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Updated: 06 Jan 2012

Course Content

Sector Relevance

In our world of rapidly developing technologies, specific technology-related knowledge is no longer sufficient and graduates require skills in how to select and combine technologies in creative ways. The future workforce must be equipped with a range of contemporary hybrid skills necessary for digital technology innovation, including higher-level digital, technical and interpersonal skills, analytical and problem-solving skills, as well as skills in critical thinking and creative development. Graduates from the IOCT programme have the opportunity be uniquely equipped with such skills, having developed a range of working methods and practices, research and development strategies, and knowledge and understanding from across discipline areas. By crossing traditional discipline boundaries and developing new modes of collaboration and cooperation, IOCT graduates are well placed to face the challenges presented by the current climate. Our groundbreaking cross-discipline approach has been described by Jerry Fishenden, former National Technology Officer of Microsoft UK and current technology adviser to the UK Government, as "a potential blueprint for the next generation of Research & Development" commenting, "This commitment to bringing together disciplines in new and exciting ways will help develop the UK's reputation as a leader in the creative industries."

Programme Structure

This innovative programme develops knowledge and skills in working creatively with new technologies. As well as core modules in Research Methods students choose from modules taught across disciplines and also complete a Major Project, the focus of which is chosen by the student in negotiation with tutors. Projects in the past have included design and construction of multi-touch surfaces, interactive games design, augmented reality exhibition displays, product design, web design, e-learning packages and digital art exhibitions. Projects may also be selected from a range of commercial briefs, working with local organisations.

As well as the timetabled modules, each week there is a session called 'Adventures in Creative Technologies' ('Adventures' for short!). In this session the group comes together to explore, experiment, share and challenge. Past students have said that this is one of the best parts of the course as they get to meet and work with other IOCT students, share ideas and come up with some amazing collaborations!

The 2011-2012 programme consists of the following modules:

Research Methods for Creative Projects

This module provides a grounding in research methods for creative technologies projects, including the dynamics of creativity, offering students methodologies and techniques to support and develop their learning throughout their course of study. The module will cover research methods across art and design, humanities and computing sciences. It will cover literature reviews, creative practice research methodologies and practice-led research, as well as critical and scholarly approaches to analysis, quantitative and qualitative approaches including laboratory evaluation, surveys, case studies and action research. Students will be given techniques in methods of collaborative and cooperative working as well as systems of the development of creative ideas and research. The module will be delivered by academics from the faculties of Art, Design and Humanities, Technology and, where appropriate, guest lectures from professional practitioners.

Research Methods in Practice

This module will give students a practical understanding of the different methods of dissemination, presentation and communication of research/projects in creative technologies as well as practical experience in presenting their research to a range of audiences. It will cover different types of research outputs and their dissemination, different ways to present research, how to present and market research to different audience types, communication and presentation techniques and project planning. This module aims to encourage students to think about how their own creative technologies work is best communicated to a range of different audiences, ranging from academics, industry specialists and the general public as well as how this can be achieved practically. The module will culminate in an assessed showcase event where the student group will present their own creative technologies work to both a public and invited audience.

Advances in Modern Lens Based Media

The purpose of this module is to introduce you to Modern Optics and the use of holographic/lenticular technology as a creative tool. Related technology will include three-dimensional photography. Specifically, it will examine advances in light sensitive materials and related print technology and design/application testing. You will also get the opportunity to put theory into practice through working in a group on a lenticular creative project.

Creative Digital Media Design

The purpose of this module is to introduce you to the critical appraisal of current digital media technology, related creative and management processes and production techniques in a professional context. Specifically, it will examine advances in digital media and related product technology, project management, digital design method theories, concept development, prototyping/production techniques and design/application testing. You will also get the opportunity to put theory into practice through working in a group on a multidisciplinary creative project.

Business Planning for the Creative Entrepreneur

Develops the key business planning skills and knowledge to identify potential for a new product/service/experience and mobilize the necessary business resources to bring the idea to market.

Critical Perspectives in Design Management

Considers the discipline of design management, its historical development and its current place within industry, acknowledging the changes over the last decade from design leadership to design integration.

Marketing for the Creative Entrepreneur

Considers marketing and corporate strategy issues in relation to activities of the design entrepreneur. Understanding consumer needs, buying drivers and strategy is fundamental to product innovation and development in a competitive marketplace.

The Nature of Creativity

Creativity is not purely the remit of the designer but is a discipline engaged with across the entire business environment. Students analyse SME's to identify the existence, extent and purpose of creativity as both theoretical and practical processes and begin to investigate qualitative and quantitative methodologies to measure success.

Applied Computational Intelligence

The purpose of this module is to enable you to appreciate the historical, philosophical and future implications of Artificial Intelligence in relation to both theoretical and practical aspects. The module will cover the history of AI (definition of intelligence, brief history of developments in AI, test of intelligence), the philosophy of AI (exploring prevalent views and theories), Expert Systems (knowledge acquisition, representation and search, expert system shells) and applications.

Audio Production

The module covers various techniques for the production and reproduction of audio material, for a variety of applications, including music, film, DVD, web. This provides solid support for a variety of other production focuses.

Audio Programming and Tool Creation

This module exposes the students to the important and yet often underrated area of audio programming for games and analyses how technical members of a software team can develop useful and usable tools for creative members of the team. The students will gain a comprehensive appreciation for audiology and the range of possibilities in audio programming with grounding in the science of sound. The audio programming will be focused on audio engine programming. The tool creation element will require the students to have an understanding of HCI in order to create a digital audio manipulation tools for use be creative personnel.

If you do not have experience in C++ you must attend a C++ course before enrolling on this module (at no extra cost) from Friday 23rd September 2011 - Thursday 29th September 2011

Computer Aided Design

CAD is the cornerstone of modern product design and manufacturing and underpins the whole principle of Rapid Product Development. Students will not only be taught the theory of CAD but will also be shown how to use the latest solid modelling CAD package (Solid Works).

This is an intensive module run over one week. You can miss any other teaching you may have on this week, as long as you catch-up on any missed work.

Computer Games Programming

In order to function as interactive entertainment, games software has particular issues and constraints that must be addressed by programmers. Games programming requires an understanding of issues raised by the software/hardware interface (particularly for console-based programming), 'low-level' programming, efficiency requirements, architectural considerations and an understanding of fundamental maths topics. Due to the inexorable advancement of games technology (whether PC-based, console-based or handheld/mobile, etc.), games programmers must work at the cutting edge of technology. Games programmers also usually work in teams (which are sometimes very large) hence there is also a need for games programmers to understand and have practice in the issues raised by team programming. The focus of this module is on good programming practice, good software design, team programming, efficiency, optimisation and low-level details. To encourage collaborative team-based development, relevant tools to support and improve coordination of development activities such as revision control systems and project management tools will be introduced and used. The assessment for the module will involve the specification, design and implementation of a game engine with group activities.

If you do not have experience in C++ you must attend a C++ course before enrolling on this module (at no extra cost) from Friday 23rd September 2011 - Thursday 29th September 2011

Dynamics of Creativity and Entrepreneurship

The module will introduce and develop the concepts, realtionships and organisational structure between creativity and entrepreneurship. The syllabus covers the nature of the media industry, relationships between creativity and entrepreneurship in the media industry, entrepreneurial process, planning a creative media production project, business plans for a creative media project and tools for managing creative and entrepreneurial media projects.

Evolutionary Computing

Genetic Algorithms use the principle of natural selection to artificially 'evolve' a population of candidate solutions through simulated reproduction and mutation. GA's have been used successfully for engineering optimisation tasks, and hard to compute problems. This module will provide students with an appreciation of theoretical issues of evolutionary computing, including the Genetic Algorithm (GA), Evolutionary systems (ES), data representation, genetic operators and properties of GA's. Both GA's and ES will be studied in practical laboratory sessions.

Game Architecture, Design and Development

This module provides the opportunity to understand and analyse computer games architectures through a combination of theory and practice. This module is designed to give an in-depth treatment of general game development issues with a particular focus on software engineering, game software architecture, implementation issues, and testing and evaluation. This module will also cover games console and PC hardware, project management and games design. Game software development methodologies will be presented and critically appraised. Practical issues and consequences of game development methodologies are illustrated through the production of a game prototype.

If you do not have experience in C++ you must attend a C++ course before enrolling on this module (at no extra cost) from Friday 23rd September 2011 - Thursday 29th September 2011

Interactive Media and Applications

Interactive media is more than simply interacting with screens. They are everywhere: in our pockets, on our wrists, on the walls of an exhibition, embedded in other devices. The way we experience them has also expanded. This module will address the different interactive media, the design of interactive media and applications of interactive media. The course will focus on understanding of the different modalities of interaction and corresponding hardware and software components. The course will introduce a framework for the incorporating interactive signals into real time production of both live video and graphics.

Mathematical Modelling and Artificial Intelligence

Many applications of modern computing involve processes of assesment and decision making which used to be solely within the domain of human beings. Uses of Artificial Intelligence are widespread - from search engine algorithms on the internet to making decisions on credit worthiness to route finding in virtual worlds. This module covers in outline the major techniques of Artificial Intelligence and refers to applications which use these techniques, where possible taking examples in the area of games programming. Artificial Intelligence in games is an area of increasing interest to games producers, particularly in managing and enhancing the game experience.The general methods of AI include knowledge based approaches, search algorithms, and computational methods such as neural networks. The methods and modelling techniques illustrated in the development of AI expertise have other applications in games production. The module will build on the techniques introduced for AI to develop modelling skills relevant to virtual world modelling and the modelling of physical interaction, leading to a broad background in modelling continuous and discrete physical phenomena. The physics and mathematics of motion will be covered as well as mathematical techniques useful in 3D modelling.

If you do not have experience in C++ you must attend a C++ course before enrolling on this module (at no extra cost) from Friday 23rd September 2011 - Thursday 29th September 2011

Rapid Prototyping

This course will introduce the basic principles of rapid prototyping and a wide range of rapid prototyping methods will be covered in detail, including hands-on training in the major techniques.

This is an intensive module run over one week. You can miss any other teaching you may have on this week, as long as you catch-up on any missed work.

Reverse Engineering

Reverse engineering enables geometric data for real products to be captured and transferred into the electronic product data environment. This module demonstrates the alternative approaches to reverse engineering and their advantages and disadvantages using case studies and applications from industry.

This is an intnesive module run over one week. You can miss any other teaching you may have on this week, as long as you catch-up on any missed work.

Video Production

This practical module examines a range of tools, techniques and issues associated with modern digital video production. These will include best practice in handling video cameras and equipment, composition, lighting and sound for video, digital video capture, computer editing, an introduction to motion graphics and compression to a variety of mediums for final delivery. A feature of the module will be a discussion of high definition and the opportunity to use high definition equipment and editing facilities.

Virtual Prototyping

Computer simulation enables the designer to see and even feel the new product before it is manufactured.

This is an intensive module run over one week. You can miss any other teaching you may have on this week, as long as you catch-up on any missed work.

Aesthetics and Ideas in Sonic Arts

This module will survey the evolution of and analytical approaches to a wide range of the sonic arts and associated new media. This will include an historical view of the development of music technology tools and the associated artistic imperatives, aspirations and consequences of their use.

Creative Writing and New Media

This workshop-based module, with an emphasis on Transliteracy, is designed for those wishing to develop creative content in, for example, games, phones, educational or entertainment software, broadcast or cross-platform media. It explores the opportunities available to the writer wishing to work across different kinds of texts such as print, email, hypertexts, blogs, MOOs, chat, messaging, wikis, and other formats. We will examine the relationship of this ever-increasing range of creative vehicles to both fiction and non-fiction writing with an emphasis on students’ own work and the development of an effective practice-based approach. Although it will look at a variety of delivery platforms, the primary role of the module will be an involvement with the text itself, writing, editing, and critiquing scripts for multimedia projects, while looking carefully at issues to do with quality of content, as well as quality of writing including critical, editorial and collaborative authoring skills.

Digital Cultures

This module gives an introduction to key ideas in critical and cultural theory that affect creative technologies and the creative industries. The syllabus includes Modernism and Postmodernism, Structuralism and Poststructuralism, Feminism, Semiotics, Linguistic Theory, Anthropology, Rhizones, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Noise and Communication, Escience and Esocial science and The Ethnography of Cyberspace.

Performance Technologies

This module is designed to give you a knowledge and understanding of the use and role of creative technologies within performance. Due to technological advancements and a resulting need for practitioners to work in a trans-disciplinary way there is a now a demand for recent graduates and artists to understand and obtain fundamental skills and understanding of the creative technologies in relation to performance. By drawing on current knowledge in the area, this module will place the development of technological performance within a creative and social context. This will be facilitated through the specialist knowledge-base of current teaching staff as well as drawing on practitioners in the field (many staff members are also practicing artists). This will provide the basis from which you will undertake individual practice-based research, which will be developed and underpinned by strategies and methodologies explored in the module. Key aims will be to enable you to develop and supplement their specialist knowledge in relation to the creative technologies in performance.

Approaches to the Study of Wellbeing

This is designed to present an overview to the study of well-being. The module will describe well-being from a theoretical perspective and then move on to evaluate the different scientific approaches to well-being. Different psychological approaches to well-being will be described and students will have the opportunity independently to study one particular area in more detail and to write on this area. This module will be the foundation to the study of well-being and will introduce students to the core topics associated with psychological well-being. Topics will include: Historical approaches; evolution and well-being; human development and well-being; philosophy and theories of well-being; physiology and neuroscience; the psychology of well-being; well-being and culture; well-being and religion; social and economic considerations; interpersonal aspects of well-being, and the measurement of well-being.

Lifestyle, Wellness and Well-being

This module is related to current UK initiatives concerned with preventative health behaviours and their role in the maintenance of 'wellness and well-being.' Students will initially explore the effects of a number of lifestyle factors on psychological and physical aspects of well-being. In the second part of the module, students will review and appraise the key concepts and theories used by psychologists to predict and explain lifestyle behaviours, and how these provide foundations for effective interventions to change such behaviours. Finally, students will consider the factors that serve to protect well-being in the face of lifestyle-related psychological and/or physical health problems. Topics include: Introduction to lifestyle psychology: Models and measurement, lifestyle and choice; Lifestyle factors and well-being: Eating, drinking, smoking and sexual behaviours; physical activity, drug-use; Changing lifestyle and enhancing well-being: Social cognition models - Concepts and theories, interventions and limitations; Lifestyle and health: Behaviours and disease; Resilience and lifestyle: Hardiness, coping and living well; Evaluating lifestyle psychology; libertarian vs. interventionist approaches to well-being and health.

Well-being through the Lifespan

This module will consider well-being across the lifespan, from childhood to old age. This involves integrating psychological theories and empirical evidence to develop a critical understanding of human psychological development and the various psychological difficulties faced across the lifespan, and the implications of this knowledge for improving well-being. The module is designed to: a) broaden students' understanding of the progression of well-being thorough the lifespan, b) develop students' appreciation of the different influences that can affect well-being at different life stages, and c) facilitate recognition and understanding of the factors can promote stability in well-being across the lifespan. Topics include: Personality, hereditability of well-being, and its stability through the lifespan; Childhood and adolescence - Well-being and the family, Well-being and education, Well-being & other factors - Friendships, personality, and vulnerable children: Adulthood: Work and well-being, Relationships and life transitions; Old age: Health, mental health and retirement.

Major Project

This module provides the opportunity you to develop and demonstrate skills acquired from the taught course in the creation, development and realisation of a negotiated creative or research project. This module allows you to bring together all aspects of the course ranging from research methodologies to discipline-specific modules. This module will enable you to carry out your own research project under supervision. They will conduct appropriate research in accordance with an agreed project proposal, which will be negotiated with appointed staff. The type of award (MA or MSc) will be determined by the area of specialism reflected in the your choice of focus.

For further information or to be kept informed about the IOCT Masters, please contact:
Dr Sophy Smith
Institute of Creative Technologies
De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH
Tel: (+44) 0116 255 1551, ext. 6864
Email: SSmith05 [at]

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