Lecture T 1:20-2:10 & Studio R 1:20-2:10 in Microbial Sciences 1520, plus Workshop Sections W elsewhere

Prof. Jon McKenzie: Office hours W 1:00-3:00 DesignLab,  PA Laini Kavaloski:  TA Katie Schaag: Office hours TR 12:10-1:10 Microcosm Cafe,  TA Brandee Easter: Office hours TR 12:10-1:10 Microcosm Cafe, 


This class explores the past, present, and future of Wisconsin through stories, maps, and media, teaching students digital communication skills in the areas of experience design, information design, and information architecture. Exploring their own stories and maps as well as public archives and databases, students learn analytic and synthetic methods for thinking and living in the 21st century while contributing to the future of the Wisconsin experience.

Students will learn three design frames: CAT (conceptual, aesthetic, technical), UX (user experience, information architecture, information design), and Design Thinking (desirability, feasibilty, viability), while also exploring the role of narrative, maps, and media to structure knowledge and experience in both physical and virtual space. The course consists of weekly lecture, discussion, and studio sessions. Collective and group training/demo studios will focus on software skills; research, design and technical resources; and issues such as copyright/fair use. Separate discussion sections will bridge lecture and training/demos, enabling students to integrate concepts and techniques through critical and creative practice, with students producing and evaluating websites, images, stories, and presentations.

In “Stories, Maps, Media,” students develop writing and design skills through three projects. In Project 1 (weeks 1-5), each student creates a WordPress “wide site” or creative sandbox mixing life, work, community and entertainment. Content will come from personal research and archives, with projects designed to provide students starter kits for future learning and living.

In Projects 2 and 3 (weeks 6-16), students role-play within groups as design consultants to research, re/design, and propose specific Wisconsin experiences, remediating archival stories, visuals, audio and other materials into graphic essays, documentary podcasts/radio, GPS-based games, and media performances. Topics and models include:

Earth Day • Mound Culture • Wisconsin Idea • Cold War University • Pail and Shovel  Wisconsin Comics • DOW DAY ARIS game • Lesy’s Wisconsin Death Trip

Design exercises and software training will support the main projects, and students will contribute to the evaluation of the conceptual, aesthetic, and technical dimensions of their work in emerging genres of scholarly communication. In addition to the projects and exercises, students will keep a design journal—a physical notebook (lined or unlined) or tablet device (e.g., iPad)—to capture good or bad design around you, using CAT and UX to note what makes them so and to generate good design of your own. Exercises and journals count as participation, as do attendance and discussion.

Course Grade:    Project 1 – 20%     Project 2 – 20%     Project 3 – 40%    Participation – 20%

Attendance: This is a demanding course which requires your regular attendance. More than three absences is grounds for a full letter grade reduction. It is expected that students provide adequate and reasonable advance notice to faculty/instructors in order that they can ensure that an accommodation is made.

Plagiarism: UW takes Academic Integrity very seriously. The internet has made plagiarism or the unattributed citation of other’s work very easy to do—but also easier to detect. It is always smart to properly credit others (it shows you’ve done your research) and yourself (it shows you’ve done your thinking and making).


Part 1:    Stories,     Maps,






9/2 Intro to course and Part 1

9/3 Introductions

Assign Exercise 1: memory map

9/4 Bechdel, Fun Home – Chap 1-4 DesignLab info sheet


A Conversation with Alison Bechel

Creating “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic”

Fun Home: A Literary Autobiography

9/9 Bechdel, Fun Home – Chap 5-7


9/10 Discuss Fun Home and crit Exercise 1

9/11 STS – WordPress

9/16 Ulmer, Internet Invention

Chap 1 Chap 3+4

Assign Project 1

Ulmer sites and resources



Theory of the Manifesto – CATTt



9/17 Discuss Ulmer

Exercise 2: site map


9/18 Mystory wide site workshop




9/23 Turnbull, Maps are Territories website pdf Part 1 pdf Part 2

Sample wide sites



Jenny Zamzow

The Thinking Machine

Vision Problems

9/24 Drafts due for preliminary crit


9/25 No class: DesignLab appts

9/30  Cosmogramming

10/1 Proj 1 due

10/2 Media Showcase

Student presenters and TA moderators

Part 2:        Designing   




10/7 Intro to Part 2 and WI Topics

Assign Project 2 and Janik

Sample sites a b c d


10/8 Discuss role-playing Form groups

Mound Culture Backgrounda b c Maps Images Drawings and photographs

Cold War University Background: a b c

Wisconsin Comics Background: a b c

Earth Day Backgrounda b c Images

Pail and Shovel Background: a b

10/9  Janik, A Short History of Wisconsin Visitor:  Erika Janik


10/14 Introduce Design Thinking


10/15 Field trip to Wisc Hist’l Society

10/16  Visitor: Aaron Bird Bear Group Workshop

10/21 Archives Roundtable

Rosemary Bodolay, Michael Edmonds, Carrie Kruse, Jon Prown 



10/22 Draft due

10/23 Visitors:
Robert Barnett and Rita Braver


10/28 Assign Project 3
Introduce UX frame, media forms


10/29 Proj 2 Due: Firm site and preproposal

STS: iMovie/ARIS

10/30 Showcase
Read IDEO Human Centered Design Toolkit, p. 71-111

11/4 Information Architecture WurmanApplebaumBradford

11/5 Workshop on project iA

11/6 Read Wisconsin Death Trip

Lesy skype-in

11/11 Experience Design Duarte, Resonate

Sample proposals: a b c d

11/12 Storyboards due

11/13  Workshop


11/18 Information Design

Edward Tufte,“Escaping Flatland,”“The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint”

Tufte website


David McCandless, Visual Miscellaneum McCandless website


A Periodic Table of Visualization Methods

11/19 Draft proposals due

11/20 Place-based learning

Vistors: Jim Matthews, Daniel Einstein




11/25 Redesigning Experiences

Pine and Gilmore, The Experience Economy

Foucault, “How an ‘Experience-Book’ is Born”

Ward, “Sustaining Strategic Transitions in Higher Education”

11/26 Draft video/game due

11/27 No class: Thanksgiving

12/2   Transmedia Storytelling

DesignLab, et al: “Wisconsin Idea and Transmedia Storytelling,” “Midwestern Voices, Midwestern Vision”

Wisconsin Farms Oral History Project

Iowa Digital Engagement and Learning Initiative


12/3 Draft of all deliverables due

12/4 Presentation workshop

12/9  Showcase 1

12/10 Proj 3 due

12/11 Showcase 2 Concluding discussion & feedback





Materials (books with “*” are available in UW Bookstore; books with “•” will be assigned in Part 2)

Applebaum, Ralph. 1997. Untitled essay. In Information Architects. Ed. Richard Saul Wurman. New York: Graphis Inc. Pp. 150-161.

*Bechdel, Alison. 2007. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. Boston: Mariner Books.

•Buhle, Paul. 2009. Wisconsin in Comics Madison, WI: Borderland Books.

Bradford, Peter. 1997. Introduction. Information Architects. Ed. Richard Saul Wurman. New York: Graphis Inc.

•Brennan, Linda Crotta, 2013. When Rivers Burned: The Earth Day Story. Amherst, NH : Apprentice Shop Books.

Brown, Tim. 2009. Change by Design. New York: HarperCollins.

*Duarte, Nancy. 2010. Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.

Foucault, Michel. 1991. “How an ‘Experience-Book’ is Born.” Remarks on Marx. New York: Semiotext(e).

IDEO. 2011. Human Centered Design Toolkit. <>.

*Janik, Erika. 2010. A Short History of Wisconsin. Madison, WI: Wisconsin Historical Society Press. *Lesy, Michael. 2000. Wisconsin Death Trip. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.

•Levin, Matthew. 2013. Cold War University: Madison and the New Left in the Sixties. Madison : The University of Wisconsin Press.

•Loew, Patty. 2013. Indian Nations of Wisconsin: Histories of Endurance and Renewal. Madison, WI: Wisconsin Historical Society Press.

*McCandless, David. 2009. The Visual Miscellaneum: A Colorful Guide to the World’s Most Consequential Trivia. New York: Harpers.

McKenzie, Jon. “Towards a Sociopoetics of Interface Design: etoy, eToys, and TOYWAR.” Strategies: A Journal of Theory, Culture and Politics 14.1 (2001): 121-38.

Pine, B. Joseph II, and James H. Gilmore. 1999. The Experience Economy: Work is Theatre and Every Business is a Stage. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Tufte, Edward. 1997. Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative. Cheshire, CT: Graphics Press.

Turnbull, David. 1994. Maps are Territories: Science is an Atlas. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press. <>.

Ulmer, Gregory L. 2003. Internet Invention: From Literacy to Electracy. New York: Longman.

Ward, David. “Sustaining Strategic Transitions in Higher Education.” Educause Review 48:4 (July/August 2013): 12-22.

Wurman, Richard Saul, ed. 1997. “Introduction.” In Information Architects. Ed. Richard Saul Wurman. New York: Graphis Inc.

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