DMST 3900

History of Digital Art

Catalog Description

This course looks at the emergent forms of digital art over the last 80 years with emphasis on the last two decades. We look at, read about, and discuss artworks given labels like: electronic art, new media art, sound art, interactive art, installation art, web art, game art, generative art and more. 4.000 Credit Hours

Return to Top

Course Overview

This will be a collective investigation of the History of Digital Art. Over the ten weeks we will look at the most well known examples of Digital art while also seeking out those not quite so well known. We will work to expand upon a public body of knowledge, turning effort in the class into research for future students and scholars. We will look at 7 themes in digital art structured around the required text.

Return to Top

Course Objectives

By the end of this course you will:

  • Know the general timeline for the development of digital art
  • Have knowledge of the major historical figures in digital art
  • Uncover the connections between different digital artists
  • Consider the ways that the digital arts connect to the other art disciplines
  • Investigate the future of the digital arts

  • Return to Top


  • The required text for this course is Art and Electronic Media by Edward A. Shanken and will be provided for you.
  • Additional readings will be provided in digital formats on this site.
  • You will need at least 8GB of portable storage (flash or thumb drives, ipod, portable hard drive, etc.)
  • you will need an internet connection to complete most of your assignments

  • Return to Top


    This class will combine individual work in the lab with individual and group instruction. Students must come to class prepared to work. Showing up without necessary files or equipment is the same as not attending. Although students may also use their home computers to work on projects, this is not a valid reason to not attend. It will be necessary to work outside of class to complete all projects and assignments. A minimum of eight hours per week of work outside of class is suggested to get an average grade of a C. Computer failure, equipment malfunction, and file corruption are not accepted as excuses for late or unfinished work so BACK UP YOUR WORK. The computer labs are used by many students, so the labs are in high demand. Budget time accordingly as "unavailable computer time" will also not be accepted as an excuse. Participation in all class discussions and critiques as well as constructive use of lab time is considered in the final grade for each project. At any time in the creation process students should be able to produce notes, drawings,charts etc from their sketchbooks, as well as discuss and articulate the nature of their work to their peers as well as to the instructor.

    Attendance is mandatory. Attending class is the responsibility of the student. Lectures and demonstrations may be given or changed without notice and every class will start with professional examples of relevant work so punctuality is essential. An individual who is absent, late or sleeps during class will be responsible for getting the information missed. Students will be allowed two (2) absences without penalty. Any absence in excess of two will result in a 10% grade reduction of the final grade for the course per absence. All absences will be counted. A student who misses 15 minutes or more of a class (late or leave early) is considered absent. A student who sleeps will be considered absent. A student who will acquire absences due to a University sponsored activities must provide necessary documentation from the appropriate office prior to the absence to make any special arrangements for missed work.

    For any absence due to religious beliefs, written notification should be provided in the first two weeks of the quarter; the student is responsible for any missed work. Any special medical or personal problems that occur, where absenteeism will exceed the allowed two, will require verification by a physician or emergency medical association (a letter from Student Affairs merely explains an absence, and will not qualify as an excuse). These situations may require course withdrawal or "Incomplete" status on the final grade. Six absences mandate an automatic grade of "F." Three late arrivals (less than 15 min.) will equal one absence.

    STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES - Any students with disabilities should contact the Disability Services Program to determine whether and to what extent services or accommodations are required for this course. If you think this notice might apply to you, please contact the Department of Disability Services at 303-871-2278 or visit the program’s website at:

    Return to Top


    Grades will consist of the following:

  • Assignments @ 50%
  • Midterm Project @ 20%
  • Final Project @ 20%
  • Participation @ 10%
  • Projects and assignments will be graded on the following basis, listed in order of importance.

  • Development, creativity and originality of concept or problem solution
  • Participation in classroom discussions and critiques in connection with the work
  • Your grade will be calculated according to the following standards:

  • A = Excellent (100-90%)- work pushes far beyond the project stipulations and shows clear evidence of extreme time, dedication, care and thought about the project as evidenced in effective execution of original/thoughtful ideas.
  • B = Good (80-89%)- work exceeds the basic criteria and provides creative solutions to the problems. Student has made the project "theirs" in that they do not need to explain project stipulations before showing the work.
  • C = Average (70-79%)- work fulfills all requirements, does not expand on techniques shown in class.
  • D = Unsatisfactory (60-69%)- work might meet basic criteria but in a careless and/or thoughtless way.
  • F = Failure (0-59%)- the work does not meet the basic criteria.
  • Late projects will be penalized a letter grade for every class period they are late. Turning a project in after the beginning of the critique counts as one class day late.

    Return to Top

    Lab Rules

    It is your responsibility to adhere to all rules regarding the use of the DMS labs and equipment. You will be given a sheet stating all rules. Please see Elizabeth Harris in the DMS office if you need a form to access the DMS lab.

    Return to Top


    Solutions to assignments you submit will be your own work. A student who is discovered to have plagiarized another's work will immediately receive a grade of F for the course, and a recommendation for disciplinary action will be forwarded to the Dean of Students.

    Return to Top


    You will need word processing software and internet connections to complete your work in the class

    Return to Top

    Course Outline

    (The following schedule is open to revision at any point in the quarter.)

    01/03 - Syllabus, introduction to digital art

    01/05 - Survey Discussion part 1

    01/10 - Survey Discussion part 2, Assign MDI

    01/12 - MDI overview

    01/17 - MDI Deep, Assign CFEP

    01/19 - CFEP Overview

    01/24 - CFEP Deep, Assign CE

    01/26 - CE overview

    01/31 - CE Deep, assign midterm

    02/02 - Discussions

    02/07 - Midterm presentations

    02/09 - NSCJ overview

    02/14 - NSCJ Deep, assign BSES

    02/16 - BSES overview

    02/21 - BSES deep, assign SS

    02/23 - SS overview

    02/28 - SS Deep, assign EICC

    03/01 - EICC overview

    03/06 - EICC Deep

    03/08 - Final Presentations

    03/13 - 4-5:50pm Tuesday - Final Presentations

    Return to Top



    - Lecture One