Interactive Media M.F.A. Featured Courses

3D for Graphics Storytelling

Today, 3D design is everywhere: in movies, in videogames, in TV commercials, and in newspapers and magazines. In this course you will learn to use Autodesk Maya, the leading 3D software tool, as a means to making real-world issues understandable to your users.

Advanced Systems: Designing Playful Experiences

Building on their systems foundation from the Intro to Systems course, students will continue to play and analyze games along with designing games in order to build a more extensive vocabulary and toolkit to both understand and design interactive systems. Students will be exposed to a range of popular game prototyping technologies (for example: Twine, GameSalad, ARIS) and will create several mini projects as well as one final game project created using the platform of their choice.

Advanced Systems: Designing Playful Experiences

Building on their systems foundation from the Intro to Systems course, students will continue to play and analyze games along with designing games in order to build a more extensive vocabulary and toolkit to both understand and design interactive systems. Students will be exposed to a range of popular game prototyping technologies (for example: Twine, GameSalad, ARIS) and will create several mini projects as well as one final game project created using the platform of their choice.

Alternative Media Activism

In this course, students will examine the role of media in shaping social reform to document social issues such as poverty, human rights, social inequities, the environment, and powerless groups. We will review the philosophy and history of media as activism ranging from documentary, journalism, to news and information, the Internet, social media and newer forms of media. Emphasis is placed on developing a critical understanding of current media advocacy practices with a conscious goal: awareness, change minds, to affect policy, and action.

Building Interfaces

This course covers the production concepts and techniques to design and develop dynamic graphical user interfaces (GUIs) for web applications. Students will develop competency with several key technologies used in web development and providing them with the skills and principles needed to make effective use of these technologies.

Capstone Project

After completing all course requirements students will be required to do a project. The capstone project course is designed to help and guide students with their final project and is structured as a series of critique and presentation sessions in which individual final projects are discussed. Capstone projects may be done collaboratively with prior approval of the Program Chair. Both the project and the supporting documentation must be submitted for archiving as directed by the instructor. Oral presentation of the final project is required.

CoLab

CoLab is designed to provide students the opportunity to work with experts across disciplines and industries. This course is designed as a unique collaboration between the University, nonprofits and/or private sector companies to address complex socio-technical issues that currently challenge businesses today.

Design, Code Loop

This course is an exploration of the fundamental elements of graphic form, movement, and interaction as expressive and meaning(ful) agents in digital media. Students will work through a series of structured studio exercises designed to iteratively move them from simple to complex visual vocabularies, methods of analysis, workflows, and problem solving using mainstream as well as less known software tools. No prior design experience is required but assignments are designed to benefit students of all levels; graduate students will have more flexibility for adapting work to their thesis subject.

Dynamic Data

This course focuses on speaking through computer programming and data. Students will learn to build stories using numerical data or databases as a primary material and explore data as content. For this course students will be required to build custom software solutions through web programming languages that utilize third party APIs to interpret, analyze and manipulate data.

Game Development Studio

This course is a project-based course devoted to developing a game. In groups, students will start with a concept and create prototypes that will be refined through multiple iterations and playtests. Your final game will either be a well-polished non-digital game or digital game.

Intro to Systems: Designing Interactivity

In this course you will learn to apply systems thinking to the design of interactive systems ranging from physical games to screen-based applications. Designers must understand how to create interactivity through meaningful choice and how to design interfaces that visually communicate desired human interaction as part of an integrated system.

Introduction to Systems: Designing Interactivity

In this course you will learn to apply systems thinking to the design of interactive systems ranging from physical games to screen-based applications. Designers must understand how to create interactivity through meaningful choice and how to design interfaces that visually communicate desired human interaction as part of an integrated system.

Mobile Application Development

The rapid global growth and evolution of smartphones, tablets, mobile computing and applications are impacting virtually all aspects of societies, economies and the media, requiring new leadership and expertise in these areas. This introductory course gives communication students valuable understanding and experience designing, developing and distributing a mobile application of their choosing as their course end product. Students can target any mobile platform and distribution system, including Apple’s iOS and App Store, or Android Apps on Google Play, for example.

Physical Computing and Prototyping

This seminar will examine the differences and opportunities present, between a series of physical computing techniques and rapid prototyping. The course will be conducted through a series of parallel lectures and workshops aimed at developing skills for the creation of a physical, interactive prototype, ranging from wearables, products and art installations.The course will track through three projects each of which will focus on a specific interactive and product development methodology: electronics and Arduino, product development and 3D modeling for fabrication.

Programming for Designers

This course will teach students the basics of programming using Processing. Processing is a language created by Ben Fry and Casey Reas of MIT. It was created to make computer programming accessible to people who might imagine it but do not always have the skills to execute it, thus making it an excellent tool to teach programing concepts to designers. Processing gives students immediate results allowing them to easily create beautiful, interactive graphics.

Social Impact Games

In this course students will explore the use of games as a communication tool for social good and will create their own game-based interventions. As humans we have a natural desire and need to play. Historically, play and games have been perceived as trivial, but there is a growing body of creative work and research proving that games can make the world better. Specifically, games are an excellent medium for advocacy and awareness because they are inherently systems that also provide meaningful situated learning.

Technology Trends

Trends is a foundation course intended to promote a dialogue about the current state of business, art, health, culture, and innovation and how new technologies are affecting these fields. Students will learn to dissect hype and analyze which are the technologies that will really affect our lives while engaging students in challenging and meaningful discussions about design and technology as a field of knowledge.

Usability Design and Research

This course takes a comprehensive look at how different contexts shape the outcome of interactive media, products, and services by (a) focusing on the “theory to practice” connection underlying the product development process and (b) employing research methodology to test technology. Students will critically evaluate and analyze user experiences by conducting and executing a wide range of methods from ethnographic techniques, usability testing, log analysis, surveying, as well as how to engage user feedback effectively at every stage of the design process.

Web Applications

With the evolution of technology there has been an exponential adoption of cloud computing technologies and an increasing number of applications are being pushed on the Web. Software will be consumed through the browser and the implications for software development are significant. In this course students will learn the concept of interoperability of applications: server-side scripting, web server configuration, caching servers, and data stores.