ah teaches interactive objects & environments

Course Syllabus

Below is the detail of what you can expect in IAT-438: Interactive Objects & Environments, held at Simon Fraser University in Spring 2020. You will find:

Course website

Course materials are available through SFU Canvas and the instructor's website.


Andrew Hawryshkewich
Room 2816, Podium 2, SFU Surrey

Teaching Assistant (TA)

Stanley Lai

Email Rules

Please allow up to two business days for responses. We may reply sooner, but we also may not. For speedier response times, please include:

  • The subject contains "IAT-438:"
  • The message contains your full name.
  • A clear question.

Please remember that We do not provide design critique via email. If you are looking for critique please visit office hours or arrange a meeting time via email.


Tuesdays, 4:30-8:20pm
SFU Surrey, Room SRYC 3250
Lecturer: Andrew Hawryshkewich (ac.ufs@h_werdna)

Course Description

Develops programming and scripting skills for developing combined software, and hardware prototype versions of interactive objects and environments. Covers the art and design of interactive objects and environments. Methodologies emphasizing embodiment, kinesthetics and haptics are introduced by combining theory and practice. Students develop programming skills for developing working prototypes comprised of software, sensors, and hardware.

Learning Outcomes

Learning outcomes expected for students include:

  1. Explore the connections between lower-division IAT courses — such as IAT-309W, IAT-333, IAT-334 and their application in the research and development of interactive objects or environments.
  2. Perform user-centered research and derive effective insights to help direct the design of interactive objects or environments.
  3. Generate visual and textual materials to effectively advocate for a design decision.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of strategic, futures & systems thinking and integrate it into a design and development process.
  5. Critically reflect upon issues in contemporary industry practice in the context of one's own practice.


Graded items in this course will typically make use of a rubric to define grading criteria. While every effort will be made to clarify the rubric and criteria, please make sure to bring up any questions you may have about the rubric before a project comes due. Also pay attention to the late/problematic submission and plagiarism policy, as they can come up in grading as well.

The graded items in this course include:


There are weekly quizzes meant to assess the ability to critically reflect on the readings. These quizzes will be completed in-lecture shortly after having completed the readings in-lecture.

You will be permitted to bring any physical notes on readings to help with writing the quiz. No digital devices — for example laptops or phones — will be permitted during the quiz.


There are the following projects in this course:

  1. Practice — 20% (Individual/Group)
  2. Better — 25% (Individual/Group)
  3. Bestest — 35% (Individual/Group)

Projects use knowledge learnt from all components of the course, so active attendance and participation in the course is important as a result.

All projects in this course will require weekly deliverables submitted to Canvas prior to the lecture time.

Late or Incorrectly Submitted Deliverables

Late deliverables receive 10% per day late starting immediately after the deliverable is due. Allow yourself sufficient time to submit deliverables without incurring late penalties.

Files incorrectly submitted to Canvas — for example, submitting a PDF that cannot be opened — will receive a penalty on the resubmitted file of 30% plus 10% per day not resubmitted after you were contacted about the problematic submission. For example, if you do not resubmit the file until two days after you were notified the penalty will be 50%. It is your responsibility to ensure that your deliverables make it in on-time and can be accessed.

Grading Scale

All the grades in this course tally to 100% to make it easier to track progress through the term. To translate the percentage to a letter grade, this course uses the SIAT standard grading scale for final letter grades:

  • 95% > A+ < 100%
  • 90% > A < 94.9%
  • 85% > A- < 89.9%
  • 80% > B+ < 84.9%
  • 76% > B < 79.9%
  • 72% > B- < 75.9%
  • 68% > C+ < 71.9%
  • 64% > C < 67.9%
  • 60% > C- < 63.9%
  • 50% > D < 59.9%
  • 0% > F < 50%


Please note that the following — according to SFU policy 4.1.2 — constitutes plagiarism:

  1. Submitting or presenting the work of another person, including artistic imagery, as that of the student without full and appropriate accreditation;
  2. Copying all or part of an essay or other assignment from an author or other person, including a tutor or student mentor, and presenting the material as the student's original work;
  3. Failing to acknowledge the phrases, sentences or ideas of the author of published and unpublished material that is incorporated into an essay or other assignment.

Plagiarism will result in a grade reduction or school disciplinary action at the instructor's discretion. For further reference and clarification, please see SFU's academic honesty policy or ask Andrew for clarification.

Other Items

Other course-related items that are important to include as part of this syllabus.


All readings in this course are provided as online readings or as PDFs through Canvas or the SFU Library. A listing of readings is also available on the course website.

It is requested that you bring printed copies of the readings to lecture as there will be time to complete the readings in-lecture each week.


You will be allowed to select your groups for any teamwork in this course. In lieu of group evaluations, process deliverables for each project are graded individually, so each team member is responsible for completing their own work. Team contracts are used to clarify team member expectations and obligations. Consider your group member options carefully.

All Courses Are Equal

Please remember that all courses are created equal, no one course should monopolize all your time at the detriment of your other courses. If you should find yourself in such a situation, please let your instructor know sooner rather than later.