Accessible and Inclusive Data Capture and Display

A collaboration between Computer Music Center, School of the Arts and Barnard’s Computer Science Department

We are proposing to develop a new upper-level intersectional computer science course at Barnard, and to redevelop existing courses from the Computer Music Center at the intersection of technology and art. We will create a cluster of courses with shared curricular experiences in data science and the arts. The new course, Creative Embedded Systems, will be a project-based course designed for undergraduate computer science majors. It will teach the design and development process of new hardware interfaces for data collection and presentation. A focus of Creative Embedded Systems will be on documentation – pushing students to consider the impact of their work on the community beyond the university’s walls. Our proposal connects this new class and existing courses to each other, creating a cohort of students. The existing classes we will tie together are 1) Instrument, Installation, Interface: Building Sound taught by Seth Cluett 2) Sonic and Visual Representation of Data taught by Ben Holtzman and 3) Sound: Advanced Topics II (Virtual Reality), taught by Brad Garton. Our plan for cross-course collaboration will connect students to peers with similar interests and complementary backgrounds in technology and art, but who are normally outside their peer group. This proposal builds on foundations laid by Profs Holtzman and Masaoka’s Collaboratory project, The Search for Meaning in Data: Patterns, Representation, and Empathy. Holtzman and Masaoka asked scientists to take ownership of the empathic presentation of their data through sonification. In contrast, this project asks students to learn how to help others take ownership of data collection and presentation.We plan to harness the momentum of the Data Artist Lecture Series, curated by Miya Masaoka, to expand the shared experiences of the courses. We will build on the Spatial Sound Lab funded by Collaboratory, to create a culture around creativity and computation. Ultimately, we are aiming for the cluster of courses and lab to nucleate a community of practice in data science and the arts.