Thursday, January 19, 2012

Art 245 Digital Media 1 Syllabus (aka you're new home)

                                 Visit the Digital Media Studio Website!

Art 245 Digital Media I
Instructor: Peter Whittenberger
Monday 1-3:45pm

Lab and Office: CFA 207 Digital Media Studio

Office Hours: By Appointment


Class Blog:

At least one art studio course, such as Visual Foundations, Beginning Photography, Drawing, etc. No computer experience required.

Course Objectives:
The primary objective of Art 245, Digital Media I is to provide an introduction to the critical studies of digital media. Students will learn how to analyze the foundations, cultural forces and context that are synthesized in contemporary media art and technology. This will be accomplished through a balanced investigation of both the history and theory surrounding digital media while at the same time being involved in the creation of visual art through the conceptual utilization of the computer and related technologies. This course emphasizes the personal development of critical thinking, artistic and technical skills. You will be challenged with controlled experimentation using a variety of digital processes towards visual art production. The course presents students with opportunities to work with digital imaging, animation, video/sound/time-based media, the internet and social media as creative areas of discourse. This course is the introductory course to the Digital Media program and is a prerequisite for all other course offerings required for the studio major and minor.

Course Philosophy:
The Digital Media program exists as part of the larger Art Studio program for the Department of Art – all studio programs currently focus on the development of a contemporary approach to studio art practice and theory. Digital Media emphasizes an artistic, experimental and technical approach to learning to utilize media systems for the creation of art. The intent is to provide an intensive learning environment that considers the computer as a broadly flexible tool or medium available to the contemporary artist. Specific project assignments will also push you to consider the conceptual use of such tools. This is a thoroughly hands-on course. You will be expected to learn how to use the tools at your disposal – this is not a software-training course. You will learn in this class by doing – students will be given broad introductions to a variety of applications and devices as incorporated into their project assignments. Learning to use these complex graphics programs, online technologies and computer peripherals takes much dedication of time and a flexible attitude towards experiential practice and learning. Learning to become proficient utilizing new technologies is accomplished through both individual and shared experience. What you derive from this class in terms of technical learning will largely be defined by the amount of time you spend exploring and experimenting and taking advantage of the support resources available to you through the Digital Media Studio, the Dynamic Media Lab (@ One) in the KC and through online tutorials. Finally, you will be challenged constantly to consider just what you are doing with these new tools - the true challenge of this course is to engage in the creation of critical, challenging, thoughtful, meaningful and conceptually sound creative experiments.

You will be introduced to the following basic programs and systems: Adobe Photoshop Soundtrack and/or Audacity Final Cut Pro/iMovie Website/Blog Development Flatbed scanners Digital cameras Laser printer Color inkjet printers, small and large format Etc., etc., etc.,

Course Requirements:

1) Each student will complete a total of 7 regular class projects followed by the creation of a general studio atmosphere for the investigation of individual and/or group projects. All projects will be uploaded and accessible to the Professor and students on individual student blogs that will be created in the first week of the course. Each project posted online will also feature a brief artists statement describing your approach to the specific assignment.

2) Critiques. Selected projects will be discussed and critiqued in open sessions. Talking about your work and others is a crucial aspect of creating art. Learning to articulate verbally and in writing, just what your work is about, is just as important as the actual making of the work. The ideas shared in an open critique will help us all learn from each other and greatly increase our ability to understand our creative practice.

3) Readings: Specific Xeroxed articles, tutorials and other online source material will be assigned as needed. For each non-tutorial reading you are required to create two questions for discussion based on that weeks reading. These are to be posted to your blog prior to that day’s reading discussion.

4) Attendance is mandatory at all class sessions. More than two un-excused absences will affect your final grade.

5) Each student will require a minimum 8 gb FLASH DRIVE to transfer their files. Other supplies will be individualized for each student. Student’s lab fee of $25 will be allocated to their printing budget. If there are any concerns with this budget, please see the instructor.

6) Grading: Students will be graded according to how well their participation in reading discussions and creative projects reflect an understanding and willingness to engage with the techniques, issues and practices covered in class. Students should expect to spend at least six hours a week outside of class on their work. The final grade is broken down as follows:

•40% studio projects - 700 pts (7 projects x 100 pts ea)
•10% Questions for reading discussion on blogs - 175 pts (7 readings x 25 pts ea)
•9% Class participation/critiques, discussions, attendance - 150 pts (15 weeks x 10 pts per week)
•10% Written lecture and exhibition reviews
- 180 pts (3 reviews x 60 pts ea)
•14% Final Paper/Presentation - 245 points 

•17% Second Life - 300 points




7) Each student is REQUIRED to attend two approved lectures and one exhibition/performance or film screening, that are regularly announced in class. I will provide you with a list of approved lectures/screenings/exhibitions both on campus and off. You are required to write a short, one page critical summary of the event.

8) Blog Participation: All assignments, large or small, MUST be documented weekly on the class blog! In addition, share links and discuss pertinent issues. Website portfolio: Each student will be creating a website/portfolio blog as an archive of all projects created in this course – this site will serve as the repository for all of your class projects and writing assignments created in this course and any future courses taken through the Digital Media Program. We will go over the creation of your blog on the first day of the class.

9) Laboratory Workshops: Clint Sleeper, Digital Media area half-time Staff, will be scheduling one-hour workshops outside of class time related to specific technical issues surrounding individual projects. It is highly recommended that students take full advantage of these workshops! Clint’s general availability as a daily lab assistant and to be there to assist students with projects is between 11-4pm, Tuesday - Thursday. Laboratory Workshops will be
on Tuesdays at 11 and Wednesdays at 11.

10) Cell phones and PDA's - please do NOT use your cell phones for texting or any other purposes during class times - shut them down please!
If I see you texting in class I will confiscate your phone.
11) Course communications. I will be using email extensively to communicate important information to the class. I will be using the email that is available to me through the MyNevada system. If you do not know or are not sure which email the University has posted to this system, please check and be sure you have an email that you check regularly so you will receive all class messages!

12) Academic Honesty Policy. I would refer all students to the University of Nevada, Reno, Academic Honesty Policy. This class will adhere strictly to these policies. Anyone caught cheating or plagiarizing either in written or studio assignments will be dealt with accordingly.
Computer Access: Due to the ongoing financial crisis and resulting budget cuts to the University, the Digital Media Studio has in the past year faced a drastic re-organization of our facility. Funding has not been made available to replace our aging, 20-workstation laboratory. As such, we have created a streamlined, smaller laboratory with a limited number of student workstations. In light of this situation and specifically in recognition of the fact that we cannot provide a workstation for each student during scheduled class times, we will be working from a lecture/lab model that requires all student work to be completed outside of our scheduled class period. All student projects are to be completed during available lab hours in the Digital Media Studio, on your own computers or in the Knowledge Center’s Dynamic Media Lab. The media lab of the Knowledge Center’s Dynamic Media Lab as well has capable staff on site to assist students. You will be assigned a digital access code for after-hours access to the Digital Media Studio by the end of the second week of the term.

The Montag: The Montag is a student-edited undergraduate research journal that publishes essays, art, creative writing, and other work by students taking courses in the College of Liberal Arts. If you receive a grade of A for an assignment in this class, we encourage you to consider submitting it for publication in The Montag. The maximum page limit for submissions is 20 pages, and there is no minimum. To submit a piece of work, e-mail it along with your name and contact information to

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