Courses

Sample Course Offerings

DMS 103 Basic Video 
This course is a basic introduction to the tools and techniques of video production. Students will become familiar with using video and develop strategies for its application as an alternative medium of communication. Crucial to this project is the concurrent development of a critical perspective on mainstream media culture. Video art screenings and readings in media theory will critically address the relations between viewers, producers, and the media. Access to equipment and editing facilities will be available. 

DMS 110 Programming for Digital Art
Introduces students to programming in a general purpose computer language. Discusses the underlying fundamentals of how computers, electronics, and digital media work; and the mathematical bases of these fields. Presents students with ways that programming can be used in creating new, interactive, digital media art. Recommended for students interested in programming graphics and virtual reality. There may be a class fee assessed to your student account.

DMS 122SEM Introduction to Physical Computing
This course introduces basic concepts and techniques for designing, constructing, and programming objects, spaces, and media that sense and respond to their physical surroundings. Eschewing the paradigm of screen-keyboard-mouse, this course seeks alternative modalities -- such as light, sound, and touch -- for creating interactive experiences. Through a progression of weekly exercises, students are exposed to electrical theory, circuit design, micro-controller programming, and a variety of sensor and actuator technologies. Students work both individually and in small groups, responding to a set of progressively complex design prompts culminating in both a mid-term and end-term presentation. No previous programming or electronics experience is required; however, curiosity and a willingness to experiment are a must! 

DMS 201LEC Green Media
Polar bears pacing frantically on melting ice; SUVs gloriously conquering mountain terrain; post-civilization humans struggling for survival on a devastated earth: contemporary media reflects our fears and fantasies about our rapidly changing environment. This course analyzes fictional and documentary media that investigate our relationship to nature: climate change, pollution, environmental justice, wildlife extinction. The course interprets the word media broadly to include film, games, social media, media-art, big data visualization, simulation and sensing. It examines the consciousness-raising power of film, media and journalism; traces the ecological impact of our obsession with the latest media device; and ponders the relationship between our feelings about our changing planet (denial, engagement, optimism, hopelessness) and our actions.

DMS 213 Immigration and Film
By looking at representative examples of American and foreign films, this course will critically examine the role of cinema in the construction and exploration of the figure of the racial, ethnic, cultural and social theory. Our topics will include (1) racial, ethnic and cultural identity and its reciprocal relationship with cinema, (2) the notion of realism in relation to the representation of race and ethnicity in film, (3) the cinematic representation of inter-ethnic and intra-ethnic conflict, (4) the position of cinema in the debate between assimilation and multiculturalism. Films will be screened in class and discussed against the background of focused critical readings. The aim of the course is to provide you with an opportunity to develop your critical thinking and writing abilities through class discussions, close readings of films and critical literature, and writing assignments.

DMS 333LEC World Cinema
This class explores a range of competing terms at the intersection of transnationalism, globalization and political/activist cinema. These include 'Third Cinema' (Solanas & Getino), 'Intercultural Cinema' (Marks), 'Accented Cinema' (Naficy), 'Minor Cinema' (Deleuze and others), etc. Topics for discussion include global flows, border crossing, place and displacement, migration and mobility, minorities and diaspora, social invisibility and censorship, protest and resistance.

DMS 341 Intermediate Video Workshop
This hybrid production/theory course will explore concepts taken from various sources, from ‘traditional film’ to sub-genres of ‘experimental film’, media and video art, among others. In class we will screen and discuss works, styles, and techniques that will enable students to analyze how technique has been applied with proficiency. Through a series of different short exercises, students will develop and improve technical knowledge, as their creativity will be challenged to connect ideas with skills. By exploring diverse usages of cameras, microphones, lights, grips and supports, new shooting techniques will be applied in particular production circumstances. The goal is to heighten the students’ aesthetic criteria in the application of technique for environments of media production. Accordingly the students will create a short final project as a conclusion of the semester. This is an intermediate level production course – students should have a basic understanding of camera, sound, and editing tools and be prepared to work both independently and in groups. 

DMS 404 Advanced Documentary Production
This course is an advanced workshop in which students create an original documentary project in video (or film, still photography, audio or web-based formats with the permission of instructor). Creativity and originality will be stressed with exercises to encourage “seeing”, “listening” and artistic risk taking. Individual projects may go in many creative directions including the political, personal, humorous, experimental, conventional, transgressive, ethnographic, client-based or activist. Students will gain a solid understanding of contemporary non-fiction forms and the particular problems which non-fiction makers face. Films by contemporary artists will be shown on a regular basis with special attention to experimental documentary work. We will look at dramatic structure, storytelling, and narrative/non-narrative forms of editing. Emphasis will be given to production techniques which bring access and intimacy to the video subject and integrity to the documentary. The course will explore ethical issues and problems of privacy and intrusion. Students will develop production skills in research, fieldwork, collaboration, interviewing, location sound recording, camera skills, and production management. Each student will produce one short documentary piece, with supporting assignments in shooting, sound, and digital editing on the Media 100. A written production book will be required. A class film festival ends the semester. 

DMS 411 Film and Media Theory
As an introductory study of film theory, this course is designed to offer you an in-depth foundation of the field through the examination of a range of historically significant critical methods developed by film scholars for the study and analysis of film. Our goal in this class will be to understand the arguments at stake and to create our own dialogue with these theories as we consider their impact on both film viewers and filmmakers. To do this, we will consider methods of analysis ranging from apparatus theory and theories of spectatorship to auteur and genre theory. Because this class is entitled “Film and Media Theory,” we will also survey approaches to studying, viewing and analyzing a selection of non-filmic media texts including gallery-based “other cinema,” immersive media, video art and Web-based media forms. We will consider how new forms of spectatorship such as binge-watching and the optical, haptic and spatial aspects of VR impact and shift our viewing experience.
Fulfills Advanced Analysis OR Advanced Theory.

DMS 438SEM Virtual Worlds
For students with graphics programming experience and 3-D modeling packages (specifically Maya). Students collaborate as teams to build immersive virtual reality art experiences. Introduces the student to the Ygdrasil system, a high-level VR authoring toolkit for large- scale art projects. 

DMS 447SEM Sound Design
Explores issues and techniques in the area of sound design and audio production. Contextualizes the relation between image and sound by drawing from many media forms, existing and/or original, to create and visually represent sound. There may be a class fee assessed to your student account.

DMS 462 Game Design
Production course on the design of games, both computer-based and analog. We will examine both practical and theoretical aspects of designing a game. Important aspects are how to create something that will be both meaningful and fun to play, and how the rules and other elements of the game affect that. Two things are central to this class: understanding the fundamental formal structures of games, and learning the overall process of designing and developing new games. The course encourages experimental thinking about the boundaries and possibilities of games. Students work in teams to produce a complete game. Thorough, hands-on grounding in the process of game design, including brainstorming, paper prototyping, play-testing, and iterative design. Fosters the skills required to produce, examine, and critique games. 

DMS 463SEM Electronic Literature
For about forty years, writer/artists have been using the computer as a medium for creating fictional and dramatic experiences. Many different kinds of both mainstream and experimental work fit under the umbrella of Electronic Literature: Digital Interactive Storytelling, Games, Intermedia Performance, Interactive Narrative, Hypertext, Location-media, Virtual Reality, Escape Rooms. Practitioners variously focus on visuals, writing, coding, sound. Delivery systems are flexible and diverse: from mobile phone app to physical installation to augmented reality. This course focuses on this expanding and morphing territory. Students will read theoretical texts, analyze work, and experiment with the creation of their own fictional and literary experiences in and around computer media.