4.S52J / CMS.627J
Special Subject: Architectural Computation — Virtuality & Presence

Permission of Instructor

Taught by Cagri Zaman, Director of the SA+P Virtual Experience Design Lab, in collaboration with Professor D. Fox Harrell, Director of the Center for Advanced Virtuality, "Virtuality and Presence" will explore established and emerging modes of producing “presence” in various cultural encounters, with an emphasis on the valuation of presence in creative practices that are both challenged and expanded by various XR encounters. From perceptual and temporal experiences in physical space to online representations, digital avatars, podcasts, and virtual and augmented reality, each mode of presence has a different set of constraints and potentials for representation, intention, and action. This course will explore these elements through a series of design exercises. The course will explore an interdisciplinary field of cognitive science, media studies, and design, and aim to discover new forms of remote-design practices that will be important for post-pandemic education.

Learning Objectives

  1. Students will gain practical experience with immersive media tools (virtual and augmented reality) and create design projects.
  2. Through in-class discussions, readings, and critical examination of art-works, students will develop critical insight into immersive media.
  3. Students will learn about remote collaboration and social media tools, and experiment with those tools during their online-learning experience.
  4. Gain experience in real-world research being pursued at MIT

Expectations and Deliverables

Students are expected to participate in online class sessions. Graduate students are expected to present one of the in-class topics and readings and submit a short paper. In addition to online participation in zoom, students are expected to participate in other forms of meetings (social VR, instant messaging et.c) as part of their in-class exercises.


  • Online participation 20
  • Presentation 20%
  • In-class exercises 20%
  • Final Project  40%