FA 4950-001 Spring 2014 Interdisciplin Capstone

FA 4950-001 Spring 2014 Interdisciplin Capstone

University of Utah, Arts and Technology
FA 4950 - Interdisciplinary Capstone Project


Spring 2014 Thursday 3:40 PM – 7:30 PM
Location: FAMB 106, Film and Media Arts Building, 370 South 1530 East, Salt Lake City, UT, 84112
Find it on web map Code: FMAB, Building Number: 36,  http://www.map.utah.edu/index.html

Instructor: Martin Novak
Contact: martin.novak@utah.edu  or novakm9@gmail.com
Office: FAMB 100 B
Office Hours: Thursday 2p.m. – 3 p.m. or by appointment


This is an interdisciplinary class in which students using their experience from Arts and Technology courses as well as their own area of study explore issues relevant to use of a new technology and art. This course is a workshop to examine topics related to art and technology investigating relative contemporary art theories. As a capstone course, students will create body of work that transcends art, as a means of representation to become an agent of personal, cultural, political or social examination.

This class is about ideas and creativity. It focuses on exploring the ideas and thoughts of artists whose practice involves the use of technology, and putting that knowledge to use in a collaborative project. To successfully complete this course requires you to be motivated, self-disciplined, and able and willing to work with others.

Course Philosophy. The capstone experience is defined as follows:

“All the skills of research developed in earlier work should be marshaled in a project that demands the framing of a significant question or set of questions, the research or creative exploration to find answers, and the communication skills to convey the results to audiences both expert and uninitiated in the subject matter.”

The capstone experience allows students to organize and synthesize knowledge and skills acquired in a wide array of settings and situations during the course of their undergraduate career. Capstone experiences also typically include an opportunity to present the results of inquiry or creative engagement to a larger audience. This audience may vary widely: a classroom symposium, publication in a student-run journal, participation at a professional conference, or presentation as part of a student-initiated course. At the undergraduate level, the most important criterion is the opportunity to communicate with a broader rather than a specialized, professional community.

The capstone experience needs to allow for collaborative effort whenever appropriate to the discipline, so that undergraduate students can be better prepared for participation in the team projects they will encounter in professional as well as private life. Additionally, the capstone course should prepare undergraduates for the expectations and standards of graduate work and the professional workplace. It should also serve as the culmination of the inquiry-based learning of earlier course work, broadening, deepening, and integrating the total experience of the field of study.

-Reinventing Undergraduate Education (Boyer Commission, 1998)

Course Objectives:

  • You will investigate and acquire a broader knowledge and understanding of ideas, issues, and practices of artists who use technology in their work.
  • Gain experience in working as a team by developing and presenting collaborative projects.
  • Create a research question(s) for collaborative, creative exploration.
  • Explore that question through discussion, sketches, models with your project group, and with the results, create a project that is conceptually and aesthetically rich, meaningful, and engaging.
  • Create an artist statement explaining your thinking behind the concepts and creative choices embodied in the project.
  • Present the final project in a public venue.

Required Text:

New Media in Art. 2nd edition by Michael Rush

The Art of Immersion: How the Digital Generation Is Remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the Way We Tell Stories by Frank Rose

You can order both titles on Amazon.com

Additional required text will be place on the Marriot Library reserves or in the finearts server class folder. 

Course Materials/Equipment:

For your own convenience (and sanity) it is highly recommended that you have your own computer to work on your projects and invest in an external hard drive to back-up your work. Other equipment and materials will be dictated by your teams project. You will have to provide your own materials for your final project. General resources such as computers are available to you through the University of Utah. You are responsible for finding and making specific resources and materials for your projects. 

Access to Fine Arts Server:

Sign up for server space ASAP. The Fine Arts Server is an essential class resource, which will be used on daily basis. You will turn in projects in a class folder on the server so it is imperative you have access.

The art department is not responsible for your data. Art department provides server space for this course where you can store your work for the length of the semester, but you are responsible for safe handling and backing up your data. Your server space provided by the art department is limited to 4GB of space and all data will be deleted at the end of the semester. It is your responsibility to transfer and backup all your data before they are deleted from the server. If you accede this space you will have to use your own digital storage.

Instructions on how to use the fine arts server:

To Access the server on Mac, from Finder Menu under Go scroll down to Connect to Server. Open server connection and in the server address field type afp://fs.finearts.utah.edu. Login using your University Unid ID and password. Open the courses volume and the FA4950 class folder. If you are using PC to access the server from home you need to download additional software.
Follow this link for detail http://helpdesk.finearts.utah.edu/student-course-space-access/

Additional Help with the fine arts server:


Course Requirements:

Consistent attendance! The nature of this course requires the students to be present in class and in their group project meetings. Students are allowed only three unexcused absences (for any reason) without affecting their grade. Each additional absence lowers the student’s final grade one level (for example B+ to a B). Contact me immediately if an attendance problem or other class issue arises. Most problems can be avoided if resolved immediately rather than waiting until the end of the semester. Attendance will be excused only for medical reasons with a note from your physician, or for official university events by your academic adviser.

Completion of all assignments:

Student will integrate the class lectures and discussions into assignment and turn assignments in on time. There will be several in-class assignments designed to provide experience with different skill sets and to help the groups form effective teams. These assignments will be turned in on the day they are assigned for full grade. Grades will be lowered for incomplete and/or late assignments. Assignments will not be accepted for grade a week after their due date.  Assignments that do not follow their description or University of Utah academic standards will be automatically graded 0 without the option to redo.

Ethics and Behavior:

Maintain professional ethics in working with the group. Cooperation works to everyone’s advantage and is necessary for a successful project. Your final grade will take in consideration how well you have worked in the group on successful completion of your final project. Any class problems or improper behavior should be brought immediately to the instructor attention or the Art and Art History Dean’s office. The proper course of action is outlined in the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities http://www.regulations.utah.edu/academics/6-400.html

Course Content:

Beginning with research of the concepts and ideas used by artists, students explore the intersection of arts and technology. Through assigned readings, class presentations and discussions students will research themes in contemporary art, explore the use of technology and discuss its relevance to their own practice. Through class dialogue they develop personal perspective that will be used as a guide and foundation for developing their final research projects. Based on the reading and discussion students will develop concept for their final capstone project.

During the semester, students will team up and prepare an in-class presentation on chapters in the assigned text books and develop an in-class creative exercise. If the presentation is from the book, students will present the ideas and concepts contained in the text and then propose several projects based on those ideas for class discussion. The rest of the class is expected to read and be familiar with the presented text to engage the presenter with relevant and challenging questions.

In a group activity student teams will create a creative exercise that leads to a brainstorming session based on the ideas and concepts explored in the activity.

Each team will develop proposal for final research project. Students will also work to promote the class public presentation of projects including the design of posters and other promotional materials. More details about this proposal and the final project will be discussed in class. As part of their project, each team will create a written artist statement that will be presented with their project.

The second half of the semester will be largely devoted to working in teams on the final capstone projects. Ability to working in a team is essential skill to negotiate your own space in a project and to build on others ideas refining and expanding your own points of view. Progress does not happened in vacuum but in rich creative environment where you synthesize your viewpoints with others.

Each student will write a final paper, discussing the semester’s activities and philosophy on the uses of technology in the arts. 

Assignments, presentations 30%
Class participation 10%
Midterm evaluation of capstone projects 10% 
Final project 50%

Grading will be based on participation, group and individual accomplishment, the sophistication of conceptual issues embodied in the class work as well as the creative and technical components of the final project. Student evaluation of other team members will be one component of the final project grade. There will be also writing projects, research and presentations.

Grade guide:

to 96%
< 96%
to 91%
< 91%
to 87%
< 87%
to 83%
< 83%
to 79%
< 79%
to 75%
< 75%
to 71%
< 71%
to 67%
< 67%
to 63%
< 63%
to 59%
< 59%
to 55%
< 55
to 0%

Your final grade will NOT be assed on grading scale but given a letter grade that reflects your strength, investment and effort in this class. The grading scale is used to help you guide your performance in class.

Final Grade Equivalents:

A = Sustained level of superior performance demonstrated in all areas of Course Requirements and Project Assignment Criteria.
B = Consistent level of performance that is distinctly above average in a majority of the Course Requirements and Project Assignment Criteria.
C = Level of performance that is generally average and in which all the Course Requirements and Project Assignment Criteria are achieved.
D = below average performance and achievement of the Course Requirements and Project Assignment Criteria
E = accomplishment of the Course Requirements and Project Assignment Criteria is not at a level sufficient to receive a passing grade.

Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities http://www.regulations.utah.edu/academics/6-400.html 

ADA Statement: The University of Utah seeks to provide equal access to its programs, services and activities for people with disabilities. If you will need accommodations in the class, reasonable prior notice needs to be given to the, 162 Union Building, 581-5020 (V/TDD). CDS will work with you and the instructor to make arrangements for accommodations.

STUDENT CODE OF CONDUCT: All students are expected to maintain professional behavior in the classroom setting, according to the Student Code, spelled out in the Student Handbook (www.admin.utah.edu/ppmanual/8/8-12-4.html).



Course Summary:

Date Details