Maria C. R. Harrington, Ph.D. About Research Publications Teaching Art The Harrington Lab


I am prepared to teach introductory to advanced courses in computer science, information science, and new media art departments. My deep expertise is in project management, human-computer interaction, and user experience design, especially when applied to data and information visualizations used to support learning and education. A new interest is in teaching virtual nature construction methods applied to informal learning environments using AR and VR technology, especially in museum exhibits. I see my research and teaching as complementary activities, drawing heavily on my scholarship to create innovative curriculum emphasizing design projects requiring creative process in the arts, sciences, and humanities.

Creativity is not a license for unbridled chaos, however. At its best, it represents hyper-problem solving, in multiple directions, simultaneously optimizing a multi-dimensional problem space. In the past when I taught human-computer interaction, which is an ideal problem space to study creativity, I structured the class around traditional activities with readings, assignments, individual projects, labs, lectures, papers, and homework. Independent iterations each week moved in graded feedback cycles towards an independent midterm project, and then merged with a group towards a final collaborative project. This dual-pronged approach provided both individual and group co-creativity lessons, in which the students, unaware of the scaffolding surrounding them, advance towards complex, novel solutions. The brilliance of this approach is that each project is unique, each student highly invested and motivated, and each learning trajectory personalized. I use this method in every class I teach, independent of topic, due to the effectiveness proven by the quality of the student’s work.

List of Courses at UCF in Digital Media and Games and Interactive Media:

Graduate level course focused on the interdisciplinary design of AR, VR, and MR for museum exhibits. Open to all UCF students interested in the application of digital media and learning sciences research to the design of interactive immersive informal learning systems. Students are expected to research literature, frame a design problem, partner with a local cultural institution, develop a prototype, and produce a final paper for a conference or poster publication.

Human-computer interaction (HCI) theory is applied to the iterative design process of websites and apps to ensure excellent user experience (UX design) of interactive digital media.  The project-based course develops emergent product requirements in the user centered design (UCD) process to fully understand the intersection of market, user, stakeholder, and technology constraints. Students use a rapid iterative co-design process to reduce risk of project failure and enhanced functionality with prototyping, think aloud protocols, and task analysis to measure factors of usability and translate them into design improvements within the theory of HCI.

Traditional software project management methods are applied to the development of the design of digital media products: emergent ideation and team formation, project charter, roles and responsibilities, team contract, scope definition as an intersection of market, technology, user and stakeholder requirements, and team resource inventory. Then the execution plan is detailed in management and communication plans, stakeholder registry, risk mitigation, work break downs, activities, Gantt, and budget. Final prototype deliverables are produced.

This course focuses on the design and interpretation of digital narratives using a range of media and methods. Digital media (text, web, mobile, multimedia – video, graphics, and audio – and AR/VR/MR) is evaluated as means for communication. Narrative, from a personal perspective, or fantasy / fictional perspective, to an objective and factual culturally accurate perspective, is investigated. The content in either form is presented in non-linear storyline exploiting new design functionality of digital media technology. Here lies the interplay of information, story, and technology in creation of meaning. Culture is explored on a scale of definitions, on one end a traditional or apex of culture to the other end representing popular or counter-culture. This tension is used as a basis to examine theory on how values are expressed in a society through technology, and how the design factors in the digital medium influence the meaning of the message. This is a large online course were each student produced a digital media artifact as a multimedia narrative, and as a representation of a digital cultural. Students are expected to be deliberate and intentional in their design choices using justifications based on theory presented in this course.

Graduate level course in the analysis and design of digital asset management systems. Students approach a system design problem as an expression of digital media content creation, storage, and retrieval in terms of functional and non-functional requirements. Then expand requirements to integrate those activities with business process frameworks and project management process to support organizations’ supply chains.  

List of Courses Taught:

New Media Art

Information Science and HCI

Information Systems and Computer Science