Introduction to Computational Arts

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Course Date: 25 August 2014 to 22 December 2014 (17 weeks)

Price: free

Course Summary

This multidisciplinary production class serves as an introduction to, and exploration of electronic media in the arts. Lectures will cover concepts and presentations of artists working in various capacities with computers, as well as tutorials on specific software packages.


Estimated Workload: 3-4 hours/week

Course Instructors

Margaret Schedel

Margaret Anne Schedel is a composer and cellist specializing in the creation and performance of ferociously interactive media whose works have been performed throughout the United States and abroad. While working towards a DMA in music composition at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, her interactive multimedia opera, A King Listens, premiered at the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center and was profiled by apple.com. She holds a certificate in Deep Listening with Pauline Oliveros and has studied composition with Mara Helmuth, Cort Lippe and McGregor Boyle. She sits on the boards of 60x60 Dance, the BEAM Foundation, Devotion Gallery, the International Computer Music Association, and Organised Sound. She contributed a chapter to the Cambridge Companion to Electronic Music, and her article on generative multimedia was recently published in Contemporary Music Review. She is a joint author of Electronic Music and is working on an issue of Organised Sound on sonification. Her work has been supported by the Presser Foundation, Centro Mexicano para la Música y les Artes Sonoras, and Meet the Composer. In 2010 she co-chaired the International Computer Music Conference, and in 2011 she co-chaired the Electro-Acoustic Music Studies Network Conference.  Her research focuses on gesture in music, and the sustainability of technology in art. As an Assistant Professor of Music at Stony Brook University, she serves as Co-Director of Computer Music and is a core faculty member of cDACT, the consortium for digital art, culture and technology.


Course Description

In this 16-week course we’ll introduce the fundamentals of computational arts–covering basic programming, simple image processing and elementary sound recording. This class has been taught for seventeen years at Stony Brook University, and is an accessible introduction to combining arts and computing.

For programming we’ll be using the free and open source programming language and integrated development environment, Processing. The course will provide the essentials of programming in a visual context, allowing you to visualize, design, and create generative art with Processing.

For visuals we’ll cover Photoshop CS5 and GIMP, which is a free open-source tool offering the same functionality as Photoshop. Whether you have access to one or the other, you will learn how to create and manipulate digital images, and most importantly, you will become comfortable enough to expand on what you learn here, after the end of our course.

For sound we’ll teach both Logic and Soundation. Logic is Apple’s DAW or Digital Audio Workstation while Soundation is a free web-based multi-track audio editor. We’ll be teaching the basics of digital audio–including recording, and automating effects.

You will complete both technical assignments and artistic projects, and learn how to participate in an aesthetic critique. We’ll cover the history of sound and art in the Twentieth and 21st Centuries to give context for your artistic endeavors.

Peer review is integral to the success of this class; we will also teach you how to give constructive criticism. By the end of the 15 weeks you should have a strong foundation for how computers work and deal with data, specifically how image and sound are represented by the computer.

Additionally, you’ll create an online portfolio of digital art projects, and be able to communicate ideas about art.  

Each week you’ll watch two video series - one on the theory and one on the practice. There will be technical assignments and artistic projects which will be peer reviewed. We’re looking forward to working with you.


FAQ

Will I get a Statement of Accomplishment after completing this class?
Yes. Students who successfully complete the class will receive a Statement of Accomplishment signed by the instructor.

What resources will I need for this class?
For this course, you will need a computer, internet connection, Windows/Mac OS X operating system, with Processing, Photoshop or GIMP, and Logic or Soundation.

What is the coolest thing I’ll learn if I take this class?
Learning how to use your computer as a tool for artistic expression and finally learn what all those numbers and acronyms mean.

How does grading work in this course?
Your peers will be reviewing your assignments and projects, and your assessments will be graded automatically. You’ll receive a cummulative score report at the end of the course.

Can I contact the instructors directly, if I have questions about the material?
Due to the massive nature of this course, contacting the instructors directly is not allowed. We will however, be available for virtual hours, responding to selective forums posts, and monitoring the discussion boards.

Do I need to buy the books listed for the course?
No, all the material necessary to complete the course successfully will be provided. The books we listed are an extension of the course material, and provide additional self-guided learning opportunities.


Syllabus

Untitled Document


Introduction to Computational Arts
(Fall 2013)
Consortium for Digital Arts & Technology (CDACT)
Stony Brook University and Coursera

COURSE INFORMATION 


Instructors
Dr. Margaret Schedel

Catherine Katsafouros (TA)




Course Description
This multidisciplinary production class serves as an introduction to, and exploration of electronic media in the arts. Lectures will cover concepts and presentations of artists working in various capacities with computers, as well as tutorials on specific software packages.

Prerequisite
No prerequisites or prior knowledge needed. Familiarity with computers is helpful but not necessary.


Course Requirements


Course Learning Outcomes
Learners who successfully complete this course will have learned basic skills in three programs: Processing, Photoshop or Gimp, and Logic or Soundation. Throughout the three primary modules, students will be learn to give critical feedback to their peers about technical and artistic matters through a grounding in the history of technology and the arts. A digital portfolio will showcase your work from this course which culminates in a computational artwork using all three programs. 


Processing Outcomes:

    1. Understand the basics of computers, input and output devices, memory, and disks as demonstrated through quizzes and projects
    2. Navigate file systems in Windows and Mac OS X
    3. Demonstrate creative/conceptual awareness of generative design through peer critique
    4. Install and set-up a digital environment using Processing language.
    5. Generate and manipulate type, image and sound, incorporating principles of color, shape and grids.

Visual Arts Outcomes:

    1. Create, edit, manipulate digital images using the basic functions of visual arts software
    2. Demonstrate creative/conceptual awareness of visual design through peer critique
    3. Produce an artistic image using software

Sound Art Outcomes:

    1. Record, edit, and process digital sound using the basic functions of a Digital Audio Workstation.
    2. Demonstrate creative/conceptual awareness of sound art through peer critique
    3. Produce an effective 1-3 minute sound work with a formal structure

 

Textbook & Course Materials
Required Text: No required texts
Optional Texts:
PROCESSING:
Generative Design: Visualize, Program, and Create with Processing
by Hartmut Bohnacker (Author), Benedikt Gross (Author), Julia Laub (Author), Claudius Lazzeroni (Editor) ISBN-13: 978-1616890773
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press

VISUALS:
Art of the Digital Age
by Bruce Wands
ISBN-13: 978-0500286296
Publisher: Thames & Hudson

MUSIC:
Electronic Music (Cambridge Introductions to Music)
by Nick Collins  (Author) , Margaret Schedel  (Author) , Scott Wilson  (Author)
ISBN-13: 978-1107648173
Publisher: Cambridge University Press

WEB:
HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites
by Jon Duckett
ISBN-13: 978-1118008188
Publisher: Wiley




GRADING POLICY & COURSE REQUIREMENTS


Grading 
Assignments and projects are graded through a peer-review process; quizzes are multiple-choice and are graded by the computer. Your work on the assignments, projects and group presentation will be assessed two ways: your individual work to complete the assignment, project or presentation, and your own review of your peers’ work. Peer review counts as the participation component of your own grade, which means for everything you hand in you will also make substantive comments on the assignments which will be graded, and rate others’ comments.

 

Description

Weight

Participation Component

Quizzes (12)

10 %

0 %

Assignments (12)

20 %

20 %

Project 1 (visual)

20 %

25 %

Project 2 (sound)

20 %

25 %

Group Presentation (1)

5 %

50 %

Final Project
(visual, sound, programming)

25 %

25 %


Quizzes
After watching each video lecture series, you will take a multiple choice quiz which will count towards your final grade. You can only take these quizzes once. There are also “in-video questions,” and you must answer these questions correctly in order to advance the video, but these questions are NOT graded, you can re-do the “in-video” quiz as many times as you need to.


Assignments
Assignments are purely technical; each module will include a detailed explanation of how to complete and grade each assignment. There will be 1 assignment (which may have multiple components)  every week that there is no project due.  Each assignment should take you no more than one hour.


Projects
Projects are both aesthetic and technical; there will be an explanation of how to grade projects but you must remember that art is subjective. There are only three projects, and together they are worth the majority of your grade. You can expect these projects to take at  least 3-4 hours to complete. (Final project should take 6 hours.)


Group Presentation
In groups of 4-7, you will create a five-minute presentation that the other students can view. You can use any method or technology for loading this that works with your eportfolio site and collaborating. There will be a list of topics to choose from on a movement in twentieth or 21st century art or music.

Disclaimer: “The course schedule, policies, procedures, and assignments in this course are subject to change in the event of extenuating circumstances, by mutual agreement, and/or to ensure better student learning.”

 

COURSE SCHEDULE

Week 01-04 Introduction to Computing and Processing
Week 05-09 Introduction to Digital Art and Photoshop/Gimp
Week 10-14: Introduction to Electronic Music and Logic/Soundation
Week 15: Putting it All Together: Programming, Visuals and Sound


Assignments due:

 

Week 1

Install Programs

Week 2

Processing Assignment 1

Week 3

Processing Assignment 2

Week 4

Processing Assignment 3

Week 5

Image Assignment 1

Week 6

Image Assignment 2

Week 7

Image Assignment 3

Week 8

Image Assignment 4

Week 9

Project 1 (Image)

Week 10

Sound Assignment 1

Week 11

Sound Assignment 2

Week 12

Sound Assignment 3

Week 13

Project 2 (Sound)

Week 14

Portfolio Assignment 1

Week 15

Project 3 (Processing, Sound and Image)

 

Course Questions - FAQ
Have a question about the content of the course? Check the Course FAQs discussion board and if you don’t see the answer to your question there, create a new thread and post your question.  The course instructors will monitor the FAQ discussion board and will respond to questions posted.   


Technical Assistance
Technical problems with Coursera should be reported to the support forums in two ways:

  1. Click: HELP WITH COURSERA
  2. Using the in-context “report a problem” links on the course pages.

Be sure to note: The page where the problem occurred and what problem you had.

 

PEER FEEDBACK GRADING RUBRIC

You will grade each other’s work, and also grade each other’s comments. There will be instructions on how to grade the assignments, projects, and presentation, but you should use the following chart* when providing peer feedback. In addition, all participants should read and be familiar with the rules of Netiquette (for a general discussion please see Colorado State University’s Netiquette: Ground Rules for Online Discussions)
* Original Peer feedback rubric developed by Joanna Souza, Stony Brook University Biology Online

 

Criteria

0%
Unacceptable

50%
Poor

75%
Average

85%
Good

100% Excellent

Critical

 

 

Off Topic

Vague generalities only

Rudimentary and superficial; information is thin and
common

Competent  with an attempt to give underlying
principles

Thoughtful, insight with complete analysis
and/or gives underlying principles to correct

Links

Link to unrelated items, or missing this section entirely

Vague attempt at connections

Superficial response

Connections to real life are clear & did not repeat application from other students.

Clear connections to other works with complete underlying detail & applications or techniques not mentioned in class.

Unique

Restating the responses of others with no new material or insight.

Rewriting  of the ideas of other posts

Creative, but ultimately not helpful for learning

Explains new ideas with competence

New ideas made with much depth and detail

Timely

Opened new discussion thread
in the last 12 hours prior to
due date or post is does not
contribute to the thread overall. (Ignores other posted comments)

Posted after the due date or
some required areas missing

Posted before due-date but no attempt at an actual discussion

Posted within a timely period to contribute to discussion without repeating the information previously given

Posting not only on time but early enough to initiate or contribute to an actual discussion.

Style

Unprofessional, using personal slights etc.

Impossible to understand due to the grammatical errors.

Obvious grammatical errors where the errors interfere with content

 Several grammatical or stylistic errors

Few grammatical or stylistic errors- indicative of professional level of discourse

 

Format

This class will consist of weekly theoretical and practical videos, which will contain integrated quiz questions. There will be occasional standard quizzes, standalone homework (peer assessed on technique only), and three projects (peer assessed on aesthetic and technical grounds).


Suggested Reading

There are no required texts, but these books will help you advance your knowledge once you've taken the course. 

PROCESSING: 
Generative Design: Visualize, Program, and Create with Processing
by Hartmut Bohnacker (Author), Benedikt Gross (Author), Julia Laub (Author), Claudius Lazzeroni (Editor) ISBN-13: 978-1616890773 
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press

VISUALS:
Art of the Digital Age
by Bruce Wands 
ISBN-13: 978-0500286296
Publisher: Thames & Hudson

MUSIC:
Electronic Music (Cambridge Introductions to Music) 
by Nick Collins (Author) , Margaret Schedel (Author) , Scott Wilson (Author)
ISBN-13: 978-1107648173
Publisher: Cambridge University Press

WEB:
HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites 
by Jon Duckett 
ISBN-13: 978-1118008188
Publisher: Wiley


Course Workload

3-4 hours/week

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