography 1

This course concerns itself with typography as described in two ways: a purposeful craft that branched off from printing and a formal element within an artistic composition.

The course led seven RISD graduate students and included history, a letterpress workshop, type exercises and projects. Two websites came out of the class. One that collected student photographs of typography in use, and the other that collected student projects and assignments

W See
W See course website

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September 11, 2011

Intro to Web Design

The two-week sprint is complete! Sixteen students ranging from undergraduate to mid-career level each produced a working site in HTML and CSS. See the course curriculum and projects on the course site.

W See website for class

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July 11, 2011

RISD Senior Degree Project

In spring 2011, I taught two sections of the senior degree project course. To quote the introductory text that I wrote for the website, “Every senior in the department is asked to challenge him or herself by devising, developing, and completing a semester-long work. Degree projects are as varied in form and process as design it self. ”

W See the website for this course

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May 21, 2011

Visual Systems

This is a required course for juniors at RISD. Spring 2012 will be the fourth year I’ve taught the course. See past work at the links below:

W See 2011 class Web site
A See 2010 documentation on flickr
A See 2009 documentation on flickr

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January 21, 2011

Form & Communication

This required course for sophomores and first-year graduate students (not as of 2010) is meant to get students making complex and engaging graphic form. I taught this course in the fall semesters of 2006 and 2008.

A See 2008 documentation on flickr

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September 1, 2008

Workshop: Serendipity in the Digital Library

This workshop asks students to translate the joy of happenstance from the physical library to the digital one. Students will receive an introduction to three Providence libraries. Students will perform three one-day exercises that follow a design methodology of observation, documentation and prototyping. Performed over four days at Fusion Arts, a program for international exchange students at R.I.S.D. August 2007 and July 2008.

W See course materials

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July 1, 2008

Workshop: Expressive Form with HTML / CSS

Web design is often taught from a user-interface and usability perspective. ‘Expressive form with HTML/CSS’ taught introductory HTML and CSS with a focus on formmaking. The three five-hour sessions were taught within RISD’s Form & Communication course in the fall of 2006. Using prompts like: “use only symbols and numbers at very large and very small sizes (then combinE them), students saw HTML/CSS not just as a means to achieve a Photoshop file, but as a way of discovering the unexpected. R.I.S.D Fall 2006. Can be retaught.

Student work:

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September 1, 2006

Open Re/Search

Since January 2006, I have taught this yearly six-week wintersession course. Quoting from the syllabus, “O/R is the time to focus in on potential areas for deeper study on issues you have identified as important to you.” The course is structured like a grant application: students write a proposal with a schedule and hypothesized results. Weekly one-hour meetings with students nurture the project’s development.

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January 1, 2006