Dear EMAT 40099 / DI 30100 - Fall 2020 Students,


We hope that this note finds you safe and healthy during these dark and challenging times. We are looking forward to working with you this coming semester in EMAT 40099 / DI 30100, and are reaching out with an important update regarding the title and description of the course.


The brutal murder of George Floyd, and the national and international uprising against racism and police brutality that followed, have compelled us to take a critical look at the way we originally titled and framed this course. After much thinking and discussion, we’ve come to the conclusion that as three white, cis-gendered men, it is not appropriate for us to teach this Challenge Based Innovation course with a project focus titled “Inhabiting Diversities.” For this reason, we have decided to rename the project “Reframing Experience,” and to pivot its focus from transcending the limits of our own experience to learning how to identify, understand and work within the constraints of those limits as we strive to ethically investigate and explore the intersection of creative processes and emerging technologies in order to engage with the diverse communities that make Northeast Ohio unique.  An updated course description can be found below​. 


The George Floyd Uprisings helped us to realize, along with many others across the country and across the world, that we needed to reflect even more deeply on how to best evolve our thinking and actions in relation to the core values and goals of this course, which were, from the start, to sensitively and ethically consider how a diverse range of people experience the world, and how institutionalized forms of violence structure their experiences. 


It is in the spirit of recognizing our own privilege and using it to try to be the best allies that we can be that we created this course, and it is in that same spirit that we renamed and reframed this course. We believe that being a good ally and recognizing one’s own privilege, bias and limitations is a continual process of striving and learning, and that it is only by collaborating with and learning from your diverse experiences, that we can truly realize our goals for this course. 


Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns, and stay tuned for another email coming soon with logistical information about the course and pandemic-related contingencies.




Abe Avnisan


J.R. Campbell 


Bobby Selvaggio


CHALLENGE BASED INNOVATION: "Reframing Experience" Project

Offered Fall 2020 in the brand-new Design Innovation Hub

Cross-listed as EMAT 40099 / DI 30100 (3 credit hours)

Meeting on Tuesday / Thursday, 3.15 - 5.45pm




Bobby Selvaggio

Director of Jazz Studies

School of Music


Abe Avnisan

Assistant Professor

Schools of Emerging Media & Technology and Journalism & Mass Communication


J.R. Campbell

Executive Director 

Design Innovation Initiative 


Course Description

Reframing Experience is a hands-on, project-based, experiential learning course in which students will engage a range of local communities in Northeast Ohio in order to gain a deeper understanding of the social and ecological fabric that makes the region unique. Over the course of the semester, students will work together in interdisciplinary teams to create an immersive, public-facing exhibition in Kent State’s brand-new Design Innovation Hub that blends live performance, new media storytelling and immersive media technologies aimed at helping viewers to get in touch with the limitations of their own experience by learning about the experience of others.


The course will bring together faculty from Design Innovation, Music, and Emerging Media and Technology, as well as students from a wide range of disciplines including the Performing Arts, Emerging Media and Technology, Visual Communication Design, Journalism & Mass Communication, and Communication Studies, in conjunction with meaningful perspectives and collaborations from interested students in any other major at Kent State University.


Our approach to understanding the limits of our own experience will be informed by an intersectional framework and grounded in the work of scholars working in and across Political Science, Critical Race Theory, Science and Technology Studies, Feminism, Ecological Studies and Disability Studies, and to this end we plan on soliciting a diverse set of faculty to guest lecture during the first four weeks of the course. During weeks 4-6 of the course, students will visit a handful of Northeast Ohio communities to do field research and conduct interviews, ultimately selecting a handful of physical sites they think are key to understanding the region. These sites will be scanned using Lidar technology and transformed into immersive VR projections to be used as part of the exhibition. 


The second half of the semester will be devoted to synthesizing and creatively responding to the materials collected in the field by planning, designing and creating the immersive experience that students will present to the public at the end of the semester. It will be up to teach student team to determine the precise nature of that culminating experience, but by drawing on the expertise both of their peers and of the three faculty members leading the course, students will have a broad range of skills and technologies to work with including live and recorded musical performance, musical composition, 3D scanning technologies, VR projections and augmented reality.


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary understanding of the limits of one’s personal experience
  • Develop innovative solutions and approaches through interdisciplinary collaboration
  • Define, analyze and reframe problems using principles of design thinking
  • Collaborate effectively within an interdisciplinary team using proven project management frameworks 
  • Effectively collaborate and engage with external stakeholders 
  • Create iterative prototypes to develop knowledge and solutions
  • Synthesize and apply knowledge acquired in previous coursework in a real-world context