Instructor: Wayne Madsen
Email: wmadsen(@)
Office: 1028 Fine Arts Building
Office Hours: TuTh 11AM-1PM

ARTC 4420 Section 1001/1002
Spring 2013
244 - Wolfe Center
MW 11:30AM-1:50PM

Course Overview

In ARTC 4420, we will explore virtual worlds as art content producing environments. This course aims to provide students with experiences to create and explore artwork in a 21st century setting through the mediated experience of the avatar.

Students will research in Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) games; they will understand and discuss the nature of the social construct and generate contemporary art within and outside the game environment. Students will create Machinima -- filmmaking developed by utilizing pre-generated virtual modules -- according to the artistic guidance given in class. With a clear understanding of performance art, students will create projects founded in an institutional critique of virtual worlds.

Class lectures will be devoted to discussion of principles related to contemporary use of virtual environments, along with necessary technical training.

This is not a course for making video games. This is a course for playing and understanding social gaming.


Students will use the computer as a tool for creating artwork.

The focus of this class is to explore video games and other interactive non-linear virtual platforms as a viable method and medium for art. The course will focus on learning the basics of contemporary game practice, performative art and interactive storytelling. Student will additionally examine artists, works, and genres of New Media including physical computing, electronics, happenings, fluxus movement, and cyber culture.

Learning Objectives (Skills Mastered)


Required Materials Additional purchases and information


Information presented in class lectures, discussions and demos is the responsibility of each student. General assignments are mandatory and must be completed on the required dates and in the proper format. Assigned readings are the responsibility of each student and will be required for class discussion and project completion. Each lecture and discussion requires the student's participation for which a grade will be given. The technical aspects of the class are demanding and require that students be self-motivated and independently solve problems. Unless defined by the calendar, Mondays will focus on lectures, discussions and demonstrations, while Wednesdays will focus on time when students can research, work on assignments and request for help. Students will need to be able to competently write about their projects in a formal way.


This course assumes an interactive approach in its structure and in its presentation, which requires engaged participation from all members of the class. This class is a cumulative experience and necessitates your presence in lab time as well as lecture. Therefore, regular attendance is expected and considered mandatory. If you miss a class, it is your responsibility meet with a classmate or make an appointment with me to get the information.

Being 5 minutes or more late to class three times will count as one unexcused absence.

Assignments and Critiques

Required Texts

Readings on theory will be online; the URLs will be listed in the calendar and on the blog. For each reading, the student is required to write a multi-paragraph essay describing the core elements of the reading materials as well as any insights the student may have on the concepts.

Students will be required to present as a group on independent research. Examples will be given to the group by the Instructor, but it will be the expectation that the student must find their own research to contribute to the class. There is a list of texts on the resource page, which will continue to grow through the semester. Please take advantage of this reading.

Turning in Projects
All projects should be demonstrated in class for critiques. You will need to upload all documentation of your project to your personal web folder, as well as bring your project into class.

Extra Credit
Extra credit may be awarded to assignments that go well beyond what we cover in class and other alternative assignments may come up during the semester.

If you miss a regular critique, the project for that critique will be lowered by one letter grade. Late projects and papers will not be accepted without good reason determined on a case-by-case basis by the professor. This class is very dependent on having projects finished for the class critiques: if the student doesn't have the project done, they will not be able to completely participate. If the student has extenuating circumstances, please clear them with the instructor ahead of the due date. Medical emergencies are excused, per doctor’s note.

During critiques, I expect each student's full attention and respect. Monitors will be TURNED OFF during critiques. Critiques begin promptly at the beginning of the class.

Final Critique
Attendance at the Final critique is mandatory. Missing the final critique will result in an F for the Final Project. NO late Final Projects will be accepted!

Grades / Evaluation

All projects will be graded on the rubric chart attached to this syllabus. A grade for Participation will be calculated as a sum of the student's involvement in class and the general helpfulness that the student offers to fellow classmates. In-class Projects and Readings are graded on a pass or fail basis. A grade will be given to each of your main projects based on merit***. Your final grade will be calculated from these three scores.

A (100-90)
Excellent - Above and beyond, artistically AND technically

B (89-80)
Very Good - Beyond requirements, artistically OR technically

C (79-70)
Average - Met the basic requirements

D (69-60)
Did not meet requirements

F (59-0)
Project not turned in or completely insufficient

Grading Rubric

Digital Arts Department Rules

Student Projects

Projects created in any Digital Arts course may be used by the ART department for the purpose of promoting the student, the department and/or the university in general. These materials may also be used by the ART department for instructional purposes in future courses. Please inform the instructor if you do not want your projects used.


Any student who wishes to discuss accommodations on the basis of a disability, please come talk to me after class or during office hours. The goal of the Disability Services for Students Office is to help provide equal access and reasonable accommodations to BGSU students with disabilities. Students wishing to discuss their eligibility for such accommodations are encouraged to contact their office at 372-8495 (413 South Hall).

Academic Honesty

Students are expected to maintain the highest level of integrity in their academic work. From time to time, however, issues such as cheating, fabrication or plagiarism in an academic exercise arise. The original jurisdiction and penalty both vary depending on the offense and when it is discovered. Also, there are specific requirements for record-keeping and for notification of the student and academic dean. The complete policy is available in both the Student Handbook (Codes of Conduct) and the Faculty Handbook (Academic Charter).

Now that we have covered that, let me suggest some things that you can do to get the most from this course: Make the deadlines, yes it will be hard sometimes. Acknowledge that a ‘B’ means above average. Pay attention. Take your turn, let other’s take theirs. Be honest with one another and at the same time you offer suggestions and alternatives that help build up the work of everyone in this course. Help one another and trade favors: “I will take pictures of your project if you can record my piece.” Play: yes please participate. Let me know when you are unsure.


I reserve the right to change these rules as I see fit in order to facilitate a better learning environment.