Friday, July 12, 2013

Welcome! (Syllabus)

ART 245-1001.  Digital Media I . Summer 2013
1:00-3:45 PM   CFA 208  Mon-Thur

Instructor : Benjamin Poynter
Email :
Phone : (405)-410-5988
Website :
Office Hours : By Appointment  [CFA 208]

Course Description

The primary objective of ART 245 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 conceptual utilization of the computer and related technologies. This course emphasizes the personal development of critical thinking, artistic, and technical ability. You'll be challenged with controlled experiments using a variety of digital processes towards visual art production. This 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 class is the introductory hud to the Digital Media program and is a prerequisite for all other course offerings required for the studio major and minor.


 +At least one art studio course
 (visual foundations, beginning photography, drawing, etc.)
 +No computer experience required.

 Required Texts, Course Materials

Readings: Specific Xeroxed articles, tutorials, and other online source material will be assigned in proper progression. 

Materials : Portable flash/external hard drive.

 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 much like the paintbrush 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 project assignments. Learning to use these complex graphics programs, online technologies, and computer peripherals takes much dedication of time and a flexible attitude towards experimental 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 via online tutorials. Bearing that in mind, classes that are not Digital Media I will be occupying the lab at external hours as well. Plan around this.

 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, and much more.

Course Requirements 

1) Each student will complete a total of 6 regular class projects followed by contribution to a general studio atmosphere for the investigation of individual and/or group projects. All projects will be uploaded and accessible to the instructor and students on individual student blogs that will be created by the second week of the course. Each project posted online will also feature a brief artist statement describing your approach to the specific assignment. i.e. a paragraph.

Assignments turned in a day later than due is a halved grade. Any later has no points given.

While you will have your individual blog, below is the address of the official blog which will be continually updated with relevant assignment information and useful artifacts-

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. Think of the separation between "form and concept" (what it looks like/what it "is") or especially if they can be the same. 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. Be aware of when comments on peers' blogs are due. A post of ALL of individual blogs in class will be available day 2!

3) For each course reading (total : 3) you are required to create two questions for discussion based on that week's reading. These are to be posted to your blog prior to that day’s reading discussion. Do not simply reiterate facts. Strive for critical thinking in questions!

4) Attendance is mandatory at all class sessions. The policy behind unexcused absences beyond 2 : you will begin losing points to final grade. Emergencies require documentation. If there is no documentation for an emergency, it is unexcused.

5) Each student will require a minimum 8 gb FLASH DRIVE to transfer their files. Other supplies will be individualized for each student. Files left on lab computers run the risk of deletion.

(Note : If external hard drive is acquired, make note to properly "partition" it for both Mac and PC sides for operation on both. A personal tutorial may be given to help explain.)

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. The final grade is broken down as follows: 

•50% Studio Projects - 600 pts (6 projects x 100 pts ea) 
•20% Course Paper - 240 points
•20% Questions for reading discussion on blogs. - 240 pts (3 readings x 80 pts ea)
•10% Participation/critiques, discussions, attendance. - 120 pts (day to day basis)



7) 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.

8) Laboratory Workshops: A Digital Media lab technician by the name is Dillon McGillivray [] will be available 11-4 outside of class time Mondays-Thursdays to give related workshops specific to technical issues surrounding individual projects. It is highly recommended that students take full advantage of this resource! In addition, the instructor will be giving personal guidance and workshops. During designated days, by appointment, or just walk-in as the instructor is often in the lab.

9) Cell phones and PDA's - Please do NOT use your cell phones for texting or any other purposes during class times - please put them away. If a snapshot is needed badly enough in lecture, ask me first. If I see you texting or surfing with it in class, I will confiscate your phone.

10) 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 e-mail 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! Check the primary Art 245 blog as well for updates.

Computer Access

 Fortunately, in the aftermath of an ongoing financial crisis with budget cuts to the University, the Digital Media Studio has a better selection of hardware to work with in the facility. It is up to date and ready (with patience and care) to be used by the student body. This is a streamlined, neutral sized laboratory with a healthy number of student workstations.

As this is a summer course, the lower class number allows each student a workstation. Hooray. The @One lab in the Knowledge Center, and multimedia check outs, are also available.

User : Art 245. Password : Art. Very complicated. Contact for any discrepancies.

(NOTE : This version of the event table is squished. The physical syllabus will have it much more readable.)

E V E N T  ( I S  S U B J E C T  T O  C H A N G E )

7.15 [WK1]
Greetings! I.) Going over syllabus. II.) How to make our class blog. III.) Go over Project 1. IV.) In-class Photoshop exercise.
7.16 [WK1]
I.) Who we are specifically. II.) Assign Reading 1, Walter Benjamin. III.) Work time. Hands on assistance with instructor
I.) Class Blog, II.) 'Bio' Post
7.17 [WK1]
I.) Critique Project 1. II.) Go over Project 2. III.) In-class demos!
Project 1.
7.18 [WK1]
I.) Lecture + discussing Reading 1.  II.) Introduce course essay. III.) Assign Reading 2, Video Art.
I.) Reading 1 Questions. II.) Comments for peers; Project 1.
7.22 [WK2]
I.) Critique Project 2.  II.) Go over Project 3 III.) In class video-performance exercises.
Project 2. 
7.23 [WK2]
I.) Lecture + discussing Reading 2.  II.) In-class demo of Final Cut Pro (incorporating yesterday's exercises).
I.) Reading 2 Questions. II.) Comments for peers; Project 2.
7.24 [WK2]
Work time. Hands on assistance with instructor.
7.25 [WK2]
I.) Critique Project 3.  II.) Go over project 4.
Project 3.
7.29 [WK3]
I.) Critique Project 4. II.) Go over project 5. III.) In-class demo of Blender 3D. IV.) Assign Reading 3, The New Aesthetic.
Project 4.
7.30 [WK3]
Work time. Hands on assistance with instructor.
Comments for peers; Project 3 and 4.
7.31 [WK3]
Work time. Hands on assistance with instructor.
8.1 [WK3]
I.) Lecture + discussing Reading 3.  II.) Further work time.
Reading 3 Questions.
8.5 [WK4]
I.) Critique Project 5. II.) Go over Project 6.
Project 5.
8.6 [WK4]
Site confirmations in town to use for Project 6. In-class exercise.
Comments for peers; Project 5.
8.7 [WK4]
Work time. Hands on assistance with instructor.
8.8 [WK4]
Watch and discuss the film Digital Nation.
(2) artist selections for course essay.
8.12 [WK5]
I.) Critique Project 6. 
Project 6.
8.13 [WK5]
Research day. Take this day to fortify your course essay!
Comments for peers; Project 6.
8.14 [WK5]
Research day. Take this day to fortify your course essay!
8.15 [WK5]
I.) Observe essay presentations. II.) Pot luck banquet. & Goodbyes.
Course Essay


1) Digital Triptych Montage (Photoshop), 
2) Stop-Motion Frame Animation (Photoshop or Flash), 
3.) Art Video Emulation (Final Cut Pro), 
4.) Youtube Video Mixer (Final Cut Pro, HTML/Dreamweaver),   
5.) Geometric Portrait (Blender 3D), 
6.) Altered Reality Collage (Blender 3D, Photoshop)

Statement on Academic Dishonesty: For example, "Cheating, plagiarism or otherwise obtaining grades under false pretenses" constitute academic dishonesty according to the code of this university. Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated and penalties can include canceling a student's enrollment without a grade, giving an F for the course or for the assignment. For more details see

 Statement of Disability Services: For example, "Any student with a disability needing academic adjustments or accommodations is requested to speak with me or the Disability Resource Center (Thompson Building, Suite 101) as soon as possible to arrange for appropriate accommodations."

 Statement for Academic Success Services: For example, "Your student fees cover usage of the Math Center (784-443 or ), Tutoring Center (784-6801 or ), and University Writing Center (784-6030 or These centers support your classroom learning; it is your responsibility to take advantage of their services. Keep in mind that seeking help outside of class is the sign a a responsible and successful student."

 Statement on Audio and Video Recording: Surreptitious or covert video-taping of class or unauthorized audio recording of class is prohibited by law and by Board of Regents policy.  This class may be videotaped or audio recorded only with the written permission of the instructor.   In order to accommodate students with disabilities, some students may have been given permission to record class lectures and discussions.  Therefore, students should understand that their comments during class may be recorded.

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