Embodied interaction

Course - second cycle - 15 credits

Syllabus for students autumn 2017, autumn 2016, autumn 2015, autumn 2014, autumn 2013, autumn 2012

Course Code:
KD641A revision 1.1
Level of specialisation
Main fields of study:
Interaction Design
Date of establishment:
03 November 2011
Date of ratification:
15 June 2012
Decision-making body:
Faculty of Culture and Society
Enforcement date:
03 September 2012
Replaces Syllabus ratified:
03 November 2011

Course description

The course pulls together several contemporary themes in interaction design, such as tangible interfaces, place-centric computing and performativity, in design processes of multidisciplinary collaboration and learning marked by a strong emphasis on experimental prototyping and co-design practices.

Advancement in relation to the degree requirements

The course can normally be included as part of a general degree at advanced level.

Entry requirements

1. Degree of Bachelor or equivalent in subjects relevant for interaction design. Examples of relevant subjects include, but are not limited to: computer science,
informatics, information systems, human-computer interaction, new media arts,
fine arts, design (industrial, product, graphic, interaction), communication studies,
media studies and cognitive science.

2. Approval of the following submitted material: 2 x work samples of previous
relevant work and an individual response to the application assignment, available
on the Malmö University web site.

3. General eligibility + the equivalent of English course B in Swedish higher
secondary school.

Learning outcomes

Repertoire and theory
1. Building a repertoire of important design elements in embodied interaction.
2. Building an overview of relevant theory pertaining to embodied interaction.
3. Building knowledge of the history and contemporary theory of participatory design.

Skills and techniques
4. Displaying ability to engage in experimental interaction design approaches and digital sketching.
5. Displaying ability to execute introductory skills required in the craft of academic knowledge construction, and specifically to use the academic literature efficiently.

Reflection and criticism
6. Displaying ability to formulate and assimilate place-specific criticism and embodied approached to interaction design.


The course will be assessed by one oral group examination and one individually submitted written reflection.

Learning outcomes 1–4 and 6–7 are all assessed through oral group examinations (studio crits). Learning outcome 5 concerns introductory skills in using the research literature efficiently, and is assessed in two ways: indirectly in the oral group examinations by examining the academic grounds for students’ decisions and claims; and directly based on an individually submitted written reflection of 750-1000 words.

Course content

The course covers topical areas within interaction design such as tangible interfaces, mixed-media interaction, physical computing, movement-based interaction, place-centric computing and advanced mobile interaction.

In terms of methodology, there is a threefold emphasis on (1) experimental prototyping and digital sketching, and (2) participatory design and other co-design practices , and (3) performative and embodied approaches to design in heterogeneous design situations.

Learning activities

Work in multidisciplinary teams on pertinent design topics within embodied interaction, including place-specific participatory design practices as well as studio-based design practices. Exploratory prototyping using enactments, hardware and software is an important part of the course. Efficient use of the relevant research literature is required, and will be taught as needed.

Grading system

Fail (U) or Pass (G).

Course literature and other teaching materials

1. Dourish, Paul. Where the Action Is: The Foundations of Embodied Interaction. MIT Press, 2004.

2. Bianchi-Berthouze, N., Woong Kim, W., Patel, D. 2007. Does body movement engage you more in digital game play? And Why? Springer, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Volume 4738/2007, 102-113.

3. Ilpo Koskinen, Thomas Binder & Johan Redström (2008): LAB, FIELD, GALLERY, AND BEYOND , Artifact, 2:1, 46-57

4. Benford, S et al. 2006.The Frame of the Game: Blurring the Boundary between Fiction and Reality in Mobile Experiences. CHI Proceedings, pp427-436.

5. Richard Shusterman. 2012. Thinking Through the Body: Essays in Somaesthetics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Course evaluation

Plenary discussion and individual written evaluation, focusing on the learning outcomes and the means for achieving them (learning activities, resources, course organization etc.).