Computer Science for Creative Media Industries
The Applied Computer Sciences program is a hybrid design/technology degree that prepares students for technical careers in the creative industries. With a strong foundation in computer science, experience design, media production and project management, our students pursue creative projects using cutting edge technologies.Apply Request Information Take a Tour
The Bachelor of Science in Applied Computer Sciences is an applied computer science degree, blending cutting-edge, hands-on technology experience with practical and focused courses that put our graduates in the best possible position to pursue the career of their choice in the tech industry. Open to any student with a passion for technology, Applied Computer Sciences represents a new and inclusive approach to computer science, emphasizing real-world applications and skills that make our graduates stand out. The Applied Computer Sciences curriculum transforms students from passive end-users to active agents of technological change. Our Virtual Reality lab gives students the chance to have hands-on experience with the latest technologies (HTC Vive, Microsoft Hololens). We are committed to providing access to new technologies, and to bringing professionals from across the technology industry to campus as lecturers and mentors. The Applied Computer Sciences department’s core areas of focus are:
Code – focused computer science skills Culture – the context and social trends impacting computing
Creativity – the application of technologies towards a creative goal
Collaboration – team-building and cross-disciplinary inquiry
Research – informed project prototyping driven by user-focused inquiry
Project Management – taking project concepts to completion with accountability
Professionalism – building on industry practices and standards
Entrepreneurship – honing communication skills and making a business case
Unique to Applied Computer Sciences is the Media/Design Concentration, a sequence of five elective studio courses chosen from Woodbury’s award-winning design departments (Filmmaking, Animation, Game Art & Design, Fashion Design, or Graphic Design). Working with their mentor, students design a customized concentration that reflects their interests and career aspirations, providing a competitive advantage when compared to more traditional computer science departments.
Internships are a required component of the BS degree in Media Technology.
Andranik Aslanyan is the founder and CEO of Code Headquarters LLC in North Hollywood, specializing in the production and development of video games for the console market. Andranik is also a Senior Consultant at the Animation Lab in Nickelodeon’s Animation Studios, exploring alternative animation pipelines and digital platforms of the future such as Virtual Reality. His work has been presented in sessions at GDC, SIGGRAPH, E3 and PAX.
The Applied Computer Sciences department has extensive technical facilities at its disposal, centered around a 20-seat dual-platform teaching and production lab with state of the art Mac/Windows workstations, a dedicated electronics teaching and production facility, a Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality lab. Equipment available includes: SDI switching and confidence monitoring, DJI Inspire One drone, Microsoft Kinect camera kits for 3D sensing, HTC Vive VR system, Microsoft Hololens, digital still and video cameras, portable Mac Pro workstation for video production, extensive projection hardware for media installation, and more.
Our mission is to provide students with the technical and creative knowledge to meet the challenges of rapidly changing industries, while also preparing them to be professional and exceptional collaborators in the field of media technology.
TECH 101 Technology Culture I
This is a foundation course composed of introductory modules focused on the history and development of technology. Technology is a pervasive presence in our lives, impacting the way we work, create, interact, and share ideas. We utilize technologies every day from across a variety of time periods, yet contemporary views of technology are largely ahistorical. This course asks students to look more critically at technology, examining key elements of technological development across various historical eras. Why do certain technologies take hold, while others fail? What historical, market, and cultural forces contribute to these outcomes? How do technologies catalyze cultural transformation, and what are the potential consequences of such change? How has the rise of computing impacted the world, and how does this era differ from previous technological developments? Students will complete regular writing assignments, culminating in a semester research paper. Part one of a two-semester sequence. Lecture. 2 units.
TECH 102 Technology & Culture II
This is a foundation course composed of introductory modules focused on systems thinking as a way to further understand technology’s role in cultural formation. Building on the previous semester’s exploration, this course introduces systems thinking as a powerful analytical tool in understanding technology. Systems thinking forces us to acknowledge the ethical, operational, and structural implications of our technological choices, and provides a window into the potential for purpose-driven technological innovation. The course provides a rigorous introduction to the systems lens and asks students to apply such thinking to their own uses of technology. Students will complete regular writing assignments, culminating in a semester research paper. Part two of a two-semester sequence. Lecture. 2 units. Prerequisite: TECH101, Technology and Culture I.
TECH 121 Media Technology Lecture Series
Visiting lecturers drawn from the intersection of art, science & technology. A weekly lecture series addressing current issues in the development of technology and its impact on culture, scientific inquiry, and artistic practice. Students will write weekly reaction papers. May be repeated for credit. Lecture. 1 unit.
TECH 201 Human Computer Interaction
This course offers a broad overview of Human Computer Interaction (HCI). After being introduced to tools and techniques, students will explore the design process incorporating user research and observation. Attention will be paid to the emerging field of Natural Interaction and the insights of gesture within performance systems. Students will complete final projects synthesizing theoretical constructs with their own unique approach to the interface. Lecture. 3 units. Prerequisite: TECH 1xx, Introduction to Programming II.
TECH 111 Introduction to Programming I
This course provides an introduction to foundation principles of computer science for students with no prior background in computing. Topics include the history of computers, writing algorithms and using programming constructs, data organization and computer applications, introductory concepts in digital electronics and computer architecture, computer languages, and the impact that computers have had on society and are likely to have in the future. Students will complete weekly programming assignments, culminating in an original semester project that elaborates on the concepts and techniques covered in the course. Part one of a two-semester sequence. 3 units.
TECH 112 Introduction to Programming II
This course explores an elaboration of foundation principles of computer science for students with no prior background in computing Topics include the history of computers, writing algorithms and using programming constructs, data organization and computer applications, introductory concepts in digital electronics and computer architecture, computer languages, and the impact that computers have had on society and are likely to have in the future. Students will complete weekly programming assignments, culminating in an original semester project that elaborates on the concepts and techniques covered in the course focusing on user interface and user experience design. Part two of a two-semester sequence. Prerequisite: TECH 111, Introduction to Programming I. 3 units.
TECH 211 Scripting with Python
This is an introductory course in Python. Python is an interpreted, interactive, object-oriented, extensible programming language that has become a standard across the creative media industry. Class will focus on fundamentals of language syntax, data structures, functions and re-usable classes, and will highlight core strategies for scripting in the context of creating digital media. Students will complete regular programming exercises, culminating in a semester project that demonstrates mastery of the Python language as applied in digital media workflows. Prerequisite: TECH 1xx, Introduction to Programming II. 3 units.
GAME 114 Introduction to Game Engines
Commercial software systems that aid in computer game development
This will be an exploration and analysis of visual development tools and reusable software components for game asset creation and management giving attention to two-dimensional and three-dimensional rendering performance, collision detection, simple scripting, animation, play mechanics, sound and music. Students will design and implement simple game concepts and test for playability and design integrity. Studio. 3 units. Prerequisites: GAME 102, TECH 102.
TECH 214 Game Development
This course provides an exploration of game engine programming with an emphasis on the development of custom code for visual effects and advanced interaction. Game engines are highly extensible platforms that incorporate sophisticated API’s for customizing gameplay including, but not limited to; artificial intelligence, sound and visual effects, and gestural control. Students will be introduced to scripting API’s and will work in teams to design and implement a personal game as a semester project. Prerequisites: GAME 2xx, Intro to Game Engines, TECH 1xx Intro to Programming II. 3 units.
TECH 301 Programming for Visual Media
Twenty-first century visual media are inextricably bound to the computer era. This has led to a proliferation of tools that are increasingly programmable, creating new opportunities for developers. This course will explore both technical and cultural implications of the digital image making, emphasizing image-processing techniques within real-time systems. Students will be required to create a custom software project. Prerequisite: TECH 2xx Human Computer Interaction. 3 units.
TECH 311 Intermediate Python
This is an intermediate course in programming with Python building on skills learned in TECH 211. Emphasis will be placed on developing skills relevant to digital media workflows and system administration. Students will design and implement digital workflow systems that will be used in production by the various programs in the School of Media, Culture and Design. Prerequisite: TECH 2xx, Scripting with Python. 3 units.
TECH 321 Programming for Mobile I
Fueled by the explosion of Apple’s iOS and Google Android platform, the increasing ubiquity of mobile devices has reshaped the technology landscape. The course will provide a solid grounding in the development, testing and deployment of software across a variety of mobile hardware platforms and API’s. Students will complete regular programming assignments, culminating in a semester project that consists of deployment-ready code and clear technical documentation. Part one of a two-semester sequence. Prerquisite: TECH 2xx Human Computer Interaction. 3 units.
TECH 322 Programming for Mobile II
This course provides a further exploration of the reshaped technology landscape. The course will also provide a further grounding in the development, testing and deployment of software across a variety of mobile hardware platforms and API’s. Students will complete regular programming assignments, culminating in a semester project that consists of deployment-ready code and clear technical documentation. Part two of a two-semester sequence. Prerequisite: TECH 3xx, Programming for Mobile I. 3 units.
TECH 342 Network Programming and Management
This is an introductory course to network principles and current network technology. The course focus is on cross-platform network design and administration using hardware and software tools and techniques. The course will also emphasize hands-on learning through a practical laboratory experience. Students will complete a collaborative programming project based on key network principles introduced in the course. Prerequisite: TECH 2xx, Digital Media Infrastructure. 3 units.
TECH 212 Digital Media Infrastructure
This is a hands-on course introducing core concepts and practices of digital media workflow creation and maintenance. Creative industries have shifted en-masse to digital workflows for all stages of production. Course will provide students with hands-on training in the design, implementation, and maintenance of digital media workflows that can be applied across a number of industries. Topics may include: networks, capture and editing paradigms, compression and codecs, storage topologies, resource planning, automation via scripting, environmental monitoring and notification, and network render queues. Students will work in teams to design and implement test systems throughout the semester. Demand for skilled technicians with this expertise is industry-wide. Prerequisite: TECH 2xx, Scripting with Python. 3 units.
TECH 312 Technical Direction for Animation
This courses examines advanced computer animation techniques. The course will explore key framing, procedural methods, motion capture, and simulation. Also included will be a brief overview of storyboarding, scene composition, lighting and sound track generation. The second half of the course will explore current research topics in computer animation such as dynamic simulation of flexible and rigid objects, automated control systems, and evolution of behaviors. Students will complete regular research and writing assignments, leading to an inter-disciplinary final project collaborating with students in the Animation program that demonstrates mastery of key technical concepts covered in the course. Prerequisite: TECH 3xx, Intermediate Python and ANIM 262, Introduction to 3D Computer Animation. 3 units.
TECH 331 Introduction to Computer Music
Digital technologies have profoundly impacted the ways that sound is created, recorded, processed, and distributed. Personal computers have replaced studios full of sound recording and processing equipment, completing a revolution that began with recording and electronics. Students will learn the fundamentals of digital audio, basic sound synthesis algorithms, and techniques for digital audio effects and processing. Students will apply knowledge to programming assignments using a visual programming environment for sound synthesis and composition. Students will complete a semester project that reflecting a personal approach to sound and interaction, demonstrating mastery of tools and techniques. Prerequisite: TECH 2xx Human Computer Interaction. 3 units.
TECH 332 Media Environments
Media has overflowed the boundaries of traditional delivery paradigms and has become ubiquitous in our environments. This course will frame the rapid diversification of digital distribution and display technologies in its historical context, highlighting recent developments across the media industry. Students will be introduced to a variety of tools that allow programmers to engage media display surfaces, and will create an original installation that articulates a personal approach within the field. TECH 2xx: Human Computer Interaction. 3 units.
TECH 341 Database & Asset Management
This course explores the management of large bodies of data or information. 3 units. Prerequisite: TECH 212.
Students will be immersed in a project studying:
• fundamentals of database systems;
• distributed database architectures shared by several computers;
• local and global transaction processing;
• privacy and security;
• object-oriented schemes for multimedia data;
• metadata and data mining;
• data warehousing;
• mobile databases and storage file structures.
TECH 421 Future of Digital Media
This course offers a speculation on the future of digital media through examination of the past and present. From traditional television to the web, games, movies, mobile devices, and advanced interactive systems, digital media surrounds us. Students will explore the new digital landscape, how it came about, where it is going and how it can be leveraged for creativity and commerce. Students will complete regular writing assignments, culminating in a semester research paper. Prerequisite: TECH 3xx, Media Technology Research Seminar. 3 units.
TECH 302 Media Technology Research Seminar
The capstone research semester provides students with the opportunity to explore possible capstone projects. Students will research and gather support materials; identify a faculty review committee; and gather a project team. At the end of the research semester, students will submit a Media Technology Capstone Project Proposal signed by three members of the faculty from the disciplines represented in the student’s proposal. Prerequisite: TECH 3xx, Programming for Visual Media. 3 units.
TECH 411 Media Technology Capstone I
This course integrates the interdisciplinary elements of curricula. Students will work with their faculty review committee and the course facilitator to begin their capstone project based on the Media Technology Capstone Project Proposal submitted in TECH 302. Part one of a two-semester sequence. Prerequisite: TECH 3xx, Media Technology Research Seminar. 3 units.
TECH 412 Media Technology Capstone II
Students will continue to work with their faculty review committee and the course facilitator to complete their capstone project. Final review will include presentation to the student’s faculty review committee and presentation in the Media Technology Senior Showcase. Continuation of TECH 4xx, Media Technology Capstone Project. Part two of a two-semester sequence. Prerequisite: TECH 4xx, Media Technology Capstone I. 3 units.
TECH 422 Media Technology Professional Practices
This course focuses on developing ethical foundations of good professional practice in the media technology industries. The course will provide a basic survey of ethical theories and discussions of the role of professional organizations in maintaining good practice, including ethical concerns such as data privacy, software and media piracy. Students will complete regular writing assignments, culminating in a semester research paper. Prerequisite: TECH 4xx, Future of Digital Media. 3 units.
120 hours of internship/work experience required to graduate.
A supervised professional experienced third year student in good academic standing must apply for an internship. They will submit a “Media Technology Internship Contract” signed by their faculty advisor, the program chair, and the professional industry supervisor from the place of internship for approval prior to beginning the internship. Grades are pass/fail only and are based on the student’s internship journal and a letter of completion and evaluation from the professional industry supervisor. Course credit for the internship is not necessary to graduate.
Our faculty are accomplished caring academics and professionals dedicated to supporting the success of students throughout their academic journey. They bring their professional expertise to students and work closely with them to teach the skills and theory required to enter professional practice or pursue advanced study. Through this individual attention, we foster close mentoring relationships between faculty and students in a supportive and encouraging environment.
WSCUC: Senior College and University Commission (formerly WASC)