Web and Multimedia Environments | Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Web and Multimedia Environments: Degree Information

MCAD emphasizes a collaborative process and working with students from all majors. For this Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, you will take courses in several different areas, including a core focus, adding up to 120 total credits required for graduation. 

Required Courses - These are the core courses that every Web and Multimedia Environments student takes.

Foundation Studies - These classes help you become a well-rounded student; they build a solid art background.

Studio Electives - Throughout your studies you can choose from several studio electives that give you hands-on creative time. 

Humanities and Sciences Electives - These classes round out your experience at MCAD, deepen your creative practice, and fulfill non-studio requirements for a degree.  

Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate fluency in screen-based aesthetics and practices including human-to-machine interaction.
  • Create installations and events centered around meaningful intersection of multiple media.
  • Produce interactive virtual environments for single and multiple users.
  • Discuss contemporary and historic virtual environment trends and artists.
  • Identify the most efficient solutions for programming problems.
  • Constructively evaluate, interpret, and critique one’s own work, and the work of others.

Core Required Courses

39 credits

WMM 3010 Installation and Performance
3 credits

This class offers an in-depth exploration of the art and design concepts related to physical space: whether defined as an art installation, live performance, museum exhibition design, or retail environment. Participants study a variety of points of intersection between human interaction, physical spaces/objects, and technology. A variety of sensing and tracking technologies are surveyed and implemented. High and low technologies are reviewed from the perspective of various modes of artist/performer/audience-customer interaction.

Prerequisites: Foundation: Media 2

WMM 3020 Web and Screen
3 credits

Building on their initial exposure to web design and development in Foundation: Media 1 and 2, students engage in a thorough examination of current web-publishing standards, concepts, and development tools. Topics covered in this course range from web design and development—including Internet-based art practices, interactive screen-based publication formats, commercial websites, generative and algorithmic art, information design, and digital storytelling—to broader screen-based aesthetics and practices. Machine-to-machine as well as human-machine interactions are presented. Creative and investigative approaches to network-driven concepts are encouraged.

Prerequisites: Foundation: Media 2

WMM 3030 Virtual Environments
3 credits

This class is concerned with virtual worlds developed entirely within the digital realm. Students learn how to write and develop ideas for nonlinear narratives and characters as well as how to build and/or modify fully functional virtual environments for single and multiple users. Issues covered include interface design, interaction, character design, animation, nonlinear structure, rules, and algorithms. Additionally, the class offers a thorough survey and study of programming concepts related to development of games and simulated environments.

Prerequisites: Foundation: Media 2

WMM 3040 Coding Concepts
3 credits

This course further supplements the programming needs of students enrolled in all web and multimedia environments classes. Students are taught a range of practical programming skills and concepts and are exposed to the creative approach of recognizing programming and computational experimentation as an art medium. Coding structures, data organization, and generative and algorithmic strategies are emphasized. This course provides an opportunity for in-depth investigation of topics and programming problems of special interest to students developing interactive environments, multimedia installations, and screen-based works. Some topics covered include generative algorithms, data-mining, random events, interactive states, user input, physics, the systematic combination of media, and artificial intelligence.

Prerequisites: Foundation: Media 2

MA 3065 Sound
3 credits

Designed to acquaint students technically and conceptually with the medium of sound, this course provides a basic working vocabulary for understanding, discussing, and producing sounds. Topics covered include basic perceptual concepts and fundamentals of composing sound such as pitch, rhythm, duration, and volume. Students complete a series of assigned projects designed to demonstrate and assess competencies with microphones, studio recording, and digital editing, mixing, and processing.

Prerequisites: Foundation: Media 2

GRD 2000 Graphic Design 1
3 credits

This course provides students with an overview of graphic design practice. Students concentrate on building visual and typographic communication skills as well as the vocabulary necessary for critical analysis. These introductory level skills are explored through static, static-narrative, interactive, and time-based media. Topics covered include basic visual and typographic principles, composition, type and image integration, sequence, and craft. Students are also introduced to the design process, which includes research, ideation, iteration, refinement, and implementation. Image/image-series, logotypes, mark-making, digital presentations, and booklets are possible outcomes of this course.

Prerequisites: Foundation: 2D, Foundation: Media 1

MA 4000 Professional Practice: Media Arts
3 credits

The primary focus of this class is to provide media arts students with the tools that will enable them to enter professional practice immediately following graduation. Each student is required to produce a polished resume, artist statement, website, professional identity system, and portfolio. Topics include long-range goal creation and planning; financial, legal, and other business considerations; grant writing; and communication and marketing skills involving verbal, written, and visual presentations. Topics are presented through lectures, critiques, and presentations by experts in the field.

Prerequisites: Junior standing

varying Internship or Studio Elective
3 credits

Choose to pursue an internship or an additional studio elective

WMM 5040 Advanced Web and Multimedia Environments Seminar
3 credits

In this seminar students expand their understanding of practice within a cross-media platform. Students engage in intensive theoretical and critical studies in tandem with the development of advanced projects. Special emphasis is given to hybrid media and experimental exploration. Given that this course is open to all majors, students have an opportunity to engage and interact with those studying different fields, challenge and expand their knowledge and vocabulary, and gain a deeper understanding of interdisciplinary practice.

Prerequisites: Foundation: Media 1

WMM 5100 Senior Project: Web and Multimedia Environments
6 credits

During senior year, each web and multimedia environments major is required to develop and complete a substantial project in a specific field of study. This course provides a forum for the critical evaluation of this work and curatorial guidance in preparation for the Commencement Exhibition. Course content includes critical readings, position paper, individual and group discussion, informational meetings, and a presentation to the college on this work. Required for all seniors.

Prerequisites: Successful Junior Review, senior standing

Web and Multimedia Option (select two)

WMM 5010 Advanced Installation and Performance
3 credits

This course expands the technical expertise, creative vocabulary, and conceptual sophistication of students interested in installation and performance. While working on substantially more complex and individualized projects, students are encouraged to develop a more personal direction and sensibility. Special emphasis is placed on an investigation of practical concerns related to positioning and implementation of the projects in specific environments such as galleries, museums, performance venues, or retail environments.

Prerequisites: Installation + Performance

WMM 5020 Advanced Web and Screen
3 credits

Building on the cumulative experiences of web and multimedia environments students, this course presents an opportunity for students to engage in and develop a more specific and individualized body of work in screen- and web-based practices. Critical class reviews and discussions, readings, lectures, and demonstrations support the development of large-scale projects. Students are encouraged to further identify and develop specific career goals in their field of practice.

Prerequisites: Web and Screen or Coding Concepts

WMM 5030 Advanced Virtual Environments
3 credits

This class provides students with an opportunity to further refine their creative, technical, and programmatic skills while working on larger-scale, sophisticated projects. Students engage in studies of theoretical, critical, and cultural concepts relevant to the design, development, implementation, and impact of games in contemporary society. Students are encouraged to investigate and identify their career plans and recognize their potential role in the context of the gaming industry. Specific career models and skill sets are discussed in relation to specialized aspects of game design and development.

Prerequisites: Virtual Environments

Foundation Studies

19 credits

FDN 1111 Foundation: 2D
3 credits

Foundation: 2D is an introduction to creative thinking that develops students’ skills in research, observation, interpretation, and self-expression. An emphasis is placed on exploring new ways to read and see the world, as well as new ways to report on it. Students learn basic two-dimensional principles through the use of various media, tools, materials, and processes. As a result, students develop a visual and verbal language for analyzing, organizing, shaping, and communicating two-dimensional form and meaning.

FDN 1112 Foundation: 3D
3 credits

This course is an introduction to understanding of visual creation for the development of knowledge, imagination, and perception. Students are introduced to basic three-dimensional concepts as well as materials and technical production processes. Classroom activities include shop demonstrations of tools and techniques, information, lectures, and discussions appropriate to promote the balanced fusion of practice and theory.

FDN 1211 Foundation: Drawing 1
3 credits

Foundation: Drawing 1 is an introductory drawing course designed to prepare students for study in all majors of the college. Students develop basic drawing skills, including the ability to perceive and express visual relationships, organize a two-dimensional composition, and depict and manipulate form, space, and light. Students work from direct observation of still life, interior space, and landscape.

FDN 1311 Foundation: Media 1
3 credits

Students are introduced to digital resources at MCAD while exploring digital media. Areas covered include the Service Bureau, Gray Studio, and Media Center, along with other digital resources. Students use a variety of software and hardware to learn the basics of working with recorded media, including video, sound, and photography, as well as developing critical language for discussing media and media artists.

FDN 1312 Foundation: Media 2
3 credits

Building on the knowledge acquired in Foundation: Media 1, this course engages students’ skills in observation, recording, editing, critical analysis, and conceptualization within media arts. Through discussions, lectures, and creative projects, students explore various modes of media presentation and the power of moving images and multimedia work. Using digital technologies to deepen their media and technology foundation, students explore complex concepts and techniques for creating impactful work.

Prerequisites: Foundation: Media 1

FDN 1411 Ideation and Process
3 credits

Everything we make has its beginning as an idea, which takes form as an artist/designer makes a series of decisions to guide its creative evolution. This course is designed to help students explore the development of new ideas and their own process of making. Students also create visual tools to track their creative process from idea through construction and then to post production analysis. The course consists of discussions, critiques, exercises, and visual logs.

Prerequisites: Sophomore standing

FDN 1412 Sophomore Seminar: Contemporary Practice
1 credits

Practice is more than working methods: it’s the context, marketing, and creative space that maintain creative work. Contemporary Practice introduces students to the foundations, variety, and tools of a professional practice. Students upgrade websites and documentation, enter contests, and create professional presentations of their work. Classes consist of lectures, student presentations, and guest speakers from a wide range of disciplines.

Prerequisites: Sophomore standing

Studio Electives

23 credits

varying BFA Studio Electives

Choose BFA studio courses to take as electives; amount determined by your major.

Humanities and Sciences

39 credits

AH 1701 Introduction to Art and Design History 1
3 credits

The objective of this course is to familiarize students with the major stylistic, thematic, cultural, and historical transformations in art history from prehistoric times to the nineteenth century. This course helps students develop critical tools for the interpretation and understanding of the meaning and function of art objects, architecture, and design artifacts within their original historical contexts. Class sessions consist primarily of lecture with some discussion.

AH 1702 Introduction to Art and Design History 2
3 credits

This course introduces students to issues in modern art, popular culture, and contemporary art and design. Topics may include the expanding audience for art, the transformation of the art market, the impact of new technologies, the changing status of the artist, and the role of art in society. This course is taught as a seminar with some lecture.

Prerequisites: Introduction to Art and Design History 1 or faculty permission

EN 1500 Writing and Inquiry
3 credits

Key to the creative and critical growth of the engaged, successful artist is participation in a culture of writing and inquiry. Students in this course focus on the kinds of writing they will encounter and produce in their coursework at MCAD and as creative professionals. Regular writing workshops allow students to concentrate on experiential and practical approaches to writing. Students explore a variety of texts and objects through class assignments, and then develop clear compelling essays employing a variety of rhetorical and narrative strategies.

varying Creative or Professional Writing
3 credits

Creative or professional writing elective

varying Scientific and Quantitative Reasoning
3 credits

Scientific and Quantitative Reasoning classes increase students’ appreciation for the power of scientific and quantitative approaches to knowing the world.

varying Histories, Places, Philosophies
6 credits

6 credits of histories, places, philosophies electives

Cultural Awareness Requirement (select one)

AH 4731 Art in the Age of Empire (1789-1949)
3 credits

Using a global and historical perspective, this course examines the rise and spread of European colonialism and its impact on artistic practices in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Through a series of case studies, students will explore the ways in which European forms of image-making underwrote and facilitated the colonial project and the multiple modes through which picturing practices offered a venue for both colonizer and colonized to articulate, define, and forge political and social relationships. In each case, indigenous and hybrid forms of art-making will be highlighted alongside European forms in order to understand how the visual arts served as an expression of identity, cultural belonging, and self-fashioning. Topics will be explored by urban centers: Paris, Algiers, Shanghai,
Mumbai (Bombay), Cairo, Istanbul, Port-au-Prince, New Orleans, and other sites.

Prerequisites: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 and a 3000-level AH or HU course, or faculty permission.

AH/HU 4325 Native American Art
3 credits

Most Native American tribes do not have a word in their languages for “artist,” yet the arts are a living part of both daily life and ceremonial tradition. Focusing on the works of selected tribes, students in this course look at Native American art, architecture, and aesthetics. Emphasis is placed on the nineteenth century to the present. The impact of outside forces on continuities and changes in traditional forms is also explored. Classes are primarily lecture with some discussion. 

Prerequisites: Prerequisite: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 and any 3000-level AH or HU course or its transferred equivalent, or faculty permission.

AH/HU 4722 Asian Art History
3 credits

This course examines the art of Asia from its beginnings to the present day. It involves a regional approach, focusing on representative works from India, Southeast Asia, China, and Japan. While regional characteristics are emphasized, cross-cultural influences are also studied. Through a variety of media, including sculpture, architecture, and painting, students gain an understanding of the broad themes and concepts that run throughout Asian art. Students consider the role of religion, for example, and gain a basic comprehension of Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Islam, Taoism, and Shinto. The structure of the class includes lectures, large and small group discussions, and visits to the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Prerequisites: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 and any 3000-level AH or HU course or its transferred equivalent, or faculty permission.

AH/HU 4725 Islamic Art
3 credits

This course will examine Islamic art and architecture through religious, historical, political, and cultural practices from the seventh century to the present. Combining a thematic approach (such as kingship, gift exchange, identity, etc.) with the more traditional chronological and geographical approaches, this course will trace the visual and material culture of Islam and its global influence

Prerequisites: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 and any 3000-level AH or HU course or its transferred equivalent, or faculty permission.

AH/HU 4728 African American Art
3 credits

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the visual art of African Americans from the Colonial period to the present. The course examines a variety of visual media from painting, sculpture, and photography to popular culture objects and mass media images. In addition, students critically examine the ways in which the constructed meanings of "blackness" intersect with representational practices of gender, sexuality, and class, as well as the training and education of artists, public and private patronage, and the history of arts criticism and art history. Class sessions include both lectures and discussions.

Prerequisites: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 and any 3000-level AH or HU course or its transferred equivalent, or faculty permission.

AH/HS 4729 Art and Globalization in the Atlantic World
3 credits

This course examines the impact and effects of globalization on the visual culture of the Atlantic world (defined by Europe, Africa, and the Americas) from the period of the Columbian encounter to the contemporary moment. Students examine the circulation and exchange of goods, ideas, knowledge, culture, and peoples across the Atlantic world through an investigation of visual representations, performance, and collecting practices. The course narrative is guided by thematic issues of gender, race, the politics of display, and national and cultural identities, tracing the movement of visual cultures across the Atlantic through individual case studies. This course fulfills a Histories, Places and Philosophies requirement for Humanities and Sciences.

Prerequisites: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently), a 3000-level AH or HS course, or faculty permission

HU 4511 History of Jazz
3 credits

Duke Ellington once said, “the pull of jazz music in American culture is so strong that no one can resist it.” Jazz is truly an American treasure that has influenced other cultures around the globe. Yet most Americans know very little about its history. This class explores jazz from its roots to its most current forms. Hear the music, study its contributions, and explore the cultural patterns and trends that surround its development. Class sessions are a mix of lecture and discussion, with some demonstrations of performance styles. 

Prerequisites: Any 3000-level AH or HU course or its transferred equivalent, or faculty permission.

HU 3627 Queer Media
3 credits

This course uses standards for information and media literacy (from the Association of College and Research Libraries and others) to explore issues related to queer identities, representations, methodologies, theoretical applications, and interpretations. Using the framework of literacy as a benchmark, students learn how to read "for and from the queer" in a variety of media.

Prerequisites: Any 3000-level AH or HU course or its transferred equivalent, or faculty permission.

HU 4630 Race and Ethnicity in the United States: A History
3 credits

Race and ethnicity have played significant, complicated, and more often than not misunderstood roles in the United States’ history. This course surveys the ways race and ethnicity have been constructed and understood by Americans from the colonial era to the present, focusing on the ways that class, gender, culture, and politics, as well as biology, have defined race and the way race and ethnicity have supported ideologies that have been used to both empower and subordinate the peoples of the United States. 

Prerequisites: Any 3000-level AH or HU course or its transferred equivalent, or faculty permission.

HS 4916 Literature of the Americas
3 credits

This course offers students a hemispheric perspective on the study of literature, focusing on a range of works from underrepresented, marginalized, and outsider authors in the Americas from the nineteenth century to the present. Students have an opportunity to challenge conventional categorizations of writers from across the Americas—not just in the United States—by fostering transnational and transhistorical perspectives while considering concepts including identity, race, citizenship, hybridity, and nationhood.

Prerequisites: Any 3000-level AH or HU course or its transferred equivalent, or faculty permission.

HS 5010 Liberal Arts Advanced Seminar
3 credits

The Liberal Arts Advanced Seminar enables students to pursue their own research and writing goals within a seminar setting. Projects are student-originated and consist of both a written piece and a public presentation. Class sessions are discussion-based and interactive. Group learning is emphasized

Prerequisites: Completion of Cultural Awareness Requirement (4000-level course), Junior standing

Art Historical Contexts Courses (select one)

AH 2101 Interrogating Post Modernity: The Fine Arts Since 1945
3 credits

This course introduces students to global fine arts production (drawing, painting, sculpture, artists’ books, performance, public, and socially engaged) since 1945. Using a series of case studies this class examines the historical, theoretical, and aesthetic developments in and relationships between fine arts media. Students engage with a combination of primary and secondary texts, apply visual analysis skills, contextualize artworks, and investigate various political and aesthetic points of view. 

Prerequisites: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or faculty permission

AH 2103 Applied Arts and Designed Objects
3 credits

This course traces the history of applied arts and designed objects through furniture, products, packaging, and multidimensional forms of graphic design. Students examine applied arts and designed objects as part of an evolving human culture of habit, convenience, and status. Various movements and styles within the histories of design genres, as well as the processes and manufacturing of consumer objects are considered.

Prerequisites: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or faculty permission

AH 2105 Print Culture, Art, and Communication in the Age of Mass Reproduction
3 credits

Since the advent of print and the printing press, text, image, graphic design, comics, and advertising have played significant roles in cultural formation. This course examines the history of mass reproduction of printed matter from the advent of modernity, including books and periodical designs, to the present. 

Prerequisites: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or faculty permission

AH 2107 Photography, the Moving Image, and Digital Culture
3 credits

The production and reproduction of static, moving, and digital images have grown from work produced by an exotic technology used only by specialists to a socially ubiquitous representational form that generates millions of images, clips, cartoons, gifs, shorts, and films daily. This course surveys the development of (re)produced and moving images from their commercial applications, entertainments, and art to the all-pervasive media in which our popular cultures and artistic cultures exist. Individual artists and makers, as well as their works and contextualized movements within changing technological, economic, and institutional frameworks, are considered. 

Prerequisites: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or faculty permission
Total Credit Hours
120