Interactive Media & Game Design - Courses

Art

ART 110      Principles of Two Dimensional Design (4)
A foundation studio course focusing on the visual dynamics of the two-dimensional picture plane, with special attention on the application of basic design principles to problem-solving in the fine and applied arts.  Explores a variety of hands-on techniques pertaining to image creation, manipulation, and construction including space, line, shape, value, texture, color, and their design relation to one another.  Combining technical and artistic skills, students will create 5-8 portfolio pieces.  It is strongly recommended that students have taken or are taking concurrently a studio drawing course.  Meets General Education The Arts requirement.

 

Communication

COM 106    Introduction to Digital Media and Design (4)
Introduces students to production, design and project management environments for digital projects. Students will develop communication and design skills, with an emphasis on text-based communication and presentation of numeric data in textual and graphical modes. The class is writing-intensive. Students will be introduced to the processes of critiquing, revising and critically reflection on their own work.

COM 108    Introduction to Digital Media Production (4)
Introduces foundational design theory and basic skills needed to produce digital media in a variety of formats. Projects will be completed in graphic, video and interactive modes. Students will gain hands-on experience in digital media studios and production environments.

COM 112    Digital Photography and Imaging (4)
Explores concepts and techniques in digital photography and imagine. Builds and reinforces digital imaging skills including manipulation, light effects, scanning, color correction and special effects.  Combines design theory and hands-on work, introducing basic aesthetic issues in photography and image manipulation and the ethical concerns associated with the medium.  Students will generate a portfolio of images based on specific themes. Meets the General Education Art requirement.

COM 206    Ethnographic Writing (4)
Uses writing to explore cultures.  Students will study the observation and research of human behavior and will do field writing, reflective writing, and formal reports.  A semester-long ethnographic project, conducted by small teams, will be presented to the class.  Prerequisite:  ENG 101 or equivalent.

COM 213    Introduction to Animation and Vector Graphics (4)
Using a mix of theoretical and practical assignments, students will develop an understanding of the conceptual issues regarding digital vector-based animation, from scripts, storyboards and production of short animation sequences.  Students are introduced to various software tools used to produce vector-based animation. Students will generate a portfolio of animations.

COM 216    Digital Media and Information in Society (4)
An introduction to the impact of the mass and digital media on American society.  Through study of communication theory and a comparison of broadcast to digital media, and creation of original digital media projects, students will explore the relevance of the emerging information technologies within various disciplines and their own lives. Meets General Education Humanities requirement.

COM 219    Introduction to Video Game Design and Culture (4)
Students will relate game experiences, play games and build a game relating to their interests. Different game design frameworks will be discussed, analyzed and implemented. The course will cover table top games, serious games and gamification of different fields. Students will also complete a final project in which they will create a game mod using an existing game engine. Students will keep a game journal logging their experiences playing video games. Programming experience and artistic ability are not required.

COM 239    Gamification Theory (4)
COM 239 will focus on the use of frameworks and common design tropes from the video game industry to solve problems and engage audiences, a process referred to as gamification. The class will have a number of readings on the subject which will be discussed during online sessions. The course will utilize modding and free Software Development Kits (SDKs) to build projects that demonstrate gamification. The course will also instruct on simple scripting using these tools, so programming experience is not required to take the course. Project topics will range from simple informative serious games (such as “Darfur Is Dying”) to skill acquisition games (such as triage training).

COM 242    Introduction to Video Production (4)
Covers the fundamentals of basic video and audio production. The student develops skills necessary to serve on production crews and operate a digital video camera by producing a variety of short video projects. Also covers the fundamentals of video production with emphasis on direction, and operation of associated field and studio equipment, developing the various skills necessary to produce quality video.

COM 260    Introduction to Web Site Design (4)
Explores various processes associated the development of Web sites, including planning, analysis, design, implementation and promotion. Introduces students to basic Web design skills and tools in the context of design principles.

COM 300    Oral Communication (4)
Designed to train students’ capacity for oral communication, this course emphasizes research, organization, and presentation of speeches which inform, persuade, and entertain. Delivery, style, and audience analysis will be stressed.  Small group discussions will aid the students to interact with others, and to apply the theories and techniques of debating. Extemporaneous speeches are also required and evaluated by the group.

COM 302    Presentational Speaking (4)
Students will submit a proposal and present a paper just as they would at a professional technical communication conference.  Public speaking skills will be augmented with the latest graphic presentation skills and software.  Students will research, write, and organize a talk to either persuade or inform an audience of technical communication professionals.  This course is designated for technical communication majors; others on a space available basis.  Students may not receive credit for both COM 302 and COM 300.

COM 306    Report Writing and Technical Communication (4)
Students will learn to communicate more effectively in a professional environment through ample practice with individual as well as group composed documents (i.e. memos, letters, instructions, proposals, and analytical reports) and the oral presentation of a formal report.  Since the course is usually taught in a computer lab, word processing and computer graphics are used to enhance the reports. Meets Upper Division Writing.

COM 307    Business Communications (4)
Business communication will give students preparation for effective writing in business and related fields.  Because an understanding of persuasion is key to effective business communication, students will practice and master both audience and rhetorical analysis for all formal assignments, and the standards of formatting for various business documents.  Specifically, students will write single and multiple audience routine and specialized correspondences using direct and indirect organization patterns, resumes and job letters, proposals, annotated bibliographies and multi-part research papers.  Students will write graded and ungraded work individually and in teams, and part of the course will be devoted to self and team evaluation.  A graded oral presentation will also be part of the class.  Meets Upper Division Writing requirement.

COM 308    Analytical & Research Writing (4)
Students pursue a research project of their own design, using primary sources.  Statistical and theoretical sources are analyzed in class and used in the research essay.  Students keep a research log and practice a variety of research methods.  Meets Upper Division Writing.

COM 309    Machinima & 3D Animation (4)
The term machinima is a combination of machine and cinema. In this course we will review the work done by early machinima artists and create our own work utilizing the cutting edge software in the field. If you feel at home with movies, video games, and CG animation, machinima may be of interest to you. The projects in the course will consist of a team short film, and a custom individual animation.

COM 310    Technical Editing (4)
A study of the principles of editing and their application to a wide variety of documents.  Students will complete two major projects, one in copyediting and one in comprehensive editing.  For both projects, students work with documents and clients from off campus.  Students edit many sample documents and review each other’s work in class.  Prerequisite:  COM 306 or equivalent.  Cross listed with IDT 531.

COM 311    Public Relations Writing (4)
Designed to teach students the basic concepts of effective public relations writing and to give them a solid foundation in the use of multiple communication tools that are used in the public relations industry.  The emphasis is on media techniques, preparation of materials, and the dissemination of them through appropriate channels.  Meets Upper Division writing requirement.

COM 316    Media and Communication (4)
The impact of the mass media (television, radio, journalism, film) upon American society is well‑documented.  Emerging technologies (computer-mediated communication, cable video, satellite communications) will further change the ways in which we communicate.  Through study of communication theory, survey of traditional and new media, and creation of original media projects, students will explore the relevance of the new technologies to their own disciplines. Meets new General Education Humanities requirement.

COM 319    Asset Production (4)
Focuses on the use of various digital production tools to create assets for digital games and multimedia. The course will progress from two dimensional art and textures to creating three dimensional models that can be animated or used in game production. Covers the use of tools to create audio assets such as music and sound effects.

COM 320    Information Design (4)
Students will be exposed to the nature of visual language and how designers use and readers process such information.  Theories and research that relate to visual communication will be covered. Students will analyze and evaluate selected readings and examples; and students will use modern desktop publishing techniques to design and produce printed material.  Additionally, the theory of design of online material will be discussed with particular emphasis on publication of World Wide Web home pages.  Projects will include home page design and publication.  Concepts covered earlier in the course will be applied to computer screen design.  Prerequisite: Knowledge of basic computer skills.

COM 340    Writing and Production in Digital Media (4)
Develops skills in writing, editing and producing digital media, including commercial Web, blogging and micro-blogging, video and audio scripting and non-linear texts. Emphasis on peer review, editing and revision. Exploration of current tools and techniques used for the production and distribution of digital media, including social networks, collaborative systems, and interactive platforms. Meets Upper Division Writing requirement.

COM 341    Video and Communication (4)
Examines the role of video in the new communication technologies through projects which use video for various applications: education, training, sales promotion, etc. Emphasis is placed on the design process and the many choices available to deliver a videobased message. The course will draw upon the Institute’s Instructional Media studio capabilities. Pre/Corequisite: COM 242 is recommended, but not required.

COM 342    Field and Studio Video Production (4)
Covers the fundamentals of basic video and audio production.  The student develops skills necessary to serve on production crews and operate a digital video camera.  Also covers the fundamentals of video production with emphasis on direction, and operation of associated field equipment, developing the various skills necessary to produce quality video.

COM 350    Visual Thinking and Writing (4)
Teaches students to think visually and convert complex concepts and processes into visual designs and models. Students work in stages beginning with writing assignments and make revisions leading to visualizations. Meets Upper Division Writing requirement.

COM 353    Newswriting (4)
Provides an introduction to the field of journalism. Students will participate in a group discussion about the newswriting process, from story ideas and development through to a close review of the final product.  Students will develop story ideas and write articles suitable for publication.   Prerequisite: Any Upper Division writing course.

COM 360    Product Design and Testing (4)
The only way to judge the usefulness of a document product or interface in the marketplace is by usability testing.  Students will study various evaluation methodologies and practice the basics of test design and analysis for hypothetical or real products.  Students will refine testing methodology and administration, in addition to understanding the factors affecting information and product quality.

COM 380    Critical Perspectives on Digital Society (4)
Exposes students to a range of critical/cultural theories and approaches to the study of new media, including those allied to medium theory, cultural studies, political economy of communication, ideological inquiry, globalization and commercialism. Students will explore multiple theorists/theoretical positions in depth. Cross-listed with IDS 380

COM 400    Computer Software Documentation (4)
Explains how to write professional computer documentation, from writing a proposal, to gathering data, to designing a document and related visuals, to running a usability test on the material, to revising style and polishing the final reference.  Discusses the nature of visual language and considers the utilization of modern desktop publishing techniques to develop communication ideas and transfer them onto the printed page. Student teams develop a software documentation package using the school’s desktop publishing hardware and software.  Meets Upper Division Writing requirement.

COM 411    Digital Network Communications: Issues and Implications (4)
Examines the various facets of networked communication, including a survey of its history and emergence. An exploration of the social and collaborative nature of networded communication and key issues including copyright, intellectual property.   Emphasis is placed on the nature of networks and on critical examination of the social, political, legal and educational aspects of networked communication.

COM 414    Advanced Digital Graphic Design (4)
Designed to increase the student’s ability to creatively design within the digital domain.  Major topics include:  essentials for successful digital design, color and color accuracy in the digital world, symmetric and asymmetric layout techniques, creative use of shapes and space, large file management techniques, theoretical and applied typography, professional production methods to increase workflow, and stereographic imagery.  Prerequisite:  Basic Photoshop knowledge.

COM 416    Advanced Digital Animation (4)
This course builds on the design, layout, and basic animation features learned in previous courses by adding more advanced interactivity and user input as well as development of more complex 3D-like imagery and storyline techniques. Where the previous course focuses on object-oriented directed imagery and sound, this course involves more advanced scripting techniques to develop a vocabulary of concepts, skills, and aesthetic practices for producing more meaningful animation. The course blends direct technical instruction — including programming in ActionScript and server-side file and scripting access — with narrative and aesthetic development and discussion with the goal of moving past linear animation to more evolving and interactive animation practices.

COM 417    Visual Identity and Branding (4)
A studio course in visual communication. Brand identity is the use of design to project a memorable graphic image of brands, services, corporations, institutions, organizations or other groups. Branding experiences include brand identity, promotion and advertising. The course will include logos, multiple design, and advertising applications with coordinated visual elements. Prerequisite: COM 320

COM 418    New Media Theory and Digital Culture
Studies the meaning of “New Media” and its influence on culture. Through readings, discussions, analysis of cultural artifacts as well as a longer hands-on project, we will reveal the underlying ideas of our digital historical moment. As we analyze various modes of representation, we will investigate the impact electronic media have had on society and explore it implications for activities such as online learning and education. Using a series writings by pioneers in new media theory, we will place our current 21st century culture in a larger framework of established theoretical perspectives.

COM 419 (4) Video Game Design Studio
Students will apply video game industry frameworks to build and “gamify” information products in areas such as health care, network security and journalism. Students will learn skills related to game creation that can be used in real world settings to design and market a full-featured product. Programming and design skills common to the video game industry will be covered. The students will be expected to engage in teamwork, promotion of their game, creation of their game’s assets and engagement into the video game industry.

COM 422    Advanced Photography (4)
This course is designed to expand on the technical and creative concepts you learned in Digital Photography. Technical and Theoretical readings, group critique, lectures and hands-on activities will help to further your visual literacy. You will be challenged to find ways in which our technical and creative decisions can clarify your photography. Course content will emphasize photography as a vital component of contemporary art and as a cultural phenomenon. Visual presentations of contemporary digital photographers as well as an overview of photographic history will provide background for understanding photography as an evolving medium and how it pertains to contemporary artists and issues.

COM 429    Professional Game Production (4)
Focuses on the business of video games, market models, and promotion in a global electronic marketplace. Examines a full spectrum of game experiences and deconstructs their systems, in the context of the global game industry. Analyzes the many facets of creating a player centric game experience from the cultural significance of games and play to conceptualizing and proving concepts for a broad range of game media target markets and purposes.

COM 460    Advanced Web Site Design (4)
This course builds on the design, layout, and development principles learned in previous courses by teaching students to approach web site design and structure in a new way.  Where previous courses focus on designing the front end of a static web site, COM 460 focuses on developing the back end of a dynamic web site.  Students will produce an interactive commercial web site, incorporating specific data structures, web elements, and web technologies, while employing the design principles learned in previous courses.  Prerequisite:  COM 420.

COM 490    Special Topics in Communications (Variable 1-4)
An in‑depth treatment of a selected topic not normally treated extensively in other communication courses.  The subject matter will be related to current trends in communication.  Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

COM 491    Independent Study (Variable 1-4)
Extensive study and research on a particular topic of student interest under the supervision of a faculty member.  The student is required to submit a written proposal which includes a description of the project, its duration, educational goals, method of evaluation, and number of credits to be earned. Prerequisites:  Matriculated students only, permission of instructor and dean of subject area. Standard grading or S/U option at discretion of faculty supervisor.  Options must be chosen no later than last day to add/drop.

COM 492    Digital Media Internship (Variable 2‑8)
A professional experience designed to provide exposure to the field of digital media design and communication. Students either work on or off campus under the direction of a qualified digital media professional. Permission of program faculty and internship sponsor required.

COM 495    Senior Practicum in Communication (4)
Integrates academic and practical experience by placing students in an industrial, corporate or professional writing setting.  Students will choose clients in various businesses and industries, and they will work either on and off site in completing their major projects.  As students work through the documentation process, they will be given detailed classroom instruction about writing and editing in the corporate culture.  This course is designed as a one semester practicum where students will meet with the instructor in the classroom and with their clients on a weekly basis. Prerequisites:  COM 306 and COM 320, and permission of instructor.

COM 499    Portfolio Review and Professional Development (4)
Gives Communication and Information Design majors a first‑hand look at the job search process (professional development) and portfolio development. Students will be expected to research some aspect of the field, complete and write up an informational interview, submit a portfolio for review, and go on an actual interview. Prerequisite: COM 302, COM 306, COM 320, COM 380. Corequisite: COM 495.  Student must be in his/her last or next to last semester in the program.

 

Computer Science

CS 100        Introduction to Computing Seminar (4)
An introduction to programming and problem solving using a high level programming language such as Python. Designed for students who may want/need some preparation for CS 108.

CS 108        Computing Fundamentals (4)
Fundamental concepts of computing and programming.  Topics include data types, control structures, functions, arrays, files, and the mechanics of running, testing, and debugging.  The course also offers an introduction to the historical and social context of computing and an overview of computer science as a discipline.  Course taught using the C programming language.

CS 240        Data Structures and Algorithms (4)
Fundamental concepts of data structures and the algorithms that proceed from them.  Topics include recursion, the underlying philosophy of object-oriented programming, fundamental data structures including stacks, queues, linked lists, hash tables, trees, and graphs.  The basics of algorithmic analysis, and an introduction to the principles of language translation.  Prerequisites:  CS 108 and MAT 115.

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