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Masters or Post Grad Diploma in the field of Interactive Media

The Interactive Digital Media program focuses on interactive digital media and creative practice. The program is designed for students from an arts and design background who wish to engage with the creative possibilities of interactive digital media technologies; AND for students from engineering, science and technology backgrounds who wish to develop their creativity in these areas.The aim of the Masters Program is to bring together passionate individuals from diverse creative and technology/science backgrounds to creatively explore and develop new and exciting interactive media.

Graduates from the program find employment in the fields of interactive and online media – ranging from advertising, the technology industry to education. Many students have gone on to be practicing fine artists and interactive media developers.

The Interactive Digital Media program focuses on two main areas in interactive media and creative practice:

  1. Interactive media for installation and interactive video and sound.
  2. Screen-based media and networked interactivity.

First Semester Overview

Applied Concepts in Interactive Digital Media 
We begin the program learning coding for interactive graphical interfaces withProcessing and Max/MSP and Jitter. Through this we explore the development of interactive tools and computer vision. Here we look at video and sound as both a sensing tool and creative output mechanism. With this knowledge we then work closely with guest lecturers from the Electrical Engineering Dept at Wits. The engineers teach workshops on Arduino, basic electronics and sensing technologies; to develop integrated interactive environments. The course ends with the opportunity for students to make an open to the public interactive installationas an exam piece. Here students use skills learnt in the program and integrate lighting, sound and installation design practice to make unique interactive artworks and applications. (Course Outline)

Critical Debates in Digital Media 
During the first semester students take a course in digital art and media theory. This is a theoretical course in which students explore critical texts in the field of digital art, culture and media studies. In this unique seminar course, students engage with the challenging theoretical work developed around key issues in digital culture. From subjectivity in digital culture to creative commons licenses. This course will prepare practitioners and scholars to deal with the political and social issues which have been generated by this new medium. In course, students also hone their research and critical writing skills together with their presentation skill. (Course Outline)

Second Semester Overview

Professional Practice in Interactive Digital Media 
Lab work in the second semester focuses on working with a number of professionals. In the June/July break students are placed in internships that best suit their particular interests. These range from art galleries to production and advertising companies.
During the term we workshop with practicing artists, strategists and developers. Every year the line up changes depending on current trends and new developments. In 2009 student?s worked with practicing interactive artist from New York, Laura Nova; Belinda Lewis from the mobile media company Praekelt Consulting; and a local web media developer Wouter Schreuders.
The course work also includes modules in which we learn techniques for and develop modile and wireless media for creative and interactive media practice.
At the end of this course students will have the opportunity to put their year s learning into practice with a collaborative project as the exam piece. Here students may collaborate with professionals, commercial enterprises, artists and experts from outside of the University on a project of their choice. (Course Outline)

MA Research Thesis 
Students who have chosen to study the MA rather than the Post-Graduate Diploma, will be expected to propose and being writing their research thesis in the beginning of the second semester. Topics are decided with a personal supervisor who will advise and assist with the development and submission of the proposal and final research paper.

Program Requirements:

In order to apply for the Masters in Digital Arts Degree or the Post Graduate Diploma you must have an Honours Degree or an equivalent 4-year undergraduate degree. The Interactive Digital Media program can be completed part-time in two years or full time in one year.To qualify for the Masters in Digital Arts you are required to pass the courses listed below, in addition you are required to complete a research project/report.

- WSOA7030 Applied Concepts in Interactive Digital Media
AND
- WSOA7026 Professional Practice in Digital Arts: Interactive Media
PLUS
- WSOA7007 Critical Debates in Digital Arts
PLUS
- WSOA Research Report of between 15 000 & 20 000 words (NB. Part of this research project can made up of original creative work.)To qualify for the Post Graduate Diploma you are required to complete all the above courses excluding the Research Report.

Students from all fields are accepted into this program and are encouraged to hone their particular skills and interests with regard to interactive digital media. When you apply you are required (in addition to the Wits application form) to submit a motivational letter with your application; outlining your particular interests in digital interactive media as well indicating your particular research interest. You may also be required to come in for an interview.

For more information about the Interactive Digital Media program, contact the course coordinator Tegan Bristow:

Tegan.Bristow@wits.ac.za, tel: 27 (11) 717 4604.

Some Guest Lecturers in Interactive Digital Media Program

Belinda Lewis ? is head strategist at Praekelt Consulting and teaches a module in the Professional Practice course on networked and mobile media.

Daniel Hirschman - is an interactive digital media design practitioner who studied on the ITP program at New York University and is now following a career in London. Hirschmann has taught the module on physical computing in the Applied Concepts course. Please see here for more on Hirschman s work. -www.plankman.com

James Webb - is a well known South Africa artist who works predominantly with sound in installation. Webb teaches part of the sound design module of the Applied Concepts course. Apart from sharing his experience as an artist who exhibits internationally he teaches theory on the use and understanding of sound in art and installation design, as well as the practice of listening and sound recording techniques.

Paco Mendes - is a MA student with the Department of Electrical Engineering at Wits University he is based in the EE Convergence Lab. He teaches basic electronics and sensing in the Applied Concepts Course.

Richard Rumney - is a well know and popular South African (dance) DJ and was previously staff member in the division. Rumney teaches the second part of the sound design module in the Applied Concepts course, namely on the use of sound editing software and associated sound design techniques.

Wouter Schreuders - is a Johannesburg based designer. He teaches as a guest lecturer on the Professional Practice course in which he teaches a module on flash and web development.