New Media Studies at Alma is organized into three areas. They overlap, crossover, and entangle each other constantly. In fact, this would probably be a better representation of them:
All students work across the three areas and develop foundational skills in them. At the same time, our students are encouraged to follow what they love and dig deeper into one or more areas with their advanced work. The expertise they develop stretches into areas like:
Working closely with an NMS faculty advisor, majors create individualized learning paths with the common goal of building flexibility, innovative approaches, and expertise. Access to cutting-edge resources and applied learning experiences help students align their coursework with their career goals.
Requirements for Major
Thirty-six credits in NMS, which must include:
- Core: NMS-101 and an additional 8 credits from NMS 118, 120, 130, 140, and 160.
- Context: At least 8 credits of any 200-level NMS courses and at least 12 credits of 300-level NMS courses.
- Capstone: An internship 385, taken for the student’s choice of 0-4 credits and the senior studio, NMS 450.
Completion of all NMS major requirements, 3.5 GPA in the major, and completion of a senior thesis project of honors caliber (NMS 500).
Requirements for Minor
Twenty-four credits must include:
- Core: NMS-101 and an additional 8 credits from NMS 118, 120, 130, 140, 160.
- Context: At least 4 credits of any 200-level NMS courses and at least 4 credits of 300-level NMS courses.
- Capstone: The senior studio, NMS 450.
- NMS101.Introduction to Digital Media4Introduction to technical, social, and cultural aspects of new media. Topics include media convergence, interactivity, social networking, and participatory culture. Includes lab work exploring basic principles of effective communication employing a variety of digital media for designing and delivering graphics, audio and video.
- NMS118.Intro Media Programming and Computation4Write programs to manipulate images, sounds and movies, developing knowledge and skills in problem solving, data representation, data manipulation, and programming principles including recursion and object-oriented design. Introduction to basic ideas in hardware, software and computing.
- NMS120.Principles of Visual Design4Investigation of foundational elements and principles of visual design, as components of visual communication. Two dimensional design and time-based media will be explored traditionally and digitally, using programs such as Illustrator, Photoshop Lightroom, iMovie, and others. Topics include color theory, composition, narrative and non-narrative storytelling, among others. Course fee.
- NMS125.Introduction to Film Theory4In this course, we will study a wide variety of films; we will also study characteristics of the film/video medium and see how they are illustrated by the films studied in the course. Emphasis will be on the expressiveness of film techniques, fictional films, alternatives to the live-action fictional film, and how viewers understand films.
- NMS180.Topics in New Media Studies1-44 credits in NMS or PermissionSelected topics in new media innovations, issues and effects. May be taken more than once for credit.
- NMS201.Media Systems & Influence4Introductory study of the major media industries and effects. Emphasis on analyzing the way media technologies affect information flow and social networks and the influence of media on human perception, behavior and identity.
- NMS203.Camera Media4This course seeks a fluency in the camera as an instrument for communication, industry, and inquiry in the twenty-first century. Students acquire skills in the critique and authorship of camera media through perspectives from the arts, humanities, and sciences. Theories are wed to hands-on practices with photography, time-based narratives, virtual environments, video chat, citizen journalism, microscopy, telescopy, and wearable media. Course fee.
- NMS204.Sound Design4This course presents an overview of digital audio and video applications and the workflows designed to produce and manipulate digital sound and moving images. This includes music and sound for video, animation, and using audio and video on the Web. Additional topics will include the basics of sound design, syncing of audio and motion video and the rudiments of audio and video production systems. Students will also be introduced to important media standards such as NTSC, HDV, MIDI, QuickTime, MPEG and various SD and HD formats. (Formerly MUS 201)
- NMS210.Motion Graphics & Animation4Introduction to 2D and 3D visual effects, animation and compositing. Critical study and theory of motion and animation principles; concepts of key framing, applying behaviors, tweening animations, symbols, generators and particle emission, chroma keying and rotoscoping.
- NMS*215.Audio Recording Studio2Overview of the impact of computers and technology in the music professions. Topics include design of recording studio and lab environments, MIDI technology, fundamentals of audio technology, multimedia applications and using sound/music on the Web. Cross-listed with MUS-215. (Offered every year)
- NMS*220.Intro to Media Programming & Computation4Write programs to manipulate images, sounds and movies, developing knowledge and skills in problem solving, data representation, data manipulation, and programming principles including recursion and object-oriented design. Introduction to basic ideas in hardware, software and computing.
- NMS*225.Applied Film Theory4NMS-125 or PermissionApplied Film Theory will offer students a study in the theory of film and applied filmmaking. Course topics will include the inspirations, source materials, historical context, production process, and existing critical analyses of important films from the last century. This course combines analysis of film with hands-on digital media projects and is designed to complement other courses in the New Media Studies major.
- NMS*232.Digital Imaging4Exploration of aesthetic and technical relationships between still images, multiple prints and montage as they are presented in the form of the digital straight print, narratives, and/or series. Course fee.
- NMS*235M.Computer Game Design4CSC-220 or PermissionExplores the process by which computer games go from conception through formal design to implementation and testing. Uses coursework and team projects to cover aspects of the design process including brainstorming and narrative development, game programming, art and sound design, and marketing. Spring Term only.
- NMS*240.Digital Film Production4NMS Major or PermissionStudents are introduced to fundamentals of filmmaking and produce their own films. Elements covered include pre-production (financing, screenwriting and scheduling); production (cinematography, sound recording and directing); and post-production (editing, basic effects, marketing and distribution). Must be an NMS major or receive instructor permission to register for this course. Course fee.
- NMS*240M.Digital Film Production4Students are introduced to fundamentals of filmmaking and produce their own films. Elements covered include pre-production (financing, screenwriting and scheduling); production (cinematography, sound recording and directing); and post-production (editing, basic effects, marketing and distribution). Must be an NMS major or receive instructor permission to register for this course. Spring Term only. Course fee.
- NMS*250.Media, Power and Ownership4Introduction to the business practices and regulations that shape the American media industry. Emphasis is placed on the roles of audience characteristics and media technology in shaping the content of media, and the role of the First Amendment as the basis for media regulation.
- NMS*260.Visual Communication4Focus on understanding images in culture from a psychological, photojournalistic and communication perspective. Work from a range of disciplines, including anthropology, communication, media and cultural studies, sociology, psychology and design.
- NMS*280.Topics in New Media Studies2-4Selected topics in new media innovations, issues and effects. May be taken more than once for credit. Students may need to buy materials for their projects at a cost up to $100.
- NMS*282.Network Analysis4Examination of tools and techniques used in analyzing social relations, focusing on substantive and theoretical origins and applications of these techniques. Emphasizes basic network concepts and common approaches to network analysis. Introduces advanced methodologies for analyzing social networks.
- NMS*299.NMS Independent Study1-4Requires instructor permission.
- NMS*300.Media Theory and Culture4Survey key benchmarks and texts in the history of media and new media technologies, while also introducing critical readings of 20th and 21st century media culture, both from the theoretical field of media studies and the creative works of artists, filmmakers and writers.
- NMS*380.Topics in New Media Studies2-4NMS-101 or PermissionSelected topics in new media innovations, issues, and and effects.
- NMS*381.Advanced Documentary2Combines theory, history and practice, exploring documentary video production through an overview of the history and major styles, field exercises, screening, discussion and critique. Participating in collaborative work with classmates, students are exposed to a range of storytelling, production, aesthetic, and artistic issues. Hands-on demonstrations, field exercises, screenings, readings, lectures and discussion prepare students to produce short documentary videos.
- NMS*382.Advanced Mixing and Mastering2NMS-204In-depth, project-oriented class that explores the creative and technical issues involved in multitrack sound editing, mixing and mastering. Topics include mono, stereo and multichannel audio formats, understanding mixing consoles, signal flow and busses, sound analysis and metering plug-ins, controlling levels and gain, advanced EQ, compression and “brick wall” limiting, automation and time-based effects. Tools include popular DAW applications Logic Pro, Pro Tools and Reason.
- NMS*385.New Media Studies Internship1-8
- NMS*399.NMS Independent Study1-4Requires instructor permission.
- NMS*450.Seminar in Media Application4Senior StandingCapstone studie serves as a bridge between past work at Alma and a professional post-graduate career. During the term, students independently plan and execute a capstone project that applies thei specialized skills in new media to a challenging problem. The goal is to develop projects with lasting impacts while deepening the students’ own methods of design. The course also addresses how these skills might fit into post-graduate life through resume and portfolio workshops, as well as seminar discussions about new media’s place in the world. At the end of the term, capstones are assessed by a panel of faculty and industry judges at a public exhibition, which the class organizes and hosts.
- NMS*499.NMS Independent Study1-4Requires instructor permission.
- NMS*500.Studies Senior Thesis2-4Senior Standing and PermissionDevelopment and completion of original scholarly/creative work. May be applied, interpretive, critical, empirical or theoretical. Required for departmental honors. Requires senior standing and permission.