Section: 1

Course Credits: 3

Semester: Fall 2018

Times: 2:30pm - 5:30pm Friday

Instructor: Michael Collins

Office Hours: By appointment via

E­mail: [email protected]

Class Location: 401 Patterson Building AND 207 Visual Arts Building

Begin/End Dates: 08/20/18 - 12/07/18


This course will introduce students to emerging technologies applicable to interdisciplinary electronic design study and to the digital design process and applications that are necessary for IDS design research and creative production. What students learn in this first of two preliminary courses during the first of year in the IDS major will have direct application in digital design problems that will be introduced in the beginning, intermediate, and advanced courses in the IDS Program. Accomplished digital artists and designers consisting of faculty in the School of Visual Arts. Content of the five modules will include two and three-dimensional modeling, animation; sound, and game design concepts and processes.


  1. Hard Drive: Minimum capacity: 100gig, Type: SSD or 7200rpm HDD, Interface: USB 2/3 or Thunderbolt.
  2. Portable Headphones with standard 3.5mm jack
  3. Sketchbook


Your PSU account allows you to access:,,


Autodesk software is free to students:

Supplemental software training is available at


Keep a copy of your work files on Ensure that you have multiple copies of your data at all times. Data corruption happens often. Again, loss of data is not a valid excuse for submitting a project late.


No textbooks required. Technical tutorials are provided at no cost through Students may optionally purchase from a variety of textbooks availble online to aid thier specific learning goals. Discuss with the instructor if this is of interest.

Course Objectives

Upon completing the course each student will:

  • Explore and apply foundational concepts of studio inquiry in 2D, 3D, 4D and interactive digital arts and design;
  • Develop a language suitable for descriptive analyses of creative practices, and critical understandings of broader cultural themes related to digital arts and media design;
  • Build creative and critical capabilities to assess projects in relation to personal intentions and the objectives of assignments;
  • Produce original creative projects in digital arts and design using a variety of 2D, 3D, 4D and interactive media;
  • Develop critical vocabulary for critiquing the work of peers with reference to intended parameters and issues and themes drawn from the environment of visual culture.

Course Requirements

Each class will meet in 401 Paterson. Attendance is mandatory; as this time will be used for critiques, reading discussions, presentations, video screenings, collaborative or group work, and the dissemination of general information. These sessions will at all times emphasize critical analysis and in­class discussion. In terms of studio production, whole class meetings may review work­in­progress; assess ongoing technical concerns; assist with immediate needs of a project concept and execution all the while continuing to develop a language appropriate for evaluation and critique. While there will be a limited amount of in­class time to experiment and complete work, you will be required to spend many hours working outside of class­ time.

Attendance Policy

LATE EXERCISES AND PROJECTS WILL NOT BE GRADED. Attendance is mandatory and professionalism both in and outside of class is a MUST. You are expected to participate in class discussions and critiques. Respect for others and class materials (cameras, decks etc) is expected. Students will be allowed three (3) absences without penalty. Any absences in excess of three (3) will result in a half letter grade reduction of the final grade for the course per absence. All absences will be counted. A student who will acquire absences due to a University sponsored activities must meet with me prior to the absences to make any special arrangements for missed work. A student who does not meet with me before the absences are incurred will be counted as absent. Any special medical or personal problems that occur, where absenteeism will exceed the allowed three may require course withdrawal or incomplete status on the final grade. Seven (7) absences mandates an automatic grade of F.



Approximately 3 projects (~50% Total)

Work Documentation

Approximately 2 projects (~25% Total)

Class Participation

Participation (~25% Total)

Grading Scale

Letter Grade Minimum Percent
A 94
A- 90
B+ 85
B 83
B- 80
C+ 73
C 70
D 60
F 0

A (Outstanding) Outstanding work that exceeds the basic project requirements and demonstrates profound insight, originality and understanding.

A-­ (Excellent) Excellent work that exceeds the basic project requirements and demonstrates insight and originality.

B+ (Superior) Superior work that demonstrates advanced understanding of the course material and exceeds the basic project requirements.

B (Very Good) Very good work that demonstrates a thorough understanding of the course material and far exceeds the basic project requirements.

B-­ (Good) Good work that demonstrates a thorough understanding of the course material and exceeds the basic project requirements.

C+ (Satisfactory) Satisfactory work that meets basic project requirements and demonstrates good understanding of the material.

C (Satisfactory) Satisfactory work that meets basic project requirements and somewhat demonstrates good understanding of the material.

D (Poor) Satisfactory work that meets basic project requirements and demonstrates some understanding of the material (not a thorough understanding).

F (Failure) Unsatisfactory work which shows insufficient effort or comprehension.

Safety Information

Students in the School of Visual Arts may find themselves working in the shop or in their studios or classrooms using a variety of power and hand held equipment, which may cause injury. Students should use the shop only after having received an orientation in the use of such equipment and when supervised by faculty or shop personnel. Should any injuries occur, in the shop, studios, or classrooms in the School of Visual Arts, please report them to Matthew Olsen, Art Shop Coordinator, Room 108­A Visual Arts Building, Phone: 814­865­3962, email:[email protected].

Student Resources

Are you going through something that is preventing you from attending class or completing coursework? Visit Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS)

If you are working in the studio late at night, Auxiliary Police will walk you home. Call 814-865-WALK for ‘Safe Walk’ service.

Academic Integrity

University Policies and Rules Guidelines states that academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner. Academic integrity is a basic guiding principle for all academic activity at The Pennsylvania State University, and all members of the University community are expected to act in accordance with this principle. Consistent with this expectation, the University’s Code of Conduct states that all students should act with personal integrity, respect other students’ dignity, rights and property, and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts. Academic integrity includes a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation or deception. Such acts of dishonesty violate the fundamental ethical principles of the University community and compromise the worth of work completed by others.

Academic dishonesty includes but is not limited to acts such as cheating on exams or assignments; plagiarizing the words or ideas of another; fabricating information or citations; facilitating acts of academic dishonesty by others; claiming authorship of work done by another person; submitting work completed in previous classes; and/or submitting the same work to multiple classes in which a student is enrolled simultaneously.

Disability Policy

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University’s educational programs. Every Penn State campus has an office for students with disabilities. The Office for Disability Services (ODS) Web site provides contact information for every Penn State campus: For further information, please visit the Office for Disability Services Web site:

In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled, participate in an intake interview, and provide documentation: If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus’s disability services office will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.

Exam Policy

An integral aspect this class is viewing, discussing, and responding to your own work and the work of your peers. The group critique is at all times a comfortable and constructive environment designed for in­depth analysis and evaluation. Through this process, each student will learn how to respond and challenge the formal (aesthetic), conceptual (idea) and interpretative (understanding) characteristics of any given artwork. Most importantly, the critique environment will push you to question and resolve your own artistic production. As with producing work, there are unlimited ways in which art can be approached and considered. If your assignment is not complete for the critique, your grade on that assignment will be lowered by one full letter for each class day it is late. You are required to attend critiques even if your work is not complete.