Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Class Syllabus - Fall 2016

CLASS : Arts 4370 Interaction Design, T/Tr 4:15 pm– 7:15 pm in FAC 110
INSTRUCTOR : Chris Ireland, ireland@taleton.edu
OFFICE HOURS : Fine Arts 165, Office Hours: Mon 10-12pm


Arts 4370 is an advanced course in digital media with an emphasis on the computing languages and programs tailored for interactive multimedia production. Students will gain proficiency in interaction design software to program computers and interface with various input devices such as custom built objects, smart phones and various kinds of wired/wireless sensors. There will be demos on technique as well as lectures and presentations about contemporary digital media art and design, some of whom are working on the most groundbreaking projects of the last few years.

Through hands-on exercises, students will explore basic electronic techniques to manipulate digital images, sound, and light in real time live environments. Class projects explore the potential of interactive media to inform, communicate, entertain, challenge, surprise, or offend. And perhaps most importantly, for this communication to be successful we will discuss new and inventive ways to engage the user.


o Investigate the ways in which digital technologies have impacted the production of art and design
o become familiar with basic programing frameworks of interactive multimedia, such as Processing, Max/MSP, Arduino, and others.
o Become proficient in current web authoring tools such as HTML5, CSS, and Javascript
o address formal, technical and conceptual issues, including use of keywords such as interactivity, interface, performance, participation, visualization, etc. 
o become more familiar with new and emerging developments in areas of interest to you in digital media, and discuss these developments in class presentations.


University Wide lab fee $10. There is no textbook, however readings will be assigned in class through handouts or online texts. If you want a hard copy textbook, many of the tutorials we do in class can be found in the texts Getting Started With Processing by Casey Reas, Programming Interactivity by Joshua Noble, and Multimedia Programming using Max/MSP and TouchDesigner by Patrick Lechner.


All students are required to purchase an Arduino Starter Kit.  They are 48.99 and can be purchased through Amazon. 

There will be in class assignments and major projects throughout the semester. Students will be graded according to how well their projects reflect an understanding and a willingness to experiment with the techniques, issues and practices covered in class. You will also be graded on your participation and willingness to contribute to the classroom environment.   

1. Projects (50%): Each student will complete a total of 3-4 extended projects. These projects are due at the beginning of the class critique. They must also be in the format specified on the project description on the class blog. Incorrect or late projects will be assigned a point loss at the discretion of the instructor. In some cases it will be best to work in groups.

Students are expected to participate in class critiques of major projects, both completed and in progress. As the term evolves, we will orient towards weekly progress critiques.
Talking about your work and the work of others is a crucial aspect of design.

2. In Class Excercises (30%): Unless it is clarified by the instructor as a work day for class projects, you will be expected to do assignments as given in class. These assignments will help strengthen your knowledge of code and technigue.

3. Research Presentations (20%): At the beginning of the semester you will be assigned to do one 15 minute class presentation about an artist who is doing what you think is groundbreaking work in digital media. You are allowed to show videos/music/powerpoints as long as you describe a basic understanding of how the artist does the work he/she does and why it personally interests you.


Mandatory at all class sessions. Class moves fast and it is extremely difficult to catch up unless you take responsibility and look up anything you missed. Class content is often based off what was covered the week prior. The instructor will NOT be available to personally re-teach a class if you are absent. More than three absences (excused or unexcused, they are all the same) lower your final grade 1 grade down each absence.

Come prepared for work in class or you will receive an absence. Looking at on the internet during a class discussion or tutorial will give you an absent mark, no questions asked. Since most class material is covered at the beginning of class, being notably tardy also counts as an absence. I can be very understanding about absenses when it comes to special circumstances and life events, all I ask is you handle it professionally and inform me beforehand via email or during office hours.

Absences on project due days: students may be tempted to skip class on critique/due date days because they are too embarrassed to come to class without a finished project. I believe in this case the absence itself is much, much more objectionable and disreputable then the state of your unfinished project. Your attendance and participation on critique days is essential, even if your project is incomplete, because these sessions help you understand our class standards, expectations and criteria for good work. Even if your own project is unfinished, you can still contribute productively to the class discussion.

If you have any concerns that need to be addressed quickly by the instructor and you cannot find me in person, please email me at Ireland@tarleton.edu. I have my phone on me most of the time during the day and will receive the message and will respond as soon as I can. On some occasions, I will need to send you course-related information outside of class. Announcements to the whole class will appear on the blog, and if it is a particularly important message I will also send it out via email.  During the first week of class I will ask you to send me the  email address that you check most daily.


Students are responsible for the frequent and methodical back-up of their class work over the course of the semester. Data loss—from a lost, fried and/or stolen hard drive, or satanic software - cannot be used as an excuse for late or missing work. Students are responsible for the re-creation of any required files that go lost or missing. Back up your work weekly.

Students are not permitted to use the internet or any electronic devices during lectures or student presentations. Cell Phones must be turned off unless instructed otherwise.
Headphones must be used with sound projects. if you want to surf the internet or talk on the phone you should do us all a favor and stay home.


Schedule Subject to Change, any changes and all detailed info will be posted on the class blog.

Week 1 intro – course overview of interactive media 
Week 2 web programming languages
Week 3 MaxMSP
Week 4 patches
Week 5 processing, basic syntax
Week 6 processing, adding live video, working with libraries 
Week 7 advance processing
Week 8 generative art 
Week 9 basic electronics
Week 10 arduino, working with microcontrollers 
Week 11 live motion graphics
Week 12 advanced web programming 
Week 13 -16 Final Projects


Cheating, plagiarism (submitting another person’s materials or ideas as one’s own), or doing work for another person who will receive academic credit are all impermissible. Turning in work made before this class, or from other classes, is also a violation of academic honesty. Disciplinary action may be taken beyond the Department of Fine Arts.
The above paragraph is the school policy for academic integrity.  I have a few statements to make about it, that concern what we do in this class specifically…

Programming often involves copying from other sources. Your projects will be built on top of code written by others in the open-source community. The programs we use in class were built in the same open source community. “Open Source” is a development model that promotes free access to a products design or blueprint so that it may be redistributed and improved upon by other users. Within this community, it is ethical (and encouraged) to build on the work of others, with attribution. The simple act of copying or reuse, in this context, does not constitute plagiarism, although failing to cite one╩╝s sources does.

For each project, you must clearly credit the original sources of any borrowed elements, whether they are text-based (as in written work), visual (as with photographs or other visual elements), or technical (as with software-based tools or program code incorporated into your own).


If you are a student with a documented disability wanting to request accommodations for this course, please contact Trina Geye, Director of Student Disability Services, at geye@tarleton.edu, 254.968.9400, or Math 201. For more information, please visit www.tarleton.edu/sds.