Cyle Metzger


George Mason University




Course Description:

From the course catalog — AVT 180 "Introduces computing from artist's perspective. Emphasizes computer use for artistic creation and research. Overview of image making and time-based media within the broad context of contemporary art, new media art, and mediated culture." The primary goal of this course is to provide an analytical, creative, and instructional working environment that supports each student in the making of meaningful visual responses to the world(s) they live in. Students will be encouraged to follow their own interests and to examine their work within the broad context of contemporary art, new media art, and mediated culture.

This course will emphasize the research and practice of new media art, taking a creative and critical approach to working with mixed realities. New media art making will be considered in the context of (and potentially as placed against) fine art, new and emerging technologies, entertainment and commercial art. Elements from popular culture, the performing arts, the visual arts, creative writing, and any field of inquiry may be employed to bring meaningful and unique perspectives to completed projects.

This experience is designed to broaden the student's range of visually expressive new media practices. Emphasis will be placed on idea generation, concept, content and context development, visual aesthetics and technical abilities. In addition to weekly demonstrations and discussions, students will be called upon to present their work in process. Outside web research and studio time are required to support class discussions and creative work.

Methods of instruction include software demonstrations, lectures, visual presentations, discussions and critiques. Working on the Macintosh platform, students will learn how to create thought-provoking images and time-based work. Working and final critiques will help each student with his or her application of concepts learned, as well as further develop each student's individual approach to the projects.

This course satisfies a General Education Foundation Requirement for Information Technology The purpose of the information technology requirement is to ensure that students achieve an essential understanding of information technology infrastructure encompassing systems and devices; learn to make the most of the Web and other network resources; protect their digital data and devices; take advantage of latest technologies; and become more sophisticated technology users and consumers.

This course is designed to help students learn to use digital tools for creative work. Additionally, after successfully completing this class:

All academic programs at Mason (including the General Education Program) have student learning outcomes that are assessed periodically. Your work from this course may be selected for use in such an assessment. Your anonymity is assured and your grade will not be affected. At any time, you may contact the Office of Institutional Assessment ( with questions, concerns, and comments about the use of your work. For more information on the mission of the General Education Program, visit on the web or consult the University Catalog.

Course Objectives:

General knowledge of hardware, software and vocabulary associated with the use of the computer in art production and design. A satisfactory knowledge of the Macintosh OS as well as interfacing with Macintosh system peripherals. The ability to correctly utilize various input and output devices, and an understanding of the relevant qualities of each. A basic knowledge of a raster based (bit mapped) image production and compositing techniques. A basic knowledge of vector drawing and the utilization of vector paths. The ability to produce a variety of image characteristics using Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. An introduction to open-source web technologies. An introduction to time-based digital technology.

Each new media project will require research, idea development, production, presentation and critique of the final piece. Each student will turn in a completed Project Statement for each project and be prepared to discuss their work (and the work of their fellow students) during critique day. Students who actively participate in this course will have a beginning understanding of how to create meaningful new media art by working through these steps:


Students will be introduced to working with Photoshop, Illustrator, WordPress, advanced Google Maps technologies, and Final Cut Pro to create still and moving images. Additionally, students are free to use open source and/or additional commercial software programs in creating their projects. The free to download sound program Audacity will also be introduced for time based media projects.


Each student is required to complete five projects and participate fully in classroom activities (see percentage breakdown below). Each student will draw on their experiences, research and imagination to create work that is personally meaningful, intellectually engaging, and that meets all of the project criteria. There will be ongoing reviews of work in progress. Students are expected to maintain a personal blog like this one for turning in of research materials, project assignments and reading responses. Be prepared to work in class and to participate in the discussions and critiques that take place during the semester.

Projects must reflect the student's best effort, show progress and be turned in on due dates. A completed Project Statement must be submitted along with each class project. This class requires 8+ hours per week spent on projects outside of class each and every week. Any student not working on a regular basis outside of class will fall behind and find it extremely difficult to keep up with the class.


All students are expected to participate in class discussions. Critical thinking is encouraged. In the context of group critique, it is important that the class openly, honestly and respectfully discuss the work presented. The goal of critique is to thoughtfully examine meaning and the technical and conceptual proficiency in a piece. Critiques are aimed at helping students better conceptualize, examine and articulate their desires through art. Students are expected to take criticism seriously but not personally, and where appropriate, incorporate responses to criticism into future work.


External Hard Drive or Flash Drive – YOU MUST BRING THIS WITH YOU TO EVERY CLASS.

If you are unable to participate in class because you have not brought your drive with you, I will ask you to leave class and you will be considered absent that day. There is no way you can utilize class time without your drives, so I am very strict about this policy.


If you are ill, please stay home, however, giving me notice of your absence PRIOR to class via email and providing me with a doctors note or documentation of your emergency situation upon your arrival in the next class. I will not ask you for this documentation. It is your responsibility to provide it if you would like your absence excused.

If you do not let me know prior to class that you will be absent, I will not excuse the absence. Two unexcused absences will result in a half letter drop in your grade. Each subsequent unexcused absence will result in additional half-letter grade reductions.


You are also expected to arrive on time to class. I close the classroom door five minutes after the start of class and I will NOT let you in after class has begun. This is absolutely non-negotiable due to the disruption late arrivals cause to the class. If you are locked out because of a late arrival, I will count that as an unexcused absence unless you provide me with documented reason for your lateness resulting in an absence.


Should you miss a class, you're responsible for keeping abreast of what is due next class, either through this syllabus or contacting a classmate. I do not take responsibility for letting you know what you missed. Ask a classmate. Find a buddy to keep in touch with through out the semester incase you are absent or late and miss information given in class. I don't take responsibility for letting you know what you missed, excused or unexcused.

LATE WORK: I do not accept it. Do not even ask.


All class members are to follow the fundamental principles of academic integrity outlined in the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct. The policy on Academic Misconduct appears in the code and in the schedule of classes. The basic principle is that students take credit only for the ideas and efforts that are their own. Any act of academic dishonesty will place you in jeopardy of the most severe form of sanction by Towson University expulsion from the university.

Included among dishonest behaviors in an academic setting are cheating (using or attempting to use unauthorized assistance, materials, information, or study aids in an academic exercise), fabrication (falsifying or inventing information in an academic exercise), plagiarism(adopting or reproduction of ideas, words, or statements of another person without appropriate acknowledgment), interference (stealing, changing, destroying, or impeding another students work), and facilitating (intentionally or knowingly helping or attempting to help another student commit an act of academic misconduct.


As required by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, appropriate accommodations will be made for all students with documented disabilities. If you have a disability requiring accommodation in this class, please notify the instructor as soon as possible. This information will be kept confidential.


A Level Work:
A 93-100%
A- 90-92.9%

Demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of concepts and techniques presented shows exceptional attention to detail and excellent craftswo/manship demonstrates outstanding creativity and initiative

B Level Work:
B+ 87-89.9%
B 83-86.9%
B- 80-82.9%

Demonstrates a good understanding concepts and techniques presented shows attention to detail and commendable craftswo/manship demonstrates creativity and initiative.

C Level Work:
C+ 77-79.9%
C 70-76.9%

Demonstrates a base level understanding of concepts and techniques presented shows little attention to detail and lacking in craftswo/manship lacking in creativity and initiative.

D Level Work:
D+ 67-69.9
D 60-66.9

Demonstrates no understanding of concepts and techniques presented shows no attention to detail and deficient craftswo/manship demonstrates no creativity or initiative.

F Level Work:
F 0-59.9%

Student does not attempt the course activity or submits a project which shows evidence of plagiarism, fraud, or copyright violation.