Writing through Media Augmented Reality

"To engage with digital content, in this paradigm, does not require disengagement from one's surroundings; indeed, enhancing one's perceptual and cognitive experience of the spatiotemporal here and now is precisely the ideal that orients AR." -Sean Morey and John Tinnell

Course Description

Popularized by optical display devices like Google Glass and Microsoft Hololens, augmented reality technologies overlay multimedia digital content onto a live-camera view of the user’s physical surroundings. Compelling applications of augmented reality (AR) technology continue to surface within a variety of contexts: museums are integrating AR content into their displays, marketing campaigns are promoting AR in lieu of print or even web-based catalogs, and digital activists are leveraging AR to turn physical objects, texts, and locations into sites of critique. Writing through Media: Augmented Reality introduces students to the cultural, technical, and rhetorical facets of emerging augmented reality technologies. Course readings and assignments focus on the use of augmented reality as a technology for (re)writing user’s perceptions of the physical world. For the final project, students design and build a mobile augmented reality application for use within a specific location.

The major assignments for this class operate under a project-based learning model: students spend the semester designing, writing, testing, and promoting a location-based augmented reality application to be used within an area in or around campus. Among other assignments, students will write emails to potential site contacts, craft project proposals, design posters, and maintain a progress blog. No prior coding or software experience is necessary for this course.

Course Materials

Course Outcomes

Students will learn to:

  • Analyze the rhetorical characteristics of augmented reality applications
  • Create and design rhetorically compelling multimedia content for augmented reality applications
  • Write a researched critique of a cultural or social phenomenon connected to a specific place, text, or object
  • Collaborate in groups to create multimedia augmented reality content

Major Assignments

Augmented Reality Research Paper

Students will write an essay exploring the significance of augmented reality within a particular industry, culture, or discipline.

Augmented Reality Criticism Project

Students will isolate a particular company, organization, individual, event, or social/cultural phenomenon and create an augmented reality critique using Aurasma that re-purposes the overt rhetorical message of any images, texts, places, or objects associated with it.

Location-Based AR Application Proposal

Students will write a researched argument proposing a specific location (park, museum, historic district, etc.) to augment in or around UF's campus. The proposal should describe 1) why this location is ideal for a site-specific AR application, 2) the kinds of overlays and content that will be used at the location, 3) the kind of background research and technical knowledge required to carry out this proposal. Students will present their proposals formally to the class during one of our workshop times along with a short Prezi or Adobe Spark page. The class will place votes to determine which proposal(s) will be accepted for the final project.

Location-Based AR Application Project

Students will work on a collaborative, class-wide project to create a mobile augmented reality tour for a location in or around Gainesville, FL. Each student will be responsible for producing augmentations and application content for their assigned area. For each of their trigger images, students will create: 1) one video overlay, 2) one audio-visual overlay, and 3) an about page. Students will use Vuforia's augmented reality plugin for Unity to create the application interface and AR functionality. Students should split the word count evenly among the three modalities in this project (video, audio, and text).

Created By
Jacob Greene


Created with images by giuseppe.costantino - "google-glass-8"

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