Official course description:
Full info last published 15/11-19

Playable Media

Course info
ECTS points:
Course code:
Participants max:
Offered to guest students:
Offered to exchange students:
Offered as a single subject:
Price (single subject):
10625 DKK (incl. vat)
MSc. Master
MSc in Games
Course manager
Associate Professor
Associate Professor
Course semester
Forår 2020
27 January 2020
31 August 2020
Exam type
ekstern censur
Grade Scale
Exam Language
This course is designed to introduce students to Play Design as a Critical Technical Practice. The goal is to give students theoretical and practical knowledge about play that they can use in different subject areas, from game design and interaction design to software development.

This course leverages the knowledge about game design, programming, and culture that students have acquired in previous semesters, and applies it to the domain of designing playable experiences for different kind of media. It is a an application of games and play design to domains beyond games.

Students will gain 4 things:
  1. An understanding of Critical Technical Practice as a method for designing, developing, and analyzing interactive media from the perspective of play.
  2. Design methods and tools to create digital interactive playable experiences, such as games, toys, or playable interfaces.
  3. Development methods for creating and testing playable digital experiences.
  4. Media theory that allows students to identify new trends in technology and design, and develop new concepts for those trends.

Play design, interaction design, game design, media theory.

Formal prerequisites
Students from all ITU programs are welcome to join this course. If prospective students are not familiar with play design and its theories, they must familiarize themselves with the topic by reading the mandatory reading Play Matters. Students from the ITU's design programs are expected to be proficient in design research writing, prototyping, and practical design. Students from the ITU's software development programs are expected to be proficient in programming and prototyping. Programming knowledge is an advantage, but not a requirement.
Intended learning outcomes

After the course, the student should be able to:

  • Analyse and discuss the cultural importance of play as a form of expression.
  • Describe how play is used in the development of interactive services and games.
  • Explore and account for how play can be evoked from design practices and principles.
  • Describe the possible uses of play as an instrument or effect of the design of interactive services.
  • Identify the creative and expressive potential of play as a design approach
  • Apply play theory to the design and implementation of experiences in digital environments
Learning activities

The course is divided in four conceptual blocks.

Each block consist of four lectures.

In this course, students will work on 1 project. The project will have clear constraints, presented and discussed during class. Students will be free to choose which project topic they will work on, and how to approach it.

The suggested topics are:
  • Playful digital service design
  • Toy design
  • Game design
  • Gamification design
  • Playground design
  • Activist media design
  • Playful social media design
  • Disobedient electronics
  • Artistic approaches to digital technology
It is expected that students work in self-arranged groups of no more than 5 people.

Course literature

The course literature is published in the course page in LearnIT.

Student Activity Budget
Estimated distribution of learning activities for the typical student
  • Preparation for lectures and exercises: 10%
  • Lectures: 30%
  • Exercises: 10%
  • Project work, supervision included: 50%
Ordinary exam
Exam type:
C: Submission of written work, external (7-trinsskala)
Exam variation:
CG: Submission of written work for groups.
Exam description:
Time and date
Ordinary Exam - submission Fri, 22 May 2020, 08:00 - 14:00
Reexam - submission Wed, 8 Jul 2020, 08:00 - 14:00