Rubrics and Grading


There are a few elementary things you can do to ensure that you receive a totally respectable grade in this course. These things may seem simple and obvious, but it's sometimes surprising how few students seem to get this right:

  • Have a positive attitude.
  • Show up to all of the course sessions, on time.
  • Communicate with your professor beforehand if you must miss a session.
  • Submit all of the Deliverables, on time.
  • Follow instructions: do all parts of the Deliverables, paying careful attention to seemingly trivial requirements (such as categorizing your blog posts correctly, formatting your code properly, giving your blog post a title in the requested format etc.).

There are also some things you can do to earn a really great grade in this course:

  • Make interesting, novel, provocative work that's well-crafted. And document it well.
  • Be fearless and resourceful about getting the assistance you need.
  • Help your classmates when they're stuck.
  • Make helpful contributions to discussions.


This is art school. With very rare exceptions (I'll be clear), I will always prefer that you make the assignment interesting to you -- if necessary, by creatively bending the rules or re-interpreting the assignment. My assignments are starting-points, prompts and propositions. They are "opportunities for genius." Think beyond them.

Notwithstanding the above, you will always be expected to conform to certain basic expectations in regards to deliverables and documentation. Did you include an image of your project? Did you write the requested narrative? These expectations are non-negotiable.


Our class is fast-paced. When you submit work late, you lose big-time -- not (necessarily) because of some point-deduction scheme, but primarily because you miss the chance to share, show off, discuss and get feedback on your work.

At times this semester, your creative projects will be evaluated by outside experts who review your work in class or online. If your assignment is not uploaded and documented online by the time those persons do their reviews, then your work is officially considered "too late" and will not be able to earn meaningful credit.

For other projects, such as Looking Outwards blog posts: These should be uploaded and completed by the time that I get around to grading them, which is usually a few days after their stated due date. If not, I reserve the right to assign partial or zero credit to them.

  • Generally I grade work a few days after the due date. I offer no precise details about this.
  • Projects submitted after critiques (or, after external critics have performed their evaluations) will get a one-letter grade deduction, and will probably not receive written feedback, or may only receive significantly attenuated written feedback.


The purpose of our open-ended Projects is to provide well-circumscribed opportunities for you to make creative work with code. Generally the Project prompts will invite you to explore a specific conceptual theme or set of programming techniques, but, unless stated otherwise, there is no correct solution, and no specific requirement for how to implement your idea. A Project also asks not just for a creative solution, but also for some creativity in defining and approaching the problem. It is expected that your Projects will be documented and published on this WordPress website.

The eight open-ended Projects will be evaluated according to the following considerations:

  • Curiosity: Are you asking questions as you work?
  • Tenacity: Are you forging through difficult problems without giving up?
  • Execution: Are you crafting with purpose, precision, and attention?
  • Inventiveness: Are you discovering/exploring methods outside the obvious and predictable?
  • Fulfillment: Did you meet all of the requested supporting criteria (such as providing scans of sketches, categorizing your blog post correctly, documenting your process, etc.)?

With Projects, it may not matter how much time a student spent making it. You may sometimes observe a very quickly-executed solution which succeeds because of its strong concept. Usually, however, the quality of a project is rewarded by extra attention to its craft.

Projects always have a list of supporting requirements. These are straightforward to fulfill, but if you fail to meet these, you will have points deducted. Nearly every Project assignment will ask you to:

  • Create a unique blog post for your project, on our course website.
  • Make sure your blog post is titled and categorized as requested.
  • Embed your interactive project into the post, if this is technologically possible.
    Make sure its code is visible (with the WP-Syntax plugin) or
    properly linked.
  • Include a static documentation image of your project, such as a screenshot or photograph.
  • Include scans or photos of any notebook sketches, if you have them.
  • In the case of dynamic work, include dynamic documentation too: embed a YouTube, Vimeo demonstrating your project. Often, an animated GIF will be required.
  • Write 100-200 words about your project, describing its development process.
    In your writing, include some critical reflection and analysis of your project:
    In what ways did you succeed, and in what ways could it be better?

Related to our course policies on Academic Integrity, you must also:

  • Name any other students from the class from whom you received advice or help.
    If you had collaborators, explain how the work was distributed among the collaborators.
  • Cite and link to the sources for any code, external libraries, or other media (e.g.
    photographs, soundtracks, source images) which you used in your Project. Citing your sources is super important, folks. Err on the side of generosity.

Projects will be graded with scores of A,B,C,D, or F, as follows. (These are borrowed from Prof. Paolo Pedercini):

  • A: You made something good
  • B: You made something that works
  • C: You tried to make something
  • D: You didn't even try
  • F: You didn't even show up

Hey. Read this. Not every project you make can or will be a work of brilliance. Get over it. in this class, it is much more important to submit work on time than to freeze up, because your work isn't perfect or mind-blowingly original. Bang it out and then get some sleep. This class is about developing fluency through practice. When you're just learning how to speak a new language, no one expects you to make beautiful poetry. And in the media arts, it's often the case that someone has done something similar before. It's OK to revisit the past in introductory situations.


There will be 8 Looking Outwards assignments this semester. The purpose of "Looking Outwards" Assignments (LO) reports is for you to become familiar with the landscape of contemporary practices in computational new media, and to begin to articulate your own set of interests and concerns within that landscape. To that end, your eight Looking Outwards reports will form a kind of "research diary".

The Looking Outwards reports, taken together, comprise 10% of your Deliverables grade. You may be occasionally asked to discuss or present a project you reported about in a Looking Outwards assignment.

LO's are given a grade of Pass (1) or Fail (0). Decent reports submitted by the stated deadline will pass. Missing, overdue and/or manifestly shoddy work will fail. Your professor is attentive to the evident care you put into Looking Outwards reports. Good LO's will meet the following criteria:

  •  You include an embedded image or video of the documented project.
  • You have written approximately 100-200 words on the project.
  • You explain the project, and make an effort to critique it.
  • You have published the above in a blog post, on time.
  • Your Looking Outwards blog post is well-titled and correctly categorized.
  • Your writing is careful, considered, and critical.


"Participation and Engagement" comprise 20% of your grade. This is not a competition to see who speaks up in class the most. Instead, each student will start the semester with 20 points. The following infractions will cause deductions of one point for each occurrence, at the discretion of the professor. You may or may not receive a warning before receiving a demerit:

  • Falling asleep in class
  • Unexcused lateness (more than 10 minutes)
  • Active Facebooking & social media use
  • Open laptops during a guest presentation
  • Chatter or other distracting noise
  • Interrupting someone who is speaking
  • Inappropriate remarks or other behavior
  • This list is not exhaustive. See Social Rules, Code of Conduct, Civics & Attendance.


  • Participation/Engagement (20%)
  • Looking Outwards Reports (8%)
  • Projects and other Deliverables (72%)