|Objective||Learning to compile, structure and document academic output that exists in another form than (only) the written form.|
The portfolio is meant to give a good insight in, and overview of, the different works that have been created, as part of the Media Technology MSc studies. This includes all the courses (including electives, projects and the graduation research) for which the student has to realize own output (including written output like essays and papers). In order to realize the portfolio, students have to actively document their work during their study. The portfolio contains documentation and representations of the works and creates a context around these works in order to convey clear impressions. It does not contain the actual works themselves.
These documentations and representations should be presented in a form that is consistent across the works. Furthermore, the presentation format should have an identifiable structure. Example structures include, but are not limited to, chronological structure or categorizations of works. Students are asked to develop their own original form and structure. It could have the form of a pdf, website, etc. and include photos, video, sound, etc. Portfolios (also) need to have a digital form that enables offline storage and offline access/presentation.
Consultation and advice regarding the portfolio can be requested from the Media Technology executive board members and within meetings of the Graduation Lab course.
|Objective||See Course Objectives in below Description|
Understanding cognitive processes involves breaking them down into more fundamental computational subparts. In this course we will take an interdisciplinary look at studies investigating the behavior of non-human animals as well as studies from the field of Artificial Intelligence that can teach us about cognition. To what extent can we find parallels for complex human behavior in non-human species? What can we learn about human cognition and behavior from the comparative approach? To what extent can complex human behaviors be operationalized and implemented in AI systems? And how can we use AI applications to study animal behavior? Issues such as the emergence of culture, social imitation, language, art, song, domestication and consciousness will be addressed using data on various species including birds, primates and dolphins.
We will read and discuss literature on animal and computational cognition and gain hands-on practice with the design and presentation of a scientific poster, which will be displayed at a poster festival in the last weeks of the course. We will also discover how animal cognition research is conducted in practice during two class field trips.
This course will give an overview of the comparative approach towards an understanding of human and non-human cognition.
After successful completion of this course, the learner will be able to:
- Explain why the comparative approach is important for learning about human and non-human cognition and evolution
- Recall various methods for studying cognitive skills in non-human animals
- Interpret findings from experiments and field work in animal cognition
- Compare cognitive skills of various different species and in different cognitive domains
- Judge interpretations of animal behavior in the light of the tension between human-centeredness and anthropomorphism
- Recognize and explain how technology and AI can be used in the study of human and non-human cognition
|Objective||See Course Objectives in below Description|
Language is a major characteristic that makes humans unique as a species. How did we get from the chirps, howls and calls of monkeys and apes to the complex and sophisticated signal of human speech? What is the origin of this unique form of communication? This is a question that has fascinated researchers since long ago. Yet, we do not have a clear picture of how language arose and what it is exactly that gives humans the ability to use it. Until relatively recently it was hard to approach questions on language evolution without resorting to speculation because there is not much tangible evidence to be found in this area. Speech is a rapidly fading signal and we do not have recordings of human’s first utterances. Written language is a relatively recent phenomenon, so the history of writing systems will not help us to study the origins of language. Researchers therefore had to come up with creative methods to tackle questions on the origins of language.
In this research seminar we will take an interdisciplinary journey through the field of language evolution and explore the many creative ways evidence can be gathered to study the origins of this unique human trait. We will look at widely varying theories and review methods and results from research in genetics, computer simulations, field work data on emerging sign languages, laboratory experiments and comparisons with other cultural systems like music. Language can be seen as a complex adaptive dynamical system that evolves and constantly adapts to the humans that are learning and using it. What kind of mechanisms support this process of cultural evolution? How can we study it in a quantitative way? How does all this new data fit with original theories on the origins of language?
We will explore current literature and experiment with computational and in-class simulations of language evolution processes. This course will help create an understanding of the breadth of the field of language evolution and the creative and interdisciplinary approach needed to investigate its questions.
After successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Identify and list the many creative ways evidence can be gathered to study the origins of language
- Describe different theories that have been proposed
- Design and implement a computer model to study aspects of language evolution
- Evaluate and draw conclusions from computer modeling work
- Evaluate and judge laboratory experiments that study aspects of language evolution
- Observe, analyze and report on the experimental live emergence of an artificial language
- Summarize how mechanisms of cultural evolution shape language
- Generate ideas for future studies and creative use of data in the field of Language Evolution
|Teacher(s)||Marcello Gómez Maureira|
The Graduation Lab comprises eight 2-hour meetings for students who are working on their 30 ECTS Graduation Project and thesis, with which they finalise their MSc in Media Technology. Each meeting is led by one of the Media Technology staff members involved in thesis supervision.
About 15% of the time in class is used to disseminate practical information about the graduation procedure. About 25% is used to provide information and support regarding methods, research skills, and project planning. In the remaining 60% students share their project plans and progress with the group, so that all can learn from each others’ inventiveness, research skills, and mistakes.
The graduation procedure involves project logging and filling out the Graduation Forms I and II. These forms have to be submitted using the Graduation Lab Blackboard page.
Research Seminar: Social Technologies
|Objective||Investigating technologies that support social living in the light of human evolution and exploring novel ways in which technology can create, maintain, or extend social ties.|
|Teacher(s)||Max van Duijn|
|Examination||Homework assignments and research project|
What have telling stories around the campfire, playing football, dancing on a festival, and spending time on Facebook in common? If we follow our evolutionary lineage back a few million years, we find a social primate that populated parts of the African continent. This primate lived in small-scale communities of around 40-60 individuals, about the same size as the groups formed by present-day chimpanzees and bonobos. Over time, however, our ancestors started living in social environments of ever increasing size and complexity. With groups growing larger, individuals had to spend more time maintaining their social networks and cognitive processing of social information became more demanding. As a consequence, we had to develop bigger and more powerful brains, and find more efficient ways of forming and maintaining social bonds than how most members of the primate family do this: through grooming.
In this research seminar a fascinating, adventurous hypothesis will be worked out: various “inventions” presumed to be characteristic of early human societies, such as the production of art, story-telling, dance, or ritualistic behaviours, can be viewed as social technologies supporting the formation and maintenance of complex social networks. What is the evidence supporting this hypothesis, and what could lead to its rejection? How does it relate to modern media and communication technologies? How can future technological developments affect the deep primate roots of our social structures? And what can the study of social technologies over millions of years teach us about the possibilities and limitations of social life in modern mass-societies?
Through active engagement with scientific literature and hands-on investigation of how people use present-day social (media) technologies, a rich and diverse perspective on this hypothesis will emerge.
Sciences & Humanities
|Objective||Comprehension of how particular discoveries and works across the sciences and humanities have impacted the way we see the world. Deepened understanding of the current divide between sciences and humanities, in terms of methods, approaches, and “research culture”.|
|Teacher(s)||Max van Duijn|
|Number of Classes||~6|
|Examination||Homework assignments and written exam|
Most people know Copernicus, Darwin, Einstein, or Crick, and are able to indicate in a few words what their contribution to our knowledge are. But who can do the same for Aristotle, Scaliger, Descartes, Wittgenstein, Popper, or Quine? This course focuses on ideas across both the humanities and sciences that have impacted on the way we see the world today. Who were the great minds behind these ideas, what were their methods, motives, and what drove them?
In addition, the course investigates the current divide in the academic world between sciences and humanities. The “two cultures” are approached from a historical and science-philosophical perspective, as well as through hands-on experience. Students with a background in the sciences can engage in a small research project using methods and materials from the humanities, and students with a background in the humanities can take up a small scientific research project. The course concludes with a discussion of opportunities and challenges for “consilience” through multidisciplinary and topic-oriented scholarship.
New Media New Technologies
|Objective||To understand new media and technoloTo understand and get practical experience with media technology concepts and technologies, and to critically reflect on them.gies, and to critically reflect upon them|
|Number of Classes||5|
In media technology one trend, technology or fad quickly follows the next. For anyone with an interest in media technology and creative science it is important to be up to date with the latest and greatest, from augmented reality to creative use of AI, and from fabrication to responsive environments. However it is equally important to be able to critically reflect on these trends, to connect these to classical discussions, and to identify what is really novel and what is merely a hype. Only then we will truly be able to research and imagineer for the future in non incremental ways.
This course explores the latest media, creative research and creative coding technologies and concepts, organized by more timeless themes such as new media history, social relationships, space and intelligent perception and action, so that these technologies can be placed into perspective and context. The course follows a tinkering approach and is a mix of lectures and practical assignments, and students are asked to create works that incorporate a new technology or concept and motivate why it is not just a gimmick or hype. Prototypes and end results will be presented at an exposition open to the general public.
Essentials in Art & Music
|Objective||Extend student knowledge about art and to create a foundation to approach their work from an artistic perspective|
|Teacher(s)||Edwin van der Heide, Taco Stolk|
|Number of Classes||5|
|Examination||To be announced in class|
This course focusses on a number of important developments through the history of all art disciplines. This ranges from realized and unrealized artworks to concepts and artistic approaches. These developments will be studied in order to get a better understanding of creative thought in past and present, and to be able to connect those to personal points of view.
The aim of the course is to extend your knowledge about art, to build a foundation to approach your work from an artistic perspective, and to develop your creative research capabilities regarding various cultural contexts.
|Objective||To develop, research and describe a complete scientific project, preferably alone.|
Each student must choose an individual topic or theme on which he/she would like to graduate. To complete the graduation project, a students must formulate her/his own scientific question and setup a research to answer it. Personal inspiration can play a large role in coming up with a research question, and creativity is often required to answer it. The research motivation, context, and outcome are described by the student in a scientific style paper, that in principle could be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal or conference. Most graduation projects create some product to answer the research question: something that can be “experienced” — seen, smelled, tasted, touched or heard.
Part of every graduation project is the graduation presentation. They are planned on specific days (see program calendar) and are open to everyone. Graduating students must:
1. Obtain permission from the supervisor for the graduation presentation.
2. Send the project title and abstract to the program coordinator, with supervisor(s) mentioned.
3. Invite 2 critics to the presentation, and send them the preliminary graduation paper in time to read it. The critics must be experts in the field of study or otherwise capable of understanding and evaluating the project. At least one of the critics must not be a fellow student.
4. Prepare a 25 minute presentation (in a suitable form) about the project.
After each graduation presentation, the critics have first right to ask questions. After this, others can ask questions. The supervisor manages the discussion. Total discussion time is approximately 10 minutes.
Are you planning to graduate? Then read the detailed Graduation Project Procedures.
Exhibition: Statement to Experience
|Objective||To learn how to develop a concept from a theme, and realize it in an exhibition context. The concept development is by far the most important aspect in this.|
|Teacher(s)||Various scientific staff members|
Throughout every student’s third semester in the programme MSc Media Technology, a project is scheduled in which groups of students must work towards realizing an actual product or installation. However, the process of researching while creating the product is as important as the product itself. All projects start from their own theme, and students can also suggest new themes. A supervisor (scientific staff) assists every project team.
The final product must be innovating and will usually include a media component as well as a technical component. The project ends with a exhibition in a gallery that is open to the general public, and in which all products are exhibited. This exposition may be part of a city-wide cultural event. Many interesting projects that resulted from the Media Technology programme were created within the Semester Project.
Language & Text
|Objective||Comprehension of the complexity of language generation and hands-on experience with applications.|
|Number of Classes||10|
|Examination||Assignments and written exam|
Speech and text are very special media because they enable to express relatively complex information. Therefore, the usage of speech and text is a privilege to humans. This course discusses the structure of language and how this structure plays a role in the automatic generating of speech and text. Topics that are dealt with are amongst others state-of-the-art language regenerating systems and their diverse applications.
During lab-time students will experiment with software that automatically generates poems.
|Objective||Enabling students to decide which medium is the most representative for their goal, but is not necessarily the easiest solution|
|Number of Classes||5|
The creation of a piece of art implies the choice of the medium, which already is an artistic choice. In the Meta Media classes students learn to integrate this choice in the artistic process. To achieve this, a theoretical framework is presented in which (cultural-) philosophy, conceptual art and the possibilities of the new, digital media is discussed. Furthermore, a wide range of old and new, simple and complex, conventional and unusual media is studied from the point of view of applicability for the arts.
Hardware & Physical Computing
|Objective||To understand processors, sensors, and actuators. Having hands-on experience with building a small computer, programming an Arduino, interfacing physical devices, and using this in a physical installation.|
|Teacher(s)||Paul Jansen Klomp, additional class by Maarten Lamers|
|Number of Classes||8|
This course is about connecting computers to the physical world. We are all used to connecting ourselves to computers, for example via keyboard, mouse, monitor, and touch screen. However, many creative computing applications require a computer to connect to the physical world via other sensors (buttons, dials, thermometers, distance sensors, gps, pressure sensors, accelerometers, light sensors, …) and actuators (motors, steppermotors, servo’s, leds, lcd’s, electrical appliances, …). Typical application domains where computers sense and act in the physical world are robotics, tactile interaction, home automation, interactive installations, and experimental research equipment.
This course introduces physical computing and interfacing via the Arduino open-source hardware platform. Arduino’s are inexpensive and popular micro-controller boards. Students learn to build their own Arduino board, to connect sensors and actuators, to program the Arduino, and must then apply it in a creative computing project — they must build an interactive installation or robot. Read more about Arduino.
|Objective||Introduction to various basic internet and web technologies and enabling design of alternative technologies/solutions|
|Teacher(s)||Enrique Larios Vargas|
|Number of Classes||8|
|Examination||Assignments and written examination|
Web Technology is a course about several Internet-related technologies. It teaches the basic workings of the web. Why the basic workings? Because understanding them enables students to come up with alternative strategies to solve web-problems and achieve new web-goals. Students will be encouraged to find their own solutions, e.g. come up with alternative and new web-protocols.
internetworking - protocol stacks - IP, TCP, UDP and HTTP protocols - Open Sound Control (OSC) protocol - semantic web - streaming media - MP3 encoding - peer-to-peer file sharing - BitTorrent protocol - TOR Onion Routing - "Is there a future for the world-wide web?"
This course specifically does not cover web-design issues, and does not teach you HTML (those skills are assumed). It is about how the Internet works, how the World Wide Web functions and what you could add to this.
The format is interactive and kaleidoscopic, integrating lectures, guest lectures, and programming demonstrations. Examination is through a final exam. Full class attendance is compulsory. Reading materials are distributed electronically in class.
Sound, Space & Interaction
|Objective||Being able to make an interactive, network based, application that communicates with the audience/participant(s)/user(s) solely by means of sound|
|Teacher(s)||Edwin van der Heide|
|Examination||1 presentation day|
This course will focus on many topics in parallel: basics about sound and timbre, basics about acoustics, communication models incorporating space (and distance) and interaction models based on sound.
The assignment of the course is as follows: You’re supposed to make an interactive, network based, application that communicates with the audience/participant(s)/user(s) solely by means of sound. In order to achieve this you have to design your own communicating sonic language. The assignment has to be realized with the Pure Data programming environment. Basics about Pure Data will be addressed both in the classes and in the labs.
|Objective||Gaining insight into perceptualization of information via theory, discussion and examples.|
|Teacher(s)||Edwin van der Heide, Maarten Lamers|
|Number of Classes||~7|
|Examination||Homework, projects and presentations|
The term "perceptualization" was coined specifically for this course. It describes the translation of signals and information to modalities that appeal to any of the human senses. As such, it generalizes the terms "visualization" and "sonification" to include all other senses. We study such perceptualizations, with particular focus on how properties of a perception systems can be used to optimally convey information.
In this course, history, theory, practice, and examples of information perceptualization are studied and discussed. Lectures are combined with reading homework, student presentations and a student project. Full attendance is compulsory.
If you have questions, or want to attend the course as a guest student, contact the teachers via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Study Trip to Ars Electronica Festival
|Objective||This excursion offers a source of inspiration and knowledge for new Media Technology students, and a basis for discussion with which to start their studies.|
At the start of each academic year, all new Media Technology students go on a study trip to the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria. Since 1979 Ars Electronica has been the world’s most outstanding forum of electronic art. State-of-the-art works of hundreds of artists from dozens of countries are presented in a festival that consists of exhibitions, demonstrations, performances, lectures, conferences, films, outside events, meetings and parties of all kinds. Over three days students are faced with many sides of the electronic arts: creative aims, technological means, scientific consequences, artistic qualities, ecological and ethical questions, and the social consequences of the spread of new media. It offers a source of inspiration and knowledge for new Media Technology students, and a basis for discussion with which to start their studies.
A minor fee for travel, accommodation and festival admission must be paid by students. The Media Technology office arranges travel by bus, stay at a hotel, and substantial discount on festival passes. International students must themselves take care of appropriate visa (travel is through Germany and Austria). The visit is shared with new students of the ArtScience programme.
Students unable to join the study trip can submit a petition to do an alternative course or project instead.
Introduction to Programming (MSc)
|Objective||See Course Objectives in below Description|
|Teacher(s)||Marcello A. Gómez Maureira|
|Number of Classes||10|
|Examination||Assignments and a written exam|
Learning a programming language is surprisingly similar to learning a new spoken language. At first, we become familiar with the vocabulary and the rules that provide structure. With practice we gain the ability to communicate complex thoughts and add nuance to our conversations.
However, where humans can deal with ambiguity and imperfect structure, computers require us to be precise, consistent and systematic at all times. This can be difficult to get used to and can make programming seem like an insurmountable challenge.
In the "Introduction to Programming" course we overcome this challenge through reviewing foundational principles of programming and applied practice. As part of the course, you will create programs on a weekly basis, based on a list of requirements. Some of the programs are meant to carry out work for you, while others are playful or aesthetically interesting. Whatever the functionality, you are asked to find a way to create it. Programming in this course will be discussed through a text-based language (Java via Processing) as well as a visual programming language (Pure Data). Rather than make you an expert in a specific programming language, the aim of the course is making you proficient in understanding and creating code in any language. This will allow you to choose the best tool (i.e. programming language) depending on what it is you want to achieve. In addition to getting acquainted with programming, you will also learn to version-control your code with GIT.
All teaching material used in this course is freely available. You will need access to a computer with Internet access at home (Windows, Mac or Linux), and bring your own laptop to each class. Note that the course is part of the Media Technology MSc curriculum. If you are a student of the programme, the content of this course will be important for subsequent courses.
If you are unsure if this course is right for you, write the lecturer with your concerns. If you require specific assistance of any kind in class or after, be sure to let the lecturer know as soon as possible, either before the start of the course, or very soon thereafter.
- Create programs that can act as tools or as artefacts for entertainment (e.g. games, interactive artworks)
- Gain the ability to understand and modify programs written in a range of modern programming languages
- Gain the ability to teach the fundamentals of programming to others
- Deconstruct the intended functionality of a program into smaller tasks
- Find several ways to solve a task and make informed decisions when choosing specific solutions
- Work with version control systems
|Objective||To deepen the student's knowledge of specific scientific topics, in preparation of the individual graduation project.|
Part of the curriculum is reserved for elective courses. This enables students to gain deeper insight into scientific topics of their choice and prepare them optimally for the individual graduation project. Elective courses can be for instance in the fields of Computer Science, Psychology, Art History, Linguistics, Philosophy, etcetera. The Media Technology programme does not compile lists of available courses. Example lists of courses are those from LIACS and the e-Prospectus of Leiden University. Elective courses may also be followed at other (inter)national universities.
Students applying for elective courses should carefully read: How to apply for elective courses, and other rules.
Image & Vision: Embodied Vision
|Objective||Film history (illusionism) and study of film|
|Teacher(s)||Dan North and other lecturers|
|Number of Classes||8|
|Examination||Essay and final project|
The course consists of 8 sessions in total. Four sessions are classical lectures (hoorcollege) by Dan North, collectively discussing a topic.
Three other sessions will be a workshop by Robin de Lange, with the last session as presentations.
All sessions have compulsory attendance.
The connecting threads between the four classes will be special effects and illusionism, either in the service of narrative, spectacle, or affective responses from viewers (as in the 'effects' of experimental cinema), and editing, which can be used to effect a transformation, construct spatiotemporal continuity, or create associative montages. This is thus a set of classes that take an angle on film history (illusionism), and also introduce some of the key concepts underpinning the study of film.
Course work and grading
To successfully complete the course, students must:
1. Attend all sessions (attendance is registered). Failing to attend sessions may affect the final grade.
2. Write an essay about the topic of the 4 collective classes.
3. Complete a project about a topic of the workshops.
Details about the assignments will be communicated by the lecturers during the course. Separate submission dates are scheduled for the essay assignment and project assignment.
Playful & Creative Science
|Examination||To be announced in class|
Research Seminar: Artificial Intelligence
|Objective||Aim of the course is to obtain a broad perspective on Artificial Intelligence and its techniques, and studying, processing and presenting of scientific material|
|Number of Classes||~15|
|Examination||Homework tests, student presentations, attendance.|
This seminar-style course studies the topic of artificial intelligence (AI), taking a broad and historical view. Goal of the course is to learn studying, processing and presenting scientific material, and to learn about artificial intelligence. The seminar consists of lectures, homework assignments/tests, and student presentations.
It covers various sexy topics from the field of artificial intelligence, to the level that should enable students to discuss AI comfortably with other scientists, or to think about future directions. Topics include the question of whether machines can think, evolutionary computation, neural networks, computing with DNA, computers and emotions, computational creativity, cyborgs, and more. It is not a complete overview of AI topics. Some topics are not strictly AI but related; they were included to understand the history and context of artificial intelligence.
Seminar-style implies that presentations are mainly held by the students themselves, with much plenary discussion and interaction. Active participation and full class attendance are required to pass the course. Assessment and grading are based on student presentations, homework tests, and attendance. Reading material is distributed electronically in class.
Human Computer Interaction & Information Visualization
|Objective||Understand the major principles of interaction design. Understand the key concepts in the trajectory of designing and implementing interactive products. Being able to apply these concepts to a practical research plan and to study the usability of an interactive application. Being able to critically assess the design process through a research question and report on results of a “short” study.|
|Number of Classes||26|
|Examination||Assignments, final project, paper and written exam|
Human Computer Interaction is concerned with man-machine interfaces. Every system equipped with a microprocessor has some kind of user interface for its operation. This is, in particularly, the case for systems that require which interaction as an essential ingredient for its normal operation: i.e. computers and computer programs.
Human Computer Interaction covers various aspects of the interaction between the human operator a computer system. In the lectures the underlying principles for the design of the computer interface and interaction are discussed. This includes aspects of human perception, cognitive processes and memory but also subjects directly related to interface and interaction design, i.e. metaphores, widgets, windowing systems and object orientation. In the modern approach of Human Computer Interaction, the user is the pivot of the design trajectory. Design methods are based on this principle and this will be clear in discussion of problem analysis, prototyping, evaluation and usability. Recent developments in HCI are discussed in the lectures.
The students in this course are taking part of either the regular Computer Science (CS, including I&E) programme or of the Mediatechnology (MT) programme. In addition, the course is included in the minor Computer Science. The course consists of two parts: (1) HCI Theory, and (2) practical assignments. Documentation and assignment is made available via the website of this course.
|Objective||Understanding the principles and organization of science, understanding the limits of what is acceptable in science, understanding academic careers paths, and understanding the importance of creativity in scientific research.|
|Teacher(s)||Maarten Lamers & Max van Duijn|
|Examination||Final project, written paper, presentation, homework assignments, student participation in class, attendance.|
In this course, principles, methods and organization of scientific research are presented. It aims to consolidate and extend prior views that students may have on academic research.
Topics of the course include principles of scientific research, organization of the academic world, academic careers, the Netherlands Code of Conduct for Scientific Practice, academic fraud, scientific publication, the role of creativity in research, asking the right questions, finding the right data, the role of statistics.
The course format is rather intense and student participation is high, with multiple writing assignments, a final research project and presentations. Class attendance is compulsory and an active in-class attitude is expected.
Most information about the course is on the lecturers' course webpage.