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Aisling's teaching approach is grounded in the tenets of constructionist learning, which posits that students should learn-by-doing in supportive social settings. She believes students flourish while working on personally meaningful projects that are socially and culturally relevant and truly seek to purposefully improve the human condition. She encourages her students to take ownership of their own educational mission by positioning their approach to course materials and ideas within the realm of their personal life experiences. In this way, students relate to and reflect upon class concepts in unique ways, which broadens the overall interpretation framework used to analyze and understand fundamental ideas.

teaching @ vt

Studio+ Spring 2020, Spring 2021 (co-taught with Dr. Joseph Simpson)

Course Description

Studio+ aims to enhance Virginia Tech’s leadership role in transdisciplinary and trans-sector education in collaborative technology innovation for societal impact. Studio+ currently focuses on six interrelated areas of trans-sector technological and societal innovation that are also emerging as distinguishing strengths of Virginia Tech: Cyber Physical Systems - Smart Factory, Design for Advanced Manufacturing, Upgrading Systems From Legacy to Smart, Digital Thread and Supply Chain Synchronization, Semi Automated Inspection, and Inclusive Human Capital Development and Point of Need Learning/Training (PNLP).

This is a 3-credit collaborative studio course offered each Spring (UH 4984: Special Study: Studio+) by the Calhoun Discovery Program. Studio+ is the gateway course for the Honors Laureate Diploma Collaborative Discovery focus area. and allows honors and honors-eligible (3.6 or higher cumulative GPA) students access to resources and experiences available in the Calhoun Discovery Program.

Participatory Wellness for Underserved Communities, Fall 2020

Course Description

Global pandemics from the Black Death to Covid-19 disproportionally impact the health, mortality, security, and wellbeing of minority and underserved communities. Digital technologies including track and trace apps, GPS surveillance, AI diagnosis, and telemedicine provide some mechanisms to combat the spread of disease, while also instilling fear, infringing privacy, and further reinforcing health, socio-economic, and structural inequalities. Developing digital technologies for the fullness of human experience requires consideration of numerous factors and necessitates the input, co-operation, and participation of diverse stakeholders.In response, this class will include considerations and questions such as:how can researchers authentically engage with underserved communities to co-create inclusive and accessible digital solutions? what technical, economic, legal, social or political challenges might engineers and designers encounter in developing and implementing accessible or assistive technologies? what role can empathy play in participatory design practices and how can it support the development of health and wellness technologies for the fullest range of human experiences?

This hybrid course (hybrid meaning online/in person AND seminar/studio) interrogates academic and popular texts, social media, audiovisual material, and computational artifacts bridging both historical and emerging areas of contemporary inquiry related to the topic. Students will encounter and then use a variety of theoretical, philosophical, and pragmatic lenses to study, analyze, and write about course material. Throughout the semester, students will complete digital prototype assignments and co-design a final digital project in collaboration with community stakeholders.

Course Syllabus

Critical and Cultural Computing, Fall 2018

Critical and Cultural Computing Course Description:

Why and how do people respond and react to the socio-technical implications of the vast array of computation, computing, and computers encountered in their everyday lives? How might we analyze and interpret the very human expression and/or manifestation of, for example, fear, opportunism, delight, innovation, belief, indifference, or reliance in the face of such developments? Through this hands on seminar, students will use a variety of theoretical and philosophical lenses to interrogate popular and academic readings in both historical and emerging areas of contemporary inquiry including software studies, feminist HCI, critical information visualization, the sharing economy, and media archaeology. In parallel, we will critically analyze a broad collection of design, art, architectural, engineering, and activist works that engage computation in technical, cultural, and provocative ways. Throughout the semester, students will work on embodying their own ideas and responses to the course content in physical and digital forms, culminating in an end of semester pop-up exhibition. exhibition.

Visit the Critical and Creative Computing course weblog!

User Experience Design, Spring 2018, Spring 2019

Course Description

In this interdisciplinary studio course, we will use a human-centered approach in imagining, creating, and evaluating computational systems for diverse populations. Students will encounter and develop a rich toolbox of design methods and computational skills including contextual analysis, design probes, storyboarding, prototyping, crowdsourcing, machine learning, adaptive interfaces, instrumentation, and user evaluation studies. Working in teams, we will identify authentic human problems, explore the opportunity design space, use diverse materials to create prototypes, and engage in iterative cycles of testing, refining, and evaluating design products and experiences. Throughout the semester, students will document their design and production process as dynamic annotated portfolios and engage in weekly critique sessions with instructors and invited guests. We will also explore the subject literature, examining design theory, research applications, business case studies, and socio-cultural implications across a broad range of publications and presentation venues. Students in the class come from Computer Science and Industrial Design.

Visit the UX Design course weblog!

Creative Computing Studio Capstone, Spring 2016

Course Description:

This hybrid studio course incorporates a multidisciplinary approach to the study of complex media systems as technological, political, economic, socio-cultural and personal experiences. The primary focus of the class is the design, development, and analysis of Experiential Media Systems. Experiential media systems refer to “real time, physically grounded multimedia systems that enable human beings to acquire knowledge through interaction with a physical system”. Creating such systems requires input and knowledge from multiple disciplines including design, art, computer science, psychology, engineering and the social sciences. In addition to designing and creating systems as part of the studio experience, students will also explore the theory, methodology and history behind the development and interpretation of experiential media systems. Topics covered include media and communications theory, service design, cultural studies, qualitative and quantitative methodology, design principles, human-computer-interaction, information visualization and representation, and user studies and evaluation. During the course, students will create and critique a variety of integrated media systems demonstrating technical competence, aesthetic knowledge, analytic rigor and theoretical relevance.

Visit the Creative Computing Studio capstone course weblog!