Meet New DCA Instructor Pete Hawkes

We’re thrilled to welcome new instructor and UCLA Design Media Arts graduate, Pete Hawkes, to the UCLAx DCA family! Pete will be teaching the advanced course: HTML5 this fall. Learn more both about Pete and the course here:

What makes you passionate about design? What brought you to this field?
I was raised in a creative environment. A large family with little money provided a fortunate upbringing where rocks, trees, dirt and irrigation water were my preferred building blocks. Today I find myself back in the rich, complex and interactive experiences of my youth, but the media are different. Instead of rocks and dirt, I jumble pixels and lines of code. I work to mimic my greatest mentor–Nature–to create my own organic, living, interactive worlds.

Tell us about an especially rewarding project you’ve worked on and why you enjoyed it so much.
As part of my MFA research at UCLA, I created a series of math-based learning tools for children. These interactive games combined digital interfaces, simple electronics, and dance to teach kids the fundamentals of binary. It was challenging and fun to work across different kinds of media, but most rewarding to take the ideas into local elementary schools and see how children reacted to the tools. The process taught me much about how we learn and how new kinds of interfaces can augment education.

What will I take away from your course: HTML5?
My ultimate goal is to get you excited about creating and making with code. HTML5 is relatively new, but incredibly powerful. You will leave with a clear idea of its potential for designing rich, interactive experiences across diverse digital environments. If you push yourself, the skills you learn will take you places.

Do you have a sample assignment?
This is a fun one that will teach you a lot about animation and interaction. Design a monster using HTML5. Your monster must have two “skins” that can be toggled by a button click or key press: one using images and another drawn with shapes. Give your creature a unique personality by adding animation and deciding how it will react to user input (mouse or otherwise).


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