Sample Course Offerings

DMS 512 Film and Media Theory
This course will guide you through the maze of “pre-” and “post-,” “-isms” and “-ships” in film studies.  We’ll examine theories of realism, formalism, semiotics, psychoanalysis, feminism, structuralism, post-structuralism and cognitive criticism with a particular emphasis on the sensory dimension of the moving image.  Following Thomas Elsaesser’s approach to film theory through the senses, and focusing on the role of the spectator in cinema, we will study classical and contemporary film paradigms through the interaction between Moving Image and Senses, Body and Mind, emphasizing such metaphors of filmic experience as Window and Frame, Door and Screen, Mirror and Face. Watching such films as Peeping Tom by Powell, Repulsion by Polanski, Persona by Bergman, Stalker by Tarkovsky, The Hand by Wong Kar Wai, we will not only interpret the way we “see” and “hear” films but also explore them through our senses of touch, smell and even taste. As Elsaesser points out, “film and spectator are like parasite and host, each occupying the other and being in turn occupied.” This unique approach to the confrontation and conflation of mind and body with the screen will open for us new models for knowing and representing the world through film and media.

DMS 518 Emerging Technologies
Through a study of technology, this graduate seminar focuses on how technologies emerge, and shape discourses and formations of difference. This course focuses on the study of machines as emerging technologies, with close attention to the process of human-or-machine boundary making, information technologies, aesthetics (art, media, and literature), and labor. With a focus on the contemporary digital information age, and the nineteenth century industrial revolution, our questions will engage with themes on reality, fiction, freedom, the body, and politics. How do technologies emerge? How do emerging technologies transform society? In addition to scholarly books, and articles, we will also read science fiction and examine new media art to understand the connections between imaginative force of and as an instigator of emerging technologies. Graduate students will complete one final research paper, along with a creative gesture inspired by the ideas from the course. At the center of our discussion is how these ideas may shape, inspire, or serve as a response to, your artistic or theoretical questions. Throughout the semester, we aim to think and create by a collective investigation of emerging technologies.

DMS 523 Programming Graphics 1
This production course introduces students to the concepts and practice of programming real-time 2- and 3-dimensional computer graphics, working within the Unity3D game engine. The major focus is on developing the skills needed to create interactive, real-time graphics experiences. Students write their own code to create customized computer tools and visuals and learn the fundamentals of graphics. In class examples will use C# scripting in Unity3D. We will consider applications that include algorithmic animation, video games, and data visualization. Upon completing this course, a student should have an understanding of basic computer graphics technical concepts - e.g., be able to describe the different types of geometric transformations, explain the basis and use of the RGB color model, define what a normal vector is and what it's used for, understand how a texture image is applied to a shape, etc. The student should also be comfortable with using programming techniques and mathematics (trigonometry, interpolation, vectors) to build and control a graphical scene.

DMS 526 PhD Seminar 2
PhD Seminar 2 is a research seminar designed to answer to the changing needs and demands of academic publishing. The central focus is on writing and publishing academic articles and papers. We will go through each phase of academic publishing from writing abstracts to preparing, reviewing and editing manuscripts in different phases. We will discuss about peer-review process and finding right publication venues and formats. The hard core of this seminar is based on analyzing, commenting and improving the texts of each participant collectively. You can bring texts that are in different phases to the seminar and the goal is that in the end you will have a first complete draft of that paper. You will also have capabilities to review and analyze academic papers. This seminar is targeted especially for doctoral students at the Department of Media Study.

DMS 532 Graduate Seminar 2
Graduate Seminar provides a creative setting for critique and discussion of your work. We will develop a roster of readings, viewings, and other material that can encourage an awareness of contemporary works and discourse in our various field areas. There may be short in-class production experiments, which may incorporate performance. This course is an introduction to core aspects of the DMS grad program: organizing and writing your thesis abstract, sharing fundamental critical texts, making contact with the full range of Media Study disciplines, and developing a sense of the contemporary media arts field. It will introduce technological, conceptual, and theoretical issues in media practice, with an emphasis on individual development of a research-led methodology.

DMS 562 Game Design
Production course on the design of games, both computer-based and analog.Games are considered as a new art form and in order to create compelling games, students must be aware of the particularities of the form in both structural and aesthetic terms. Clearly the most important difference between games and other art forms are the interactive and interpersonal dynamics of gaming. Core isues of game design; what is a game? what is the nature of play? what makes for good game play? what are the core characteristics and structure of a game? and what are the roles of engagement, narrative, and interactivity in games? 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. From conception to play-testing, and fosters the skills required to produce, examine, and critique games.

DMS 563 Interactive Fiction
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.

DMS 580 Methods of Making I (Grad Video Workshop)
This graduate level course engages students in the technical, aesthetic, and conceptual practice of digital video and audio production and post-production. The class will employ lectures, hands on learning, readings, and screening of historical and contemporary film and video work, providing students with an understanding of film and video language, and strategies for the development of creative approaches to digital video making. Students will be introduced to an array of equipment available to them in the Media Study Department, such as digital audio recorders, microphones, HD Camcorders, DSLRs, and lighting equipment, as well as to the editing lab where students will be taught editing technique and post-production workflows using Adobe Premiere. The class will be geared both towards students with little experience in video production, as well as those who seek to expand their knowledge and improve their technical skills.

DMS 603 Innovative Approaches to Film and Video
An advanced production course that focuses on the learning, comprehension and creation of the new unconventional narrative, alternative fiction and non-fiction hybrid films. This hands-on studio course explores the meaning and methods of innovative film/video techniques, as utilized by contemporary artists working across a variety of genres. Through screenings, in-class discussions, readings, workshops, exercises and a final project, the emphasis in the course is on providing specific creative, aesthetic and conceptual contexts for experimenting with the medium, thereby provoking a dialogue surrounding the  filmmaker’s intent, goals, desires, and audience expectations – while at the same time enriching the technical and expressive aspects of their filmmaking processes. Graduate student filmmakers will closely examine technical concerns in lighting, cinematography, sound and montage and will investigate a broad range of production and post-production techniques while exploring the practice and theories of films and filmmakers that challenge dominant commercial storytelling.

DMS 606 Sound and Space
We are immersed in sound, it enrobes us. While vision is limited to an approximate 180 º field of view, our two ears provide a 360 º spherical image of the world around us – both day and night. A consequence of a vibrating mass imparting its energy to the surrounding medium, sound is a physical phenomenon which radiates throughout a space: reflecting off surfaces, passing through barriers, bending around obstacles. Our experience of sound informs us of the size, scope, material, and content of our surroundings. Consequently, sound structures our understanding of reality. Conversely, we can re-organize sound to create new realities. As Walter Murch suggests, our visual world is direct, confrontational, and intellectually apprehended, whereas sound maintains a background presence, influencing our perceptions on a subconscious level that is much more emotional and spiritual.

This practice-based workshop aims to provide an introduction to sound as a material for experimental exploration and place-making. Students perform a variety of exercises aimed at fostering an active listening awareness alongside a creative sonic arts practice. The physical and psychological properties of sound are introduced as well as techniques and methodologies for capturing, manipulating, and presenting sound in space. Students conduct both field and studio recordings; construct microphones, singing circuits, and digital instruments; and utilize open source software to manipulate sound and create sonic vignettes based upon the week’s topic. 

DMS 611 Critical Media Seminar
Structured as an open framework for presentation and critique of ongoing student work, this seminar provides a critical context for experimental media practice. Each session is organized around the presentation of work in progress by two people, followed by a sustained discussion with the group. Students present twice in the course of the semester, and are responsible for determining assigned readings/precedents/references for the session in which they present. Additional readings by the group will provide a common reference for the development of critical positions vis-a-vis contemporary practices in the media arts.