A216 Main Menu

General Course Information.


General Course Goals.

I hope to accomplish several things in this course. While we have been doing this course for several years, and I have a pretty good idea of what needs to be covered and how, things can change as we progress.

In general, there are two areas I want cover: the conceptual/technical and the practical. In many cases, these are related, but not always. The conceptual amounts to the "why" and the technical amounts to the "how" aspect of any class. We want to learn why things work and how to use them.

The practical is the "hands on" component. This is what you will do primarily in the labs, where we will show you how to do use the various software tools to accomplish a variety of tasks.


"Technical" Course Goals.

The conceptual/technical goal of this course is still very practical in nature. We want you to learn about multimedia. This includes hardware, software, operating Systems, and standards, as well as more general issues that may not be obvious at first, like mathematics, biology, human physiology, television and film technologies, etc.

When you complete this course, you will have learned about or worked to some degree with: analog and digital display technologies, image types and image capture, digital and analog audio, audio capture and editing, digital and analog video, video capture and editing, audio and video codecs, streaming audio and video basics, networking fundamentals related to multimedia on the internet, computer hardware fundamentals, etc.

I will try to make this experience as practical as possible, using what I know about systems currently in place in both business and education, so that when you are done, you can honestly say you have some useful multimedia knowledge and experience.

For your information, here is the official course description:

A216 Digital Multimedia Concepts and Technologies (3.0 cr.) P: A110, A111, or equivalent computing experience. In-depth introduction to the technologies of digital hardware and software relevant to efficient multimedia communication methods. Meetings focus on computational foundations, underlying concepts, and digital methods. Laboratory provides direct experience with concepts presented in meeting, using latest available digital tools to create direct and web-based multimedia content. Meeting and laboratory.

Here is a bit more detailed description the gives some idea of various topics we will cover:

In-depth introduction to the use of mixed-media digital hardware and software tools for effective communication with focus on computational foundations, underlying concepts and technologies, and the notion of "digital convergence." Meeting topics will include: Digital capture techniques and technologies (CCD, CMOS, GIF, JPEG, MP3), fundamentals of compression (lossy/lossless), audio and video codecs and their underlying concepts as well as the import of sensory experience and human physiology to such codecs, simple spatial and temporal algorithms, networking fundamentals as related to streaming digital audio and video, and fundamentals of digital display and digital storage. Laboratory will provide direct experience with meeting topics using the latest available tools to create multimedia for both direct and web-based communications. Strong emphasis on problem solving techniques.



I know this is often the first thing a student wants to understand. Here's what I have in mind at this point.

Attendance:The expectation in this course is 100% attendance. Be sure you understand that any absence, excused or otherwise, could negatively impact your final grade in this course.

Because I post the meeting outlines in advance, attendance is mandatory if you want to pass. If you skip meetings on a regular basis, thinking you can get by on the posted outlines, you will fail. I know, it's happened many times in my other courses where I make similar resources available. Attendance will be taken in every meeting in the form of cards dropped off in class (you provide the cards), CAT exercises, or other "hardcopy" work submitted in class. Attendance will be counted separately from your Participation score, but it is CRUCIAL that you understand if you are not in class, it is impossible for you to participate.

EFFECTIVE FALL 2019:The Health Center will no longer issue "notes" simply indicating you went there, so such notes will no longer be accepted for an "excused" medical absence. Offical medical notices clearly indicating a medical absence was required, signed by a physician, will STILL be accepted to excuse an absence. In light of this new policy, each student will have 2 absences to use during the 16-week (semester long) class period that can be used without explanation or documentation. All other absences will be noted in interpreted as laid out on this page.

Attendance will be worth 5% of your Final Grade. ADDITIONAL NOTE on absences: Please note that, while you can be excused from class with written confirmation due to illness, interviews, or similar major events, that excuse applies only to your attendance. If any work is done and submitted during class (CAT, Quiz, etc.) that is not excused and cannot be made up. Because these exercises are a small part of the grade, and because you should not be absent, they are all considered "you need to be in class to complete them" type exercises. Be sure you are clear about this policy.
Meeting attendance will be part of your final grade and taken in the form of attendance cards, explained on the first day of class. This will represent 5% of the course grade.

Individual Homework: There will be 4-6 homework assignments that will be graded and represent 25% of the course grade. The labs will not be graded, per se, but the 4 assignments will be based on material presented in lab.

Quizzes/CATs/MINIs/JITs:There will also be 6-8 quizzes, 6-8 MINIs, 6-8 JITs and 6-8 CATs (Classroom Assessment Techniques ) given over the course of the term. Quizzes will be given in lab and will not be announced in advance. CATs will be done in the regular meetings and not announced in advance. Neither Quizzes nor CATs can be "made up" under any circumstances, even an excused absence. These are both "current status" exercises and many CATs will be team-based. Either you are present to particpate (and help your teammates), or you are not. MINIs and JITs (Just-In-Time) will go together and you will have 2-4 days to get them submitted. All of these will be used to evaluate how well you are understanding the material in both meeting and lab. The quizzes/CATs/MINIs/JITs will be worth 10% of the course grade.

ACTIVE Course Engagement: This is the one more or less subjective component of the final grade. As such, it will be based upon my observations throughout the duration of the course. Participation doesn't just mean who asks the most questions or makes the most comments, but who is clearly prepared and engaged with the material. One thoughtful question or very salient comment is worth more than hours of "babble." Many of the other course components are specifically designed to aid you in being prepared to participate. This also includes my evaluation of you as an active and reliable teammate throughout the semester. In other words, I will be evaluating your overall engagement in the course, both in and out of the classroom. Missed work, chronic absenteeism, failure to respond to or work with your team, lack of attention in class, tardiness, and any other information available will be used to make this evaluation. The rest is up to you. Because this is such a key part of the course structure, it will represent 10% of your final grade.

Individual Final Project: You will brain storm, propose, storyboard, and develop a project of your own choosing. This project will have multiple components with multiple due dates during the semester. The entire project process will represent 50% of your final grade. [Please be sure you are clear about this.]

Overall Grade: So, your overall grade will be based on the following:

Attendance: 5%

Individual Homework: 25%

Quizzes/CATs/MINIs/JITs: 10%

ACTIVE Course Engagement: 10%

Individual Final Project: 50%

Grading Scale:We will begin with the standard 90-80-70-60 grading scale. +/- grades fall in the upper and lower 2.5% of each range, respectively. This scale could drop by the end of the term, but it will never rise. This mean if you earn a 90.00% average, you are guaranteed an A-.


Important Course Policies.

Be absolutely sure you understand the following course policies, as well as those out-lined on the "Important Course Guidelines" page. It will be assumed that you have read and accept these policies before the end of the first week of class.

If you have never been in a CS course before, these policies may seem inflexible. However, they are similar to those for other courses in the School of Informatics and they are not unlike the sort of guidelines or contract stipulations you would find associated with a job in the "real world." Consult the Important Course Guidelines for a more complete list.

  1. You are solely responsible for your performance in this course. We are here to help you whenever possible, but all of your choices have logical consequences. Make sure you take interest in your scores and Final Grade before you earn them.
  2. No work will be accepted late, period. If I do not have a homework assignment in my possession before I leave the meeting hall the day it is due, it will be scored a 0 (zero). Similarly, if you miss the deadline on any material submitted electronically, even by .01 second, you should expect a score of 0 (zero) there as well. Should this occur with something like one of the Projects, the result would be at least a full letter grade on your Final Grade.
  3. I do not accept work electronically, UNLESS specifically requested. While there some things, like quizzes and homework assignments, MUST be submitted electronically, no other work will be accepted eletronically. If it is due on a certain day/date, I expect it in legible hard-copy form before the end of the meeting period at that time. Anything else will probably result in a score of 0. [See #2 above]. The same is true for anything submitted on CD.
  4. This is an Information Technology course, and we expect you to use the technology. What this means, specifically, is we expect you to have an IU Email account and we expect you to use it. We expect you to check email at least twice daily, under normal circumstances. IU policy already requires that all faculty, staff and students check email once daily. We are merely extending that policy to be "twice daily." If an announcement is made in class regarding a schedule change, etc., we would expect you to check email at every opportunity. Additionally, we expect you to monitor the A216 Meeting OnCourse site relevant to this course. This is an important resource and you should learn how to use it if you don't already know how. Just be sure you understand that "I didn't check email" or "I didn't read OnCourse or check the Course website" will not be acceptable reasons for not getting work done on time or failing to meet other course requirments.
  5. Any requests for an alternative exam time must include documentation supporting the need for an alternative and be submitted at least one week in advance. There are certainly legitimate reasons to request an alternative, such as job interviews, conferences, etc. However, these are also events you know about well in advance. Any such request must be made directly to me, at least a week in advance of the exam, preferably two weeks.
  6. Emergencies: I realize emergencies will arise, but it is still your responsbility to notify me as quickly as possible should such an emergency occur. NOTE: I consider an emergency to be something like a death in the immediate family in the last 24 hours or severe personal injury requiring hospitalization. In all other circumstances, I think you should be able to contact me before an exam or other major course event. My email and voicemail numbers are clearly indicated on the course HomePage and I am in my office by 7:30am on meeting days. I try not to be totally unreasonable in this regard, but if you come to me a week after missing an exam and claim you missed the exam because of car trouble, I will not be very sympathetic. Again, this is a policy consistent with other courses in the School of Informatics. [Also consider, if you missed a project deadline at work and didn't contact your Supervisor for week, would you expect her/him to be very sympathetic? If you had a major presentation to a client and failed to notify your Manager in advance that you could not attend, what would you expect the consequences to be?] Again, I am in my office on class days by 7:30am and can be reached via email and my voicemail, both of which are posted on the HomePage.

Finally ...

Don't let any of the above scare you away. I just wanted to be sure anyone enrolled in the course this semester or interested in this course in the future has a decent amount of information to make an informed decision.