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Thursday, May 28 • 1:05pm - 2:05pm
Experience Architecture As A New Interdisciplinary Movement

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The Experience Architecture program at Michigan State University is a cutting-edge, interdisciplinary major focused on the art and science of participant-centered design. The first program of its kind housed in the Humanities, the curriculum is firmly rooted in rhetoric, design, and philosophy, while drawing on courses from across the university in computer science, mathematics, and information technology. Through the exploration of products, services, and policies of digital and physical objects, students are trained as leaders, strategists, designers, writers, and developers of digital products, services, and policies.

For this panel, we are proposing to discuss the development, deployment, and trajectory of this program. We see the XA major as the application of the Digital Humanities for industry practitioners, one where we can bridge our work in as researchers in XA with our skills as practitioners of XA. Our panel will include members of the founding faculty, recent hires with industry expertise, and current XA students. Each will address the question of how this new major is creating new forms of knowledge, disrupting the traditional university major, and reconfiguring power relationships on development teams.

Speaker 1 is one of the founders of the program and the current program director. She will discuss the origins of the program’s development and the vision for the future. In putting together the XA degree, her goal was to disrupt the ways in which we have traditionally built digital experiences by focusing on human experience instead of technology. She set out to create a degree program that would sit in the Humanities and draw on courses from computer science, art, writing, rhetoric, and philosophy with the goal of teaching students to be architects of digital experiences. In her talk, she will discuss the program and the model for experience architecture in the academy, one where Humanities-trained students are leading product development and design.

Speaker 2 is a new faculty hire whose research focuses on project management and the user experience of working environments. He will discuss the rationale used for creating the introductory course for the XA major in a participant-focused manner through the use of iterative project management methods. This iterative approach disrupted traditional modes of learning and helped students discover the discipline through flexible assignments and project work. Speaker 3 will give examples of assignments and projects and discuss how students worked to achieve course goals and outcomes in unique ways.

Speakers 3, 4, and 5 are XA students. These students represent the potential for our program’s ability to impact the internet and software industries. They will discuss their enthusiasm for jumping into a new major, their goals for professional development, and their understanding of experience architecture. In doing so, they will describe the type of student drawn to interdisciplinary programs that are as disruptive as they are challenging and promising.

avatar for Ben Lauren

Ben Lauren

Assistant Professor, Michigan State University
I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures at Michigan State University. I teach for the Experience Architecture program and in professional writing. I am also a WIDE Researcher.
avatar for Liza Potts

Liza Potts

Director of WIDE Research, Michigan State University, United States of America

Thursday May 28, 2015 1:05pm - 2:05pm EDT
Room 105 Kellogg Center

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