Magic Spells

Infinite Figures

Ghosts in the Net

Platform 9 ¾

Platform 9 ¾

RISD Wintersession 2024 — CTC 1000-103

Location: Waterman Building, Room 33

Introduction to Computation


  • Instructor


  • Time
  • ₁:₁₀ PM — ₆:₁₀ PM

  • WEEK ₁
  • WEEK ₂
  • WEEK ₃
  • WEEK ₄
  • WEEK 5
  • W ₁/₁₇
  • W ₁/₃₁
  • T ₁/₄
  • T ₁/₁₁
  • T ₁/₁₈
  • T ₁/₂₅
  • T ₂/₁
  • F ₁/₅
  • F ₁/₁₂
  • F ₁/₁₉
  • F ₁/₂₆
  • F ₂/₂


Introduction to Computation focuses on computational techniques, methods, and ideas in the context of art and design. Studio projects first center on the design of algorithms then shift to involve computer programming and scripting. Critical attention is given to code as a body of crafted text with significant aesthetic, philosophical, and social dimensions, as well as the tension, conflict, and potential possible when computation generates, informs, or interacts with drawings, materials, forms, and spaces. Historical and contemporary works of computational art and design will be presented and assigned for analysis. This course is open to students of all majors and is designed for those with little or no experience in programming. In order to conduct work in this course, students will need a laptop computer. In this section, there's no cost of materials.


This class is designed to introduce programming to beginners in a friendly and enjoyable way. The subtitle of this course is “Platform 9¾.” In the world of Harry Potter, Platform 9¾ is a gateway to the magical world. It is accessible by passing through a solid barrier between platforms 9 and 10. As the coding “wall” seems inaccessible and impenetrable, many people give up on running toward it. However, once you make a dash and pass through the wall, you’ll discover a magical new world that excites you.

P.S. In the coding realm, instead of the Hogwarts Express, there's Daniel Shiffman's “Coding Train.” If you want to get to the magical world of coding faster, I would recommend hopping on this express train.





Learning Outcomes

  • Understanding the basics of HTML and CSS and getting familiar with them
  • Experiencing various JavaScript libraries and exploring the diverse possibilities of programming
  • Developing creative ideas and critical thinking through a series of workshops


In this class, we will split our time between lectures, collaborative workshops, studio time, critique, and individual meetings. Ongoing practices and activities will be focused on generating new methods for each student's practices.

Required Supplies & Courseware

  • Laptop


All assignments must be turned in on time and ready for critique at appointed times. Late assignments will automatically be reduced by one letter grade before being critiqued. Students are encouraged to re-do an assignment if they wish, but please speak to me before undertaking this. Please keep all work for the whole semester, as students will be asked to hand everything in at the end of the semester for re-evaluation. The major individual student assignment will be the final project due on the last day of Wintersession (Class 12) as a live demonstration.


  • Projects (including all workshop results)
  • Breadth: Range of experience, Willingness to experiment
  • Class participation & Contribution

Grades included in the GPA

  • A
  • A −
  • B +
  • B
  • B −
  • C +
  • C
  • C −
  • D +
  • D
  • F
  • 4.000
  • 3.700
  • 3.300
  • 3.000
  • 2.700
  • 2.300
  • 2.000
  • 1.700
  • 1.300
  • 1.000
  • 0.000


RISD is committed to Social Equality and Inclusion and has a newly created campus initiative to support this (SEI). Our intent is that students from all diverse backgrounds and perspectives will be well-served by this course, that students’ needs will be addressed both in and out of class, and that the diversity that students bring to this class be viewed as a resource, strength, and benefit. Our intent is to present materials and activities that are respectful of diversity: gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race, culture, perspective, and other background characteristics. Your suggestions about how to improve the value of diversity in this course are encouraged and appreciated. Please let us know ways to improve the effectiveness of the course for you personally or for other students or student groups. See also: RISD’s non-discrimination policies on


Rhode Island School of Design is committed to providing equal opportunity for all students. If you are a student with a disability that may require accommodations to complete the requirements of this class, I encourage you to discuss your learning needs with me during the first week of the term. Once an approval letter from the Office of Disability Support Services is submitted, accommodations will be provided as needed. For more information on how to receive accommodations, please contact Disability Support Services at 401 709-8460 or


Students should make every effort to avoid missing any class. This class is highly iterative and each class builds intentionally upon the conversations of the week before. In the case of illness or other special circumstances, please make every effort to let your instructor know as soon as possible and before the date in question. Two or more unexcused absences are to be understood as an open for a letter grade reduction and possible removal from the course. Three late arrivals count as an unexcused absence. Please see the full RISD Class Attendance policy.


RISD respects the religious beliefs of all members of the community, affirms their rights to observe significant religious holy days, and will make reasonable accommodations, upon request, for such observances. If one’s religious observance is in conflict with a class then the student should inform the instructor(s) of the class. If it is an academic experience or other school function but not a scheduled class, then the student should inform the person in charge. It is the student’s responsibility to make the necessary arrangements mutually agreed upon with the instructor(s).


Academic misconduct compromises the academic integrity of the College and subverts the educational process. You can find RISD’s general Academic Code of Conduct linked here. For this class, primary, but not exclusive, kinds of such misconduct are:


The use of unauthorized information, study aids or other materials, or unauthorized communication with, or copying from another student on papers, projects, tests, or other academic work. It is the responsibility of students to consult with their faculty concerning what materials and types of collaboration are permissible.


The passing off of someone else’s ideas, writing, or work as one’s own is plagiarism. Appropriate methods and forms of attribution vary by discipline. Some courses will include instruction in appropriate conventions for citation and attribution within the field. Students are advised to seek out relevant guidelines on their own (the RISD Writing Center offers resources and guidance), to ask faculty when in doubt about standards, and to recognize that they are ultimately responsible for proper citation.


The attribution of information or material included in one’s work to a false or fabricated source, or the falsification or fabrication of the information or materials themselves.


The submission of substantially the same work to satisfy requirements for one course that has previously been submitted in satisfaction of the requirements for another course or that was created for another purpose, without permission of the faculty of the course for which the work is being submitted. Students are expected to create new work in specific response to each assignment unless expressly authorized to do otherwise.


The theft, destruction, or defacement of, or other interference with, the work of other students for the purpose of gaining an academic advantage; the engagement in other activities that place other students at an academic disadvantage, such as theft, concealment, or alteration of needed resources or other materials; or other manipulation of the academic system in one’s favor.

In Class

After Class

Week ₁

 ₁ — ₁/₄

 ₂ — ₁/₅

  • ➊ Magic Spells 2
    • Studio Time
    • Share Workshop Result

Week ₂

 ₃ — ₁/₁₁

  • ➊ Magic Spells 2
    • Presentation: Project 1

  • ➋ Infinite Figures 1
    • Studio Time
    • Share Workshop Result

 ₄ — ₁/₁₂

  • ➋ Infinite Figures 2
    • Studio Time
    • Share Workshop Result

Week ₃

 ₅ — ₁/₁₇

  • ➋ Infinite Figures 2
    • Presentation: Project 2

  • ❸ Ghost in the Net 1
    • Studio Time
    • Share Workshop Result

 ₆ —

No In-person Class // Zoom Meetings

 ₇ — ₁/₁₉

  • ❸ Ghost in the Net 2
    • Studio Time
    • Share Workshop Result

Week ₄

 ₈ —

No In-person Class // Zoom Meetings

 ₉ — ₁/₂₆

  • ❸ Ghost in the Net 2
    • Presentation: Project 3 (optional)

  • ➍ Platform 9 ¾ 1
    • Presentation: 1st Draft for the Final
    • Studio Time
    • Share Workshop Result

Week 5

₁₀ — ₁/₃₁

  • ➍ Platform 9 ¾ 2
    • Studio Time
    • Share Workshop Result

₁₁ —

No In-person Class // Zoom Meetings

₁₂ — ₂/₂

  • ➊➋➌➍
    • Submit final package ~ 2/4