Supporting Collaborative Programming for the Arts, Design, and Media Studies

Initial wireframe for a deictic commenting feature.

Help us extend the p5.js platform to support collaborative coding in the arts, design, and media study.

Project description

This project explores how artists, designers, and media studies scholars--who use code but don't necessarily identify as computer scientists--work together to understand and develop code. We are developing collaborative extensions for the p5.js web editor, a browser-based creative coding platform. Grounded in the theories of constructionism and literate programming, these extensions will support new modes of collaboration and allow us to study collaborative practices as they emerge.

We aim to support programmers' use of a paralinguistic feature known as deixis, or "pointing." We predict that implementing deictic capabilities into a text editor might improve novice programmers' individual and collaborative understanding of code. We ultimately aim to conduct research that explores novice programmers' use of deixis within the context of a collaborative learning activity into which our software add-on is integrated.

We are looking for one to three undergraduate students to join our team (two or three students with prior experience working together is preferred). You will join Dave Mawer, a PhD student in Education and media studies teacher, and Dr. Chris Proctor, whose research spans the learning sciences, computing education, and human-computer interaction. This project specifically involves writing and testing Javascript code extensions for CodeMirror, an open-source, browser-based text editor, as well as supporting development of backend and analysis software. There may also be opportunities to co-author research emerging from this project.

We understand collaborative practices using code--particularly in art, design, and media study--to be deeply connected to identities and cultures. We eagerly seek diverse representation on our team, as well as interest in exploring how race, gender, sexuality, language, ability, and other categories shape and are shaped by our digital worlds.

Project outcome

The specific outcomes of this project will be identified by the faculty mentor at the beginning of your collaboration. 

  1. A deployed instance of the p5.js web editor with collaborative deictic extensions; code released open-source.

  2. We are planning to submit a paper or poster to SIG CHI in September 2022, with authorship opportunities available.

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment About 3-5 months
Start time Summer (May/June) Spring (January/February)
In-person, remote, or hybrid? Hybrid project
Level of collaboration Small group project (2-3 students)
Benefits Research experience, academic credit
Who is eligible All undergraduate students 

Core partners

Project mentor

Chris Proctor

Assistant professor of Learning Sciences

Learning and Instruction

Phone: (323) 230 0313


Start the project

  1. Email the project mentor using the contact information above to express your interest and get approval to work on the project. (Here are helpful tips on how to contact a project mentor.)
  2. After you receive approval from the mentor to start this project, click the button to start the digital badge. (Learn more about ELN's digital badge options.) 

Preparation activities

Once you begin the digital badge series, you will have access to all the necessary activities and instructions. Your mentor has indicated they would like you to also complete the specific preparation activities below. Please reference this when you get to Step 2 of the Preparation Phase. 


Learning and Instruction