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Computer and Information Sciences

In the twenty-first century, people have more and different kinds of information available to them at any given moment. What is more, the media through which that information is communicated are evolving rapidly and increasingly accessible to people in all walks of life. In such an environment, students need sophisticated technological skills to help them create ideas, manage data and effectively communicate information. At Manlius Pebble Hill, Computer and Information Science courses are designed to equip students with the technological background that is essential in school, the workplace, for personal satisfaction and meaningful lives.

All Computer and Information Science courses include elements of computer programming, even though course topics range widely from dedicated introductory and advanced programming classes, to digital film and animation offerings. The incorporation of coding helps students develop skills and knowledge pertaining to computer programming and software development, while allowing them the flexibility to apply themselves in areas of their own interest, for example by exploring how to create video games and virtual worlds with 3-D animation. For students interested in pursuing programming at a higher level, introductory courses build a foundation for a transition to writing code in Java and other languages.

Our students also use multimedia applications to create professionally finished products that are useful to them in other courses. Those include Web design, digital images, video technologies, animation, and audio production. Combined with computer literacy in areas such as operating systems, telecommunications, cloud computing, cyber safety and security, and ethical issues involving technology, MPH students are well equipped to use a broad range of technology with great aptitude in support of the school’s mission to inspire students to think critically, act responsibly and discover a passion for lifelong learning.

Courses

First Semester

3D Modeling

The ability to design and render 3-dimensional images was once a niche skill for animators and video game designers. As the public’s interest in computer generated films and 3D printers is on the rise, more media developers are learning how to design and render 3D imagery. This 3D modeling course is designed to give students an introduction to the multiple ways to utilize 3D mesh designs. Using programs such as OpenSCAD, TinkerCAD, Sculptris, and Blender, students will develop 3D models for prototype development, 3D printing, video game modification, and character-based animation.

Cinematic Storytelling

Cinematic Storytelling introduces students to the process of audio, video, and image development and distribution. Students learn the ins and outs of motion picture production, then use their skills to script, shoot, edit, export, and publish videos for social media and film festivals. By the end of the semester, students will have the background to create their own documentaries, narrative videos, and audio presentations, as well as to write in the traditional script format. Over the course of the semester, students will utilize video and audio editing software including Audacity, Adobe Audition, Adobe Premiere Pro and iMovie.

Introduction to Programming

Anyone with a passion for the creative process, who is interested in logic and problem-solving, can learn to develop games, applications, and software. Introduction to Programming is intended to ease students into the programming mindset by developing games in simpler languages like Scratch (developed by MIT) and OpenSCAD, then progress to the more difficult object-oriented language of Java.  By the end of the course, students will have a foundational understanding of how programming works and will be able to create simple games and programs using different languages and design programs.

 

Second Semester

Broadcasting

The Internet Age has had a dramatic effect on all modern industries. From reading to retail, there has been a seismic shift in the way in which traditional industries operate. In the broadcasting world, television re-runs are being replaced with video-on-demand, news conferences can be held anywhere via streaming services, and modern radio broadcasting comes in the form of podcasting. Broadcasting is a course designed to teach students about the power their computers and phones offer as mass communication devices. Students will work together to create podcasts, schedule and produce live streams, and design and market their own YouTube channels. Students will learn to use software including Adobe Premiere, Adobe Audition, and XSplit Broadcaster.

Computer Graphics

Visual imagery can function on a variety of different levels. In order for it to stand out to a viewer, or experience viral culture online, a creator must understand the process of image development, the audience that will see it, and the best method for its distribution. Computer Graphics is designed to give students an introduction to the world of graphic design and digital image creation. Throughout the semester students will have the opportunity to create visual sculptures, visual stories, internet memes, and animated GIFs. Students learn the ins and outs of pixel-based and vector designs through the use of software like Adobe Photoshop and Vectr and 3D design using OpenSCAD.

Social Media Marketing

The power of social media cannot be understated. A technology that started being used only by a niche youth population has now infiltrated all generations and demographics as it plays an ever-present role in communications and commerce. Posting to Instagram, Snapchat, or TikTok can develop a brand following more quickly than any combination of billboards or television commercials. Social Media Marketing is a class that looks at the effect social media has had on culture around the world through analysis and actions. Students will work with production groups to create brands and use social media outlets to promote them. Through real-world interactions, students will become conscientious social media producers and managers.

Advanced Media Arts

Advanced Media Arts is a studio-based technology class in which students work on a project that is outside of the scope of a traditional computer technology class. Interested students propose a project to the instructor. Upon approval, the student attends class once a cycle to showcase the project’s progress, learn about other projects, help troubleshoot any issues he or she may be having, and discuss the viability of the project’s real-world application. At the end of the class, students are encouraged to showcase their work to the community. Advanced Media Arts is for students who are interested in honing a specific media or technology skill-set and believe they can create high level work. Students are required to take an introductory computer technology class as a prerequisite for Advanced Media Arts. Enrollment requires permission from the instructor.

 Advanced Programming   (Pre-requisite: Introduction to Programming)

The line between programming and becoming a programmer is a blurry one that most creators struggle with until they have reached an abundance of success. What these digital inventors fail to realize is that most programmers working in the industry today are self-taught. This course is intended to help students transition from being casual programmers to active creators through a series of activities that will put student work on display in both physical and digital locations. Students will learn advanced programming tactics in the Scratch and Java languages and explore creative coding principles using the Processing language. Students will also be responsible for their own mini-computer and are expected to regularly learn new content outside of the classroom.