Inworks Full Course List

(updated 10/26/2015)


IWKS 2100: Human-Centered Design, Innovation and Prototyping

Exercising Prototyping Practices with Digital Fabrication Technologies

Introduces strategic collaborative design principles for interdisciplinary project development. Key topics include design-thinking, rapid prototyping, mass customization and aspects of problem-solving.  A series of human-prioritized projects in varying scales will fuel theexploration of iterative design approaches driven by automated fabrication techniques (utilizing lab processes such as 3d printing, laser-cutting and CNC machining). Using the Inworks prototyping facilities, teams of students will design and implement a series of increasingly complex projects, in the process acquiring essential innovation and problem-solving skills. The course will culminate in a final project chosen by each team.

Recommended background: None. Participants of all backgrounds are encouraged to register; no previous design or prototyping experience is required.

Credit hours: 4


IWKS 2200: Technology and Society

The Interaction of Technology and Human Social Systems

Explores the personal, societal and global impact of technology, particularly information and communication technology, with emphasis on the technological, social and political changes that underlie the global information age. Topics include: digital identity; digital media creation, transmission and performance; online electronic entertainment, especially games; security, surveillance and privacy; technology and the law; social media and networking; and the impact of information technology on human social systems including healthcare, education, finance, and government.

Recommended background: None.

Credit hours: 3


IWKS 2300: Introduction to Computer Science

The Science of the Global Information Age

Provides a broad introduction to the technological underpinnings of modern society, introducing the fundamental principles of computer science. Students create realistic artifacts, and imbue those artifacts with interesting behavior, by writing computer programs. An on-line virtual world similar to Second Life is the “Laboratory” for the course. In-class and in-world discussions and readings introduce the important ideas and concepts. Completion of this course will prepare students for more advanced IWKS courses that require programming expertise.

Recommended background: None.

Credit hours: 3


IWKS 3100: 3D Design Prototyping

Fundamentals of Digitally-Fabricated Forms

Introduces the design and (computer-controlled) fabrication of three dimensional objects using both additive (3D printing) and subtractive (laser cutter, CNC router / milling machine) processes. Various commercial and open-source software tools for 3D design (CAD), manufacturing (CAM) and visualizing will be explored. Projects throughout semester will increasingly build upon instructed aspects (stimulating iterative approaches) and culminate in a final project intended to convey conceptual grasp of chosen fabrication method. Students are individually responsible (outside of class) to fulfill basic lab safety training requirements to utilize Inworks prototyping lab within first 10 days of semester.

Recommended background: IWKS 2100 & 2300, or permission of the Instructor. Participants of all backgrounds are encouraged to register; no previous design or prototyping experience is required.

Credit hours: 3


IWKS 3200: Data Science for Human-Centered Design

Introduces techniques for the extraction, analysis and visualization of information sourced from the vast array of available qualitative and quantitative digital data. Examines various approaches to select, evaluate, integrate and synthesize this information into purposeful knowledge that enhances comprehension and analysis, and that supports policy and decision processes.

Recommended background: IWKS 2200 & 2300, or permission of the Instructor

Credit hours: 3


IWKS 3300: NAND to Tetris

Introduction to the Technical Foundations of the Digital Age

Introduces the principles and technologies that underlie the global information age.  Starting from first principles, students gradually construct a fully functional hardware platform, together with a modern software hierarchy, yielding a working basic yet powerful computer system. In the process of building this computer system, students gain a first-hand understanding of how hardware and software systems are designed and how they work together as one enterprise. The course involves modest software development in the form of a series of laboratory assignments of increasing complexity, but requires only introductory programming experience (e.g., IWKS 2300). 

Recommended background: IWKS 2300 or permission of the Instructor

Credit hours: 3


IWKS 3400: Game Design and Development I

Principles of Computer Game Development

Introduces the fundamental principles of computer game development, including the rich interplay of computer science, graphics design, physics, music, and narrative that comprise game development. Students will use modern tools to develop interactive 2D and simple 3D games. The course involves substantial software development in the form of a series of laboratory assignments of increasing complexity, but requires only introductory programming experience (e.g., IWKS 2300).  Culminates with a final project consisting of a team-developed complete game.

Recommended background: Some programming experience, e.g., IWKS 2300, or permission of the Instructor

Credit hours: 3


IWKS 3600: Introduction to Development and Global Health

Introduces international development, focusing on how technological interventions are being used to help address issues related to global public health. Examines the historical contexts, theories, policies, institutions and critiques that have shaped the field. Explores practical approaches for the identification, design, planning, monitoring, and evaluation of global health interventions in their broader development context. Case studies will be used to illustrate major global health challenges, such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, and maternal morbidity and mortality.

Recommended background: IWKS 2200 or permission of the Instructor

Credit hours: 3


IWKS 4100: Advanced Human-Centered Design and Prototyping

Explores design thinking and the user-centered design paradigm from a broad perspective, emphasizing how user research and prototype assessment can be integrated into different phases of the design process. Using a team-based project-oriented approach, students develop expertise in the design, development, and critique of solutions to important human problems. The course will make full use of advanced Inworks’ prototyping facilities.

Recommended background: IWKS 2100 & 3100 or permission of the Instructor

Credit hours: 3


IWKS 4120: Physical Computing and Autonomous Artifacts

Introduces techniques for designing hardware and software systems that can sense and respond to humans in meaningful ways, as well as for creating autonomous artifacts (potentially mobile digitally augmented objects and environments). Such systems and artifacts can range from interactive art to wearable health monitors to game playing robots, integrating a variety of disciplines, including design, art, health, computer science, and entertainment, to name a few. This integration often involves the application of specialized software to aid in the design and construction of artifacts with embedded intelligence. The course explores the fundamentals of designing and prototyping human-centered interactive systems and environments that include such software and hardware components. Students build projects using Inworks’ materials, devices and fabrication tools, culminating with a final project of the student’s choosing. The course involves modest software development, but requires only introductory programming experience (e.g., IWKS 2300). 

Recommended background: IWKS 2100 & 2300, or permission of the Instructor

Credit hours: 4


IWKS 4400: Game Design and Development II

Advanced Computer Game Development

Continuation of IWKS 3400, with increased emphasis on more advanced techniques including 3D rendering; simulating diffuse, ambient, specular, and emissive lighting; vertex, pixel and geometry shaders; shadows; terrain building; reflective and refractive lighting; bump, parallax, and parallax occlusion mapping; Phong and Gouraud shading; cel shading; ray tracing; bloom; and high dynamic range lighting.

Recommended background: IWKS 3400 or permission of the Instructor

Credit hours: 3


IWKS 4500: Molecular Biology for Computer Scientists and Engineers

Provides a serious introduction to the core elements of molecular biology using in-class lectures and hands-on labs that assumes a quantitative rather than biological background. Motivated student teams can also use this course to prepare and receive mentorship for the summer iGEM competition.

Recommended background: IWKS 3300 and an understanding of basic biology and chemistry, or permission of the Instructor

Credit hours: 3


IWKS 4520: Designing for Healthful Human Longevity

“Google, how do I get to the Fountain of Youth?”

For centuries humans have been experimenting with extending lifespan, ending aging, and turning back the proverbial clock. In this course we will explore the history of life-extension efforts into present day technologies, companies, and organizations seeking to extend healthy human lifespans. We will discuss the progress that has been, how far we have to go, and the consequences of what happens if we get there. We will cover the leading theories of aging, current research in model organisms, and emerging techniques and technologies. This course will require a significant amount of reading and in-class discussion/debate.

Recommended background: No prior knowledge of biology or gerontology is required; only an interest in human aging, an open mind, and a willingness to learn and participate.

Credit hours: 3


IWKS 4600: ICTD and Global Health

Applies theory and best practices from the field of Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICTD) to the unique challenges associated with improving healthcare delivery in the developing world. Examines relevant development history and theory, various paradigms of the application of technology to healthcare issues in the developing world, as well as critical and interdisciplinary perspectives. Teams of students develop practical and appropriate prototypes intended to address healthcare problems faced by the world’s poor. Provides a foundation for further study and practice in ICTD.

Recommended background: IWKS 2100 & 3600, or permission of the Instructor

Credit hours: 3


IWKS 4620: Design for Extreme Affordability

Explores the creation of products and services that can be sustainably and gainfully used by the world’s poorest citizens. Students in interdisciplinary teams design, implement and evaluate a viable solution to a real problem faced by real people in the developing world. The goal is to develop deep empathy with individuals living in extreme poverty, an understanding of the extraordinary challenges faced by individuals for whom basic survival is not a given, and the knowledge and skills necessary to create designs that respond appropriately to those unique circumstances.

Recommended background: IWKS 2100 & 3600, or permission of the Instructor

Credit hours: 3


IWKS 4680: Case Studies in Design

Why Do Projects Succeed or Fail?

Explores why some projects succeed and others fail. Despite the best of intentions, many if not most, human-centered interventions fail to meet their designers’ objectives. For example, information systems developed for use in developing countries have failure rates near 80%, reflecting the unique challenges associated with matching human need with feasibility. This course considers how innovators can increase their chances for success by examining in detail some spectacularly successful (and unsuccessful) designs.

Recommended background: IWKS 2100 & 2200, or permission of the Instructor

Credit hours: 3


IWKS 4700: Designing Digital Pedagogy

Explores how design thinking and user-centered design can be used to develop and improve technology-mediated learning. Using a team-based project-oriented approach, students design, develop, and evaluate new modalities for digital education.

Recommended background: IWKS 2100, 2200 & 2300, or permission of the Instructor

Credit hours: 3


IWKS 4800: StartUp

So You Want to be an Entrepreneur?

Teams of students create and launch a company in a semester. Culminates in a “pitchfest” to area entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. One of two alternative capstone courses for the Inworks Minor in Design and Innovation.

Recommended background: IWKS 2100, IWKS 2200 & IWKS 3200, or permission of the Instructor

Credit hours: 4


IWKS 4900: Undergraduate Capstone

Working closely with project sponsors, students design, implement, and evaluate a project for use in local industry and non-profit organizations. One of two alternative capstone courses for the Inworks Minor in Design and Innovation.

Recommended background: IWKS 2100, IWKS 2200 & IWKS 3200, or permission of the Instructor

Credit hours: 4


IWKS 4930: Special Topics

Emergent issues and professional developments in design, innovation and prototyping. Consult the current Inworks Course List for semester offerings as new special topics courses are frequently added. With permission, may be repeated for credit.

Recommended background: Varies according to topics and instructor requirements.

Credit hours: 1-4 (Variable)


IWKS 4970: Independent Study

Studies initiated by students or faculty and sponsored by a faculty member to investigate a special topic or problem related to design, innovation and prototyping. With permission, may be repeated for credit.

Recommended background: Permission of the Instructor.

Credit hours: 1-4 (Variable)


IWKS 5100: Advanced Human-Centered Design and Prototyping

Graduate version of IWKS 4100. Explores design thinking and the user-centered design paradigm from a broad perspective, emphasizing how user research and prototype assessment can be integrated into different phases of the design process. Using a team-based project-oriented approach, students develop expertise in the design, development, and critique of solutions to important human problems. The course will make full use of advanced Inworks’ prototyping facilities.

Recommended background: Graduate standing, IWKS 2100 & 3100 or permission of the Instructor

Credit hours: 3


IWKS 5120: Physical Computing and Autonomous Artifacts

Graduate version of IWKS 4120. Introduces techniques for designing hardware and software systems that can sense and respond to humans in meaningful ways, as well as for creating autonomous artifacts (potentially mobile digitally augmented objects and environments). Such systems and artifacts can range from interactive art to wearable health monitors to game playing robots, integrating a variety of disciplines, including design, art, health, computer science, and entertainment, to name a few. This integration often involves the application of specialized software to aid in the design and construction of artifacts with embedded intelligence. The course explores the fundamentals of designing and prototyping human-centered interactive systems and environments that include such software and hardware components. Students build projects using Inworks’ materials, devices and fabrication tools, culminating with a final project of the student’s choosing. The course involves modest software development, but requires only introductory programming experience (e.g., IWKS 2300). 

Recommended background: Graduate standing, IWKS 2100 & 2300, or permission of the Instructor

Credit hours: 4


IWKS 5300: NAND to Tetris

Introduction to the Technical Foundations of the Digital Age

Graduate version of IWKS 3300. Introduces the principles and technologies that underlie the global information age.  Starting from first principles, students gradually construct a fully functional hardware platform, together with a modern software hierarchy, yielding a working basic yet powerful computer system. In the process of building this computer system, students gain a first-hand understanding of how hardware and software systems are designed and how they work together as one enterprise. The course involves modest software development in the form of a series of laboratory assignments of increasing complexity, but requires only introductory programming experience (e.g., IWKS 2300). Graduate students will implement additional functionality, including network communication and FPGA implementation.

Recommended background: IWKS 2300 or permission of the Instructor

Credit hours: 3


IWKS 5400: Game Design and Development II

Graduate version of IWKS 4400. Continuation of IWKS 3400, with increased emphasis on more advanced techniques including 3D rendering, simulating diffuse, ambient, specular, and emissive lighting, vertex, pixel and geometry shaders, shadows, terrain building, reflective and refractive lighting, bump, parallax, and parallax occlusion mapping, Phong and Gouraud shading, cel shading, ray tracing, bloom, and high dynamic range lighting.

Recommended background: Graduate standing, IWKS 3400 or permission of the Instructor

Credit hours: 3 


IWKS 5500: Molecular Biology for Computer Scientists and Engineers

Graduate version of IWKS 4500. Provides a serious introduction to the core elements of molecular biology using in-class lectures and hands-on labs that assumes a quantitative rather than a biological background. Motivated student teams can also use this course to prepare and receive mentorship for the summer iGEM competition.

Recommended background: Graduate standing, IWKS 3300 and an understanding of basic biology and chemistry, or permission of the Instructor

Credit hours: 3


IWKS 4520: Designing for Healthful Human Longevity

“Google, how do I get to the Fountain of Youth?”

For centuries humans have been experimenting with extending lifespan, ending aging, and turning back the proverbial clock. In this course we will explore the history of life-extension efforts into present day technologies, companies, and organizations seeking to extend healthy human lifespans. We will discuss the progress that has been, how far we have to go, and the consequences of what happens if we get there. We will cover the leading theories of aging, current research in model organisms, and emerging techniques and technologies. This course will require a significant amount of reading and in-class discussion/debate.

Recommended background: No prior knowledge of biology or gerontology is required; only an interest in human aging, an open mind, and a willingness to learn and participate.

Credit hours: 3


IWKS 5520: Designing for Healthful Human Longevity

“Google, how do I get to the Fountain of Youth?”

Graduate version of IWKS 4520. For centuries humans have been experimenting with extending lifespan, ending aging, and turning back the proverbial clock. In this course we will explore the history of life-extension efforts into present day technologies, companies, and organizations seeking to extend healthy human lifespans. We will discuss the progress that has been, how far we have to go, and the consequences of what happens if we get there. We will cover the leading theories of aging, current research in model organisms, and emerging techniques and technologies. This course will require a significant amount of reading and in-class discussion/debate.

Recommended background: Graduate standing, no prior knowledge of biology or gerontology is required; only an interest in human aging, an open mind, and a willingness to learn and participate.

Credit hours: 3


IWKS 5600: ICTD and Global Health

Graduate version of IWKS 4600. Applies theory and best practices from the field of Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICTD) to the unique challenges associated with improving healthcare delivery in the developing world. Examines relevant development history and theory, various paradigms of the application of technology to healthcare issues in the developing world, as well as critical and interdisciplinary perspectives. Teams of students develop practical and appropriate prototypes intended to address healthcare problems faced by the world’s poor. Provides a foundation for further study and practice in ICTD.

Recommended background: Graduate standing, IWKS 2100 & 3600, or permission of the Instructor

Credit hours: 3


IWKS 5620: Design for Extreme Affordability

Graduate version of IWKS 4620. Explores the creation of products and services that can be sustainably and gainfully used by the world’s poorest citizens. Students in interdisciplinary teams design, implement and evaluate a viable solution to a real problem faced by real people in the developing world. The goal is to develop deep empathy with individuals living in extreme poverty, an understanding of the extraordinary challenges faced by individuals for whom basic survival is not a given, and the knowledge and skills necessary to create designs that respond appropriately to these unique circumstances.

Recommended background: Graduate standing, IWKS 2100 & 3600, or permission of the Instructor

Credit hours: 3


IWKS 5680: Case Studies in Design

Graduate version of IWKS 4680. Explores why some projects succeed and others fail. Despite the best of intentions, many if not most, human-centered interventions fail to meet their designers’ objectives. For example, information systems developed for use in developing countries have failure rates near 80%, reflecting the unique challenges associated with matching human need with feasibility. This course considers how innovators can increase their chances for success by examining in detail some spectacularly successful (and unsuccessful) designs.

Recommended background: Graduate standing, IWKS 2100 & 2200, or permission of the Instructor

Credit hours: 3


IWKS 5700: Designing Digital Pedagogy

Graduate version of IWKS 4700. Explores how design thinking and the user-centered design can be used to develop and improve technology-mediated learning. Using a team-based project-oriented approach, students design, develop, and evaluate new modalities for digital education.

Recommended background: Graduate standing, IWKS 2100, 2200 & 2300, or permission of the Instructor

Credit hours: 3


IWKS 5800: StartUp: So You Want to be an Entrepreneur?

Graduate version of IWKS 4800. Teams of students create and launch a company in a semester. Culminates in a “pitchfest” to area entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.

Credit hours: 4


IWKS 5930: Special Topics

Emergent research, issues, promising practices and professional developments in design, innovation and prototyping. Consult the current Inworks Course List for semester offerings as new special topics courses are frequently added. With permission, may be repeated for credit.

Recommended background: Varies according to topics and instructor requirements.

Credit hours: 1-4 (Variable)


IWKS 5970: Independent Study

Studies initiated by students or faculty and sponsored by a faculty member to investigate a special topic or problem related to design, innovation and prototyping. With permission, may be repeated for credit.

Recommended background: Permission of the Instructor.

Credit hours: 1-4 (Variable