Course Syllabus

Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Science Boston

MPSM355: Art and Science Immersive Media

Spring 2013

Wednesdays, 3 – 8 pm.

Location: N181 and/or at the Museum of Science’s Hayden Planetarium

Instructor: Nita Sturiale
Email: nsturiale at massart dot edu
Office hours: by apt.

Please check the course blog frequently
The syllabus, schedule updates, contact information, assignment details are all linked from this page.

Course Description

This course will explore topics of scientific inquiry and produce a live event to be performed in an immersive dome-based video projection environment (Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Science in Boston). The design of the live event will emerge from a study of science topics. Students will have the choice to focus their activities around several different facets of the live event (sound, light, movement, public relations, conceptual development, project management). The class will share readings, discussions and examples of the interrelationships of art and science as well as immersive media. Students specifically interested in dome video projection and surround sound development need to come to class already skilled in basic video and audio editing.

Course Objectives

Students are challenged to ask questions about, observe, and study the natural world and scientific research. Students are also exploring how they can respond, extend and inform scientific inquiry through their artistic work. Students are expected to learn to how to research science interests, how to collaborate with other artists, engineers and scientists, and how to be creative alongside the rigor of scientific research.

Course Requirements

  • Be present in mind and mouth – participate in class discussion and critique sessions,
  • Participate in group exercises when applicable,
  • Read the assigned readings and be prepared to discuss them in class.
  • Complete all assignments (see below) by the due date – if you can’t make the due date, discuss an extension with Nita.  End of the semester grades of INC are not automatic just because you haven’t finished your work – you may request one with good reasons and with two weeks notice before the last class.
  • Attendance – More than two absences, or chronic lateness, may result in a NC grade.


  1. – Weekly blog entries.
  2. Write poem inspired by natural phenomenon – DUE FEB 6
  3. Each working group creates a mood board of their concept – DUE FEB 13
  4. Each working group creates a story board of live event + dome video idea – DUE FEB 20
  5. Each working group creates an animatic rough that will be projected on the dome  – DUE FEB 27
  6. Each working group writes a description of their groups idea with at least one corresponding image (for PR materials) – DUE Mar 6.
  7. Mid-term Self-Evaluation – DUE MAR 6
  8. READ “A Pair of Connected Galaxies” by Donald Burgy  – we will discuss with the artist on MAR 20
  9. Choose and read one section from and write reading response – DUE APR 3
  10. Take on a specific role in creation and production of the final event and fulfill your duties connected to this role. In addition to the production groups, we will also identify a stage manager and a publicist team for the live event.
  11. Final Self-Evaluation – DUE MAY 8

Weekly Schedule (subject to change)

Jan 23/

Jan 30/

  • VISIT: Research Skills and Strategies workshop in the library with Greg Wallace.
  • GUEST: Lina Maria Giraldo visits – project management game plan.
  • DECIDE: on research and content directions and groupings.
  • READ: The Tree That Time Built: A Celebration of Nature, Science and Imagination, selected by Mary Ann Hoberman
  • [add/drop deadline]

Feb 6/

  • VISIT: MOS Planetarium for first look and brainstorming session. Must be at MOS by 3:15! Leave MassArt campus 2:45.
  • Read your poems aloud in the dome.

Feb 13/

Feb 20/

  • GUEST: Anna Lindeman visits –
  • DEMO: Bjork’s Biophilia iPad app
  • DUE: group storyboard presentations

Feb 27/

  • VISIT: MOS Planetarium for screening your animatic roughs on the dome!

Mar 6/

  • DISCUSS: the power of live performance.
  • GUEST: Jason Fletcher, Science Visualizer, Charles Hayden Planetarium, Museum of Science, Boston will come to class and be ready for questions and troubleshooting!
  • READ: “A Pair of Connected Galaxies” by Donald Burgy – we will discuss with the artist on MAR 20.
  • DUE: Mid Term Self Evaluation –
    email to nita dot sturiale at massart dot edu
  • DUE: group image and abstract
  • WORKSHOP: in teams during class time.

Mar 13/

  • NO CLASS: Spring Break
  • VISIT MOS Planetarium for work time related to Audio (Berred available until 4 pm this day at MOS, please set up an apt time with Lina)

Mar 20/

  • VISIT MOS Planetarium for work time  (Berred not available)
  • GUEST: Donald Burgy, conceptual artist, SIM Professor Emeritus, founder of Nature, Science and Art course at MassArt.
  • DISCUSS: “A Pair of Connected Galaxies” by Donald Burgy.
  • RE-DUE: images and final abstract for PR materials.

Mar 27/

  • NO CLASS: Majors Advising Day – Teams should meet this day anyway! (Berred available at MOS for sound specific support, please set up an apt time with Lina)
  • PR team works on postcards, programs and pr materials (save the date email sent out.)

April 3/

  • WORKSHOP: in teams during class time.
  • DUE – Reading responses to readings
  • TIMELINE CHECKIN: meet with Nita and provide revised timeline for your group.

April 10/

  • WORKSHOP: in teams during class time.
  • DUE – Revised timeline

April 17/

  • WORKSHOP: in teams during class time.

April 24/

  • VISIT: MOS Planetarium for work time.
  • DUE: 90% of final video, sound and pre-production plan.

May 1/

  • WORKSHOP: in teams during class time.
  • CRITIQUE: Screening of final videos/presentations and critique.
  • MOS PR deadline.

May 8/

  • VISIT: MOS Planetarium for final test run of show.
  • DUE – Final Self Evaluation –
  • Friendly reminder – no course credit without both self-evaluations!

May 29/

  • Launch of Public Performance at the Museum of Science!


Course Grading

The information below was provided by the Academic Vice President’s Office to be attached to all MassArt syllabi.

Two grading systems are used at the college; choose the one appropriate for your course.

Letter grades (A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, D, F, Incomplete) are given in courses offered in:

Art Education
Fashion Design
Graphic Design
History of Art
Industrial Design
Liberal Arts
Master of Architecture
Master of Arts in Teaching/Art Education
Master of Science in Art Education

Pass/No Credit/Incomplete grades are given in courses offered in:

Studio Foundation courses
Fine Arts 2D
Fine Arts 3D
Studio for Interrelated Media
Master of Fine Arts
Grades are defined as follows:

  • A Exceptional work in all respects.
  • B Above average work, distinguished in certain but not all respects.
  • C Average. Individual departmental policies may set standards for the application of “C” grades toward progress in the major.
  • D Below average work. This is the lowest passing grade; individual departments may set standards for the application of “D” grades toward progress in the major.
  • F Failing work. No credit is given.
  • Pass Work meeting all expectations for successful completion of the course.
  • NC No Credit Work that does not meet the expectations of the course.
  • Inc. Incomplete. A temporary designation indicating that at least 80% of the course requirements have been met and that the remaining course requirements are expected to be completed, and a permanent designation issued by the subsequent mid-semester. The student is responsible for having an Individual Grade Sheet completed by the appropriate faculty member and filed with the Registrar. If the student does not complete the course work, a non-passing grade will be issued.

Department Academic Progress
A student who earns a no credit in a major requirement or two no credits in major electives over two semesters is placed on probation. A student on probation who earns a no credit in a major requirement is subject to dismissal from the department.

Course Attendance
The college-wide policy permits no more than two absences per semester for a course that meets once a week prorated for classes that meet on a different schedule.

Whenever your work incorporates someone else’s research, images, words, or ideas, you must properly identify the source unless you can reasonably expect knowledgeable people to recognize it. Proper citation gives credit where it is due and enables your readers to locate sources and pursue lines of inquiry raised by your paper. Students who do not comply will be penalized. For further information, see the MassArt Student Handbook or consult with the Academic Resource Center.

Classroom Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Massachusetts College of Art and Design is committed to fostering the academic, personal, and professional growth of our students. We are especially committed to ensuring that students with documented disabilities, as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), are provided equal access to all campus resources and opportunities. If you believe you have a disability that may warrant accommodations, I urge you to contact Ms. Erla Shehu ( or 617-879-7692) in the Academic Resource Center (formerly the Learning Center), Tower 550. The Academic Resource Center provides access to a learning specialist, an academic coach and professional tutors.

Additional Thoughts

Our goal is to learn things we don’t already know towards the long-term goal of being effective and articulate artists. The instructors’ responsibilities are to present information and provocations in a structured environment that will help your learning process. Your responsibility is to participate in this environment fully by voicing your interests, thoughts, and questions as well as listening to your classmates. Learning takes patience, tolerance, a sense of humor and a willingness to try new things without fear.

January 2013
N. Sturiale


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