NYU ITP, Fall 2020, Wednesdays 3:20pm-5:50 pm, Oct 28-Dec 9

Instructor: Nicole He (she/her)

Email: nicole.he [at]

Office Hours: Mondays, 1-4 pm by appointment, book here - please indicate in the event description if you want to meet remotely or in person.

Homework: Submit homework here. Due before class starts.

Discord: The link to join the class Discord will be sent via email.


Computers are able to understand human speech better than ever before, but voice technology is still mostly used for practical (and boring!) purposes, like playing music, smart home control, or customer service phone trees. What else can we experience in the very weird, yet intuitive act of talking out loud to machines?

The goal of this course is to give students the technical ability to imagine and build more creative uses of voice technology. Students will be encouraged to examine and play with the ways in which this emerging field is still broken and strange. We will develop interactions, performances, artworks or apps exploring the unique experience of human and computer conversation.

Students will learn how to use text-to-speech and speech-to-text technologies, voice assistant devices, generative text techniques, open speech APIs, Node.js, and conversational UI design. There will be weekly assignments leading up to a final project. ICM or comparable programming experience required.

2020 Adjustments

Exactly how remote vs potentially in person this class will be may change, but for now we’ll start with remote classes on Zoom. Nicole will be available for in person office hours on the floor, or remotely of course as well.

We’ll be using Discord to communicate - the link to join will be sent via email.


Part Percentage
Homeworks (4) 40%
Attendance and Participation 35%
Final 25%


You are expected to show up on time for every class. Being regularly late will affect your grade. If you are going to be late or absent (for emergencies only), email me in advance. Having more than one unexcused absence is grounds for failure.


You are expected to talk not only with computers, but also with each other.

It’s important that you participate in class discussions and give thoughtful feedback to your classmates when they show their work. Your perspective is meaningful — especially with this experimental subject matter — since we are all learning together.

This year we’re also moving reading discussions to Discord, rather than having to post about them on blogs or talk about them during class time. Your participation in these Discord media discussions will also count towards your grade.


There will be four weekly homework assignments and a final project.

Most weeks, there will be a creative/technical assignment and a reading (or podcast to listen to or game to play). You will submit a link to your creative assignment via a Google form before class starts. In lieu of writing reflections in a blog post (which you are welcome to do if you want to!), we’ll be discussing the readings etc. in the class Discord asynchronously throughout the week.

Statement of Academic Integrity

Plagiarism is presenting someone else’s work as though it were your own. More specifically, plagiarism is to present as your own: A sequence of words quoted without quotation marks from another writer or a paraphrased passage from another writer’s work or facts, ideas or images composed by someone else.

Statement of Principle

The core of the educational experience at the Tisch School of the Arts is the creation of original academic and artistic work by students for the critical review of faculty members. It is therefore of the utmost importance that students at all times provide their instructors with an accurate sense of their current abilities and knowledge in order to receive appropriate constructive criticism and advice. Any attempt to evade that essential, transparent transaction between instructor and student through plagiarism or cheating is educationally self-defeating and a grave violation of Tisch School of the Arts community standards. For all the details on plagiarism, please refer to page 10 of the Tisch School of the Arts, Policies and Procedures Handbook, which can be found online at:

Statement on Accessibility

Please feel free to make suggestions to your instructor about ways in which this class could become more accessible to you. Academic accommodations are available for students with documented disabilities. Please contact the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities at 212 998-4980 for further information.

Statement on Counseling and Wellness

Your health and safety are a priority at NYU. If you experience any health or mental health issues during this course, we encourage you to utilize the support services of the 24/7 NYU Wellness Exchange 212-443-9999. Also, all students who may require an academic accommodation due to a qualified disability, physical or mental, please register with the Moses Center 212-998-4980. Please let your instructor know if you need help connecting to these resources.

© Nicole He 2020