this is not an online course

Course Syllabus - AVT 616 Networked Art Practice

Professor: Mark Cooley
Fall 2010


One weekly blog entry on networked art acquiring material from assigned readings and the following sites: | Networked Performance | Turbulence |

Recommended Texts

Internet Art (World of Art) by Rachel Greene, Publisher - Thames, Hudson.  Find it @, or choose your own bookseller.

NOTE: We will not work directly from software instructional manuals in class, and I will not assign work from them.  However, software manuals are useful and serve effectively as reference tools - reiterating and adding depth to the technical matters covered in classroom demonstrations. Alternatively, there are many quality software tutorials and demonstrations online.

Software instruction manuals:

Visual Quickstart Guide series from Peachpit Press.  "These task-based, visual reference guides feature step-by-step instructions and plenty of screen shots to guide readers through one- and two-page tasks."

Hands-On Training (H.O.T) , series developed by Lynda Weinman are available @ Books from this series claim a fast "hands-on" approach and include a cd with movies and training exercises

Course Description

616 Networked Art Practice (5:2:6) Prerequisite: admission to AVT graduate program, or permission of instructor. Studio, lecture course investigating art as networked activity. Particular attention focused on the Internet as context for creation, distribution, and patronage of art.


Successful students will:

further their studies in new media while beginning to participate meaningfully in a community (online or off) of artists and critics/theoreticians who make and patronize networked art;

demonstrate an ability to conceptualize and work through self directed creative projects that display skill, thoughtfulness and a potential to gain the interests of the networked art or net art community.

demonstrate a working understanding of techniques for critical evaluation of art works in the context of digital/visual culture and New Media practice.

Course Requirements

Art Project(s): Each student will complete one or a series of ambitious networked art projects to be discussed and planned by the student and professor.  Projects must be made with an awareness of how they may be of interest in the context of networked art practice. Students will be expected to present their finished projects to AVT 483 during the last week of class.

Student blog: Students will be asked to keep a blog throughout the course.  It will include:
1. Research and Project ideas
2. Responses to assigned course readings.
3. A weekly blog entry reporting on a networked art project - including detailed description and thoughtful response.


Students will be given one midterm and one end-of-the-semester grade. The grades will be averaged together to obtain a final grade.

A   Self directed work that is intelligent, skilled and relevant to the practice of Internet & Multimedia Art. Work that is accompanied by critique/discussion sessions where the student successfully communicates his/her intentions and provides meaningful justification for decisions.

B   Work that demonstrates a knowledgeable and creative understanding of relevant tools and concepts through a self directed project accompanied by well stated intentions during critique/discussions.

C   Work that is satisfactory and displays adequate know-how conceptually and technically in the process of creating a mainly self directed project.

D   Work that displays lack of commitment, skill and/or awareness of internet & multimedia as genre of contemporary Art.

F   Work that displays little skill in conceptualization and/or production and/or little-to-no awareness of Internet & multimedia as genre of contemporary Art.


Required - An appropriate personal data storage device
Output Materials (and costs) as needed
Suggested but not required - a digital camera & digital video camera

Important University Dates and Deadlines

GMU Academic Calendar

Once the add and drop deadlines have passed, instructors do not have the authority to approve requests from students to add or drop/withdraw late. Requests for late adds (up until the last day of classes) must be made by the student  in the School of Art office (or the office of the department offering the course), and generally are only approved in the case of a documented university error (such as a problem with financial aid being processed). Requests for non-elective withdrawals and retroactive adds  (adds after the last day of classes) must be approved by the academic dean of the college in which the student’s major is located. For AVT/School of Art majors, that is the CVPA Office of Academic Affairs, Performing Arts Building A407.

Important School of Art Dates

The dates for this fall’s ArtsBus trips are September 25, October 23, November 13.
- If you need ArtsBus credit for this semester, you MUST enroll in AVT 300  (CRN 72362, 72363, 72364) before September 14, 2010.  Anyone who intends to travel to New York independently, or do the DC Alternate Assignment for credit MUST enroll in AVT 300. There will be NO exceptions. If you need multiple AVT 300 credits this semester, you must enroll in multiple sections of AVT 300. Please go to the ArtsBus website: "Student Information" for additional, very important information regarding ArtsBus policy.

Visual Voices Lecture Series
Visual Voices is a year-long series of lectures by artists, art historians and other art professionals that enriches the School of Art curriculum. Visual Voices lectures are held on Thursday evenings from 7:30- 9:00 p.m. in Harris Theater.  The fall schedule includes four lectures:
September 30, 2010: Julie Belcher and Kevin Bradley, “Yee-Haw Industries, 32 Flavors of Gravy”
October 14, 2010: Enrique Chagoya, “Illegal Aliens Guide to Reverse Anthropology”
October 21, 2010: John Carson, “TimeLines”
December 2, 2010: John Mason, “ Art and Law”

University and School of Art Policies:

As a courtesy to others in the class, and in accordance with George Mason University policy, please turn off all beepers, cellular telephones and other wireless communication devices at the start of class. The instructor of the class will keep his/her cell phone active to assure receipt of any Mason Alerts in a timely fashion; or in the event that the instructor does not have a cell phone, he/she will designate one student to keep a cell phone active to receive such alerts.

Commitment to Diversity
This class will be conducted as an intentionally inclusive community that celebrates diversity and welcomes the participation in the life of the university of faculty, staff and students who reflect the diversity of our plural society. All may feel free to speak and to be heard without fear that the content of the opinions they express will bias the evaluation of their academic performance or hinder their opportunities for participation in class activities. In turn, all are expected to be respectful of each other without regard to race, class, linguistic background, religion, political beliefs, gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, veteran’s status, or physical ability.

Statement on Ethics in Teaching and Practicing Art and Design
As professionals responsible for the education of undergraduate and graduate art and design students, the faculty of the School of Art adheres to the ethical standards and practices incorporated in the professional Code of Ethics of our national accreditation organization, The National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

Open Studio Hours
School of Art teaching studios are open to students for extended periods of time mornings, evenings and weekends whenever classes are not in progress. Policies, procedures and schedules for studio use are established by the AVT studio faculty and are posted in the studios.

Students with Disabilities and Learning Differences
If you have a diagnosed disability or learning difference and you need academic accommodations, please inform me at the beginning of the semester and contact the Disabilities Resource Center (SUB I room 234, 703-993-2474).  You must provide me with a faculty contact sheet from that office outlining the accommodations needed for your disability or learning difference. All academic accommodations must be arranged in advance through the DRC.

Official Communications via GMU E-Mail
Mason uses electronic mail to provide official information to students. Examples include communications from course instructors, notices from the library, notices about academic standing, financial aid information, class materials, assignments, questions, and instructor feedback. Students are responsible for the content of university communication sent to their Mason e-mail account, and are required to activate that account and check it regularly.

Attendance Policies
Students are expected to attend the class periods of the courses for which they register. In-class participation is important not only to the individual student, but also to the class as a whole. Because class participation may be a factor in grading, instructors may use absence, tardiness, or early departure as de facto evidence of nonparticipation. Students who miss an exam with an acceptable excuse may be penalized according to the individual instructor's grading policy, as stated in the course syllabus.

Honor Code
Students in this class are bound by the Honor Code, as stated in the George Mason University Catalog. The honor code requires that the work you do as an individual be the product of your own individual synthesis or integration of ideas. (This does not prohibit collaborative work when it is approved by your instructor.) As a faculty member, I have an obligation to refer the names of students who may have violated the Honor Code to the Student Honor Council, which treats such cases very seriously.

No grade is important enough to justify cheating, for which there are serious consequences that will follow you for the rest of your life. If you feel unusual pressure about your grade in this or any other course, please talk to me or to a member of the GMU Counseling Center staff.

Using someone else’s words or ideas without giving them credit is plagiarism, a very serious Honor Code offense. It is very important to understand how to prevent committing plagiarism when using material from a source. If you wish to quote verbatim, you must use the exact words and punctuation just as the passage appears in the original and must use quotation marks and page numbers in your citation. If you want to paraphrase or summarize ideas from a source, you must put the ideas into your own words, and you must cite the source, using the APA or MLA format. (For assistance with documentation, I recommend Diana Hacker, A Writer’s Reference.) The exception to this rule is information termed general knowledge—information that is widely known and stated in a number of sources. Determining what is general knowledge can be complicated, so the wise course is, “When in doubt, cite.” 

Be especially careful when using the Internet for research. Not all Internet sources are equally reliable; some are just plain wrong. Also, since you can download text, it becomes very easy to inadvertently plagiarize. If you use an Internet source, you must cite the exact URL in your paper and include with it the last date that you successfully accessed the site.

A note on art and digital technologies:
Digital technologies are particularly suited to copy, sample, or appropriate, mash etc. previously created content. Many artists (visual, audio and literary) have used these techniques quite successfully in order to parody, celebrate or otherwise comment on cultural icons and what they represent. As a class, we will discuss techniques such as these and their relevance to copyright law and the university honor code, but as a rule students should always be up-front and honest with the class and professor as to what visual content has been sampled and how it has been manipulated or rearranged in any given project. Failure to do so will be considered a honor code violation.

Writing Center
Students who are in need of intensive help with grammar, structure or mechanics in their writing should make use of the services of  Writing Center, located in Robinson A116 (703-993-1200). The services of the Writing Center are available by appointment, online and, occasionally, on a walk-in basis.