Media Informatics FAQ (engl)


On this page you'll find some general information (in english!) for master students of Media Informatics about their courses at "Hochschule der Bildenden Künste Saar" (HBKsaar or HBK in short), which is called in english "Academy of Fine Arts Saar".

  • Overview of the most important buildings
  • Registration form for all courses/projects
  • More information about media informatics in general (contact persons at your examination office and course documents): www.ps-ntf.uni-saarland.de/index.php
  • If you require a HBK email account (required to participate in Google Classrooms, which are used in several courses and projects) please fill this form.
  • We run a forum (a Google Classroom) for all students of media informatics as a blackboard, discussion forum and for announcements. Please login with your HBK Google Account and login at https://classroom.google.com searching for course code oj6s434.

 

What courses and projects at HBK are suitable for me? 

  • For the module Project Media Art & Design (8 CPs with grade) you can select theoretically all projects that are called „Atelierprojekt“ with 16 CPs and open for "Medieninformatik" (NOT „Atelierprojekt klein/Workshop“ !), which count as 8 CP projects for you! check the so called Vorlesungsverzeichnis. Don't confuse this with "Medienprojekt", which is only for Bachelor students! Sometimes the same topics are offered as Medienprojekt and Project Media Art & Design. 
  • For MAD-Wahlpflichtbereich / Mandatory Elective (8 CP w/o grade): You can take any course/project except „computer basics“ and "Grundlagen Media, Art & Design / MAD Basis". You can either take one 8 CP course/project or also several courses with less CPs, as long as the total amount of these courses is 8 CPs. You will see "Medieninformatik" tag in each course that is suitable for students of Medieninformatik (obviously). 
  • Please note that the HBK university calendar with all courses and projects if published quite late and many courses will only be online towards the beginning of the semester. So you need to check back in the beginning of October/April.
     

How do I register for courses and projects at HBK?

  • Students need to register all courses here - this is required such that your certificates can be transferred to Saarland University later on. You can still do this during the semester, it is just important that you have done it towards the end of the semester. The teachers will not see your registrations with this form, it is only for the transmission of your credits to UdS!
  • Each course/project will require you to register once more with the teacher! This is for the course/project organization, and every teacher has a different approach to do this. Some have Google forms as above, some ask you to send an email, others require you to physically sign on a list hanging at the ground floor in the main building. Check the course/project description! This is the registration procedure that determines whether you are able to attend this particular course or project! Because many courses have limited amount of free slots. 
  • Each registered course that is confirmed by the teacher at the end of the semester will be sent to the examination office at university, such that you don't need to collect a physical "Schein"/certificate at HBK. Only then you will be able to see your credit points/courses in the LSF system.
  • You do not necessarily need a HBK account. During projects, you might get a HBK-google account to be able to participate in the google classroom used for communication with the students. The teacher will organize that for you.

 

I don't speak german well and I want to take a course at HBK, which one can I take? 

 

  • Basically all courses are taught in german, but for some subjects minimal or no knowledge of german is alright, e.g. for software courses. So, for all courses you should contact the teacher/professor beforehand to find out whether it makes sense for your individual case and your specific german knowledge to take the course.
  • The following teachers are generally willing to do courses in english or bilingual:
    • Mert Akbal: All software courses, such as "Blender Multiverse" or "Art of Blending“, basically free software tools, also sometimes Unity3D
    • Soenke Zehle: All theory courses (the student group will be asked, whether it’s ok that everything will be discussed in english)
    • Stefan Zintel (Teaches sound processing): Basics in Sound Design and PureData
    • Jan Tretschok (Responsible for Film): Any courses related to postproduction (i.e. film editing)
    • Janosch Obenauer (3D/2D Animation and Modelling): e.g. Visual Effects Basics
      (list is not complete and will be complemented over time)
  • You are also invited to join the HBK-Erasmus Facebook group, where exchange students from other countries meet and organize (e.g. city tours at the beginning of a semester)

 

How about projects, which one can I take if I don't speak german well?

 

  • All projects are actually also in german, but since it is not a lecture type but "discussions" between teacher and students, it is normally not a problem to participate with only limited german language skills, since you can present your results in english and get feedback in english as well. The main drawback is that you will not be able to understand the discussions with other students. Sometimes your project mates can translate most important aspects after the meetings to you.

How do I get a grade for my project?

  • Normally projects are not graded at HBK. But since you require a graded project to fulfill your requirements towards your master, you need to inform your teacher (as soon as possible) that you would like to get a grade at the end of the project. Most teachers already know that by now, but not all!
  • The grading scheme, a general guideline at HBK when software development is involved (not obligatory for teachers), looks like below.
  • Most of the time all teachers of a project will be involved in giving the grades and when students are working in groups, the whole group will get the same grade.

 

Idea and conception (25%)
The development of a concept starting from initial ideas is an elementary component of a project at the HBK and takes place primarily in the first weeks of the semester. Through the development of prototypes and the insights gained from them, a concept can be in flux throughout the course of the project. Extensive research is necessary to develop initial approaches. What similar projects exist? Are there exciting approaches from other fields (algorithms, image processing, computer graphics....) that can be transferred or integrated here?

What is the concept for interaction, for the design of the space/world? What is the essence of the idea, is it clearly worked out? Is it clear why it should be attractive / aesthetic / touching etc. for a user / visitor? How well was the context of the project/task integrated? How well was feedback from the conversations (both general and specific to the group) incorporated?

By presenting a new idea that may require complex implementation, you are not making a promise that you will make it happen (in this form), but rather showing directions and possibilities that can in turn provide inspiration for the entire group. Reducing the technical complexity of planning the implementation will come in a later step.

Implementation phase (35%)

Ideally, the implementation phase should be an iterative process: develop, test, learn, reflect, and adapt. How well did you get into the learning process? Were you able to define a so-called Minimum Viable Product, test it and improve your concept from there? Were you able to improve it through prototyping and conversations/feedback sessions with supervisors? The pro-active approach to get into the learning phase and iteration as quickly as possible is in the foreground in this phase and is usually discussed weekly.

Result / Prototype (25%)

At the end of the project period a working system should be implemented, which must be executable under demonstration conditions and is considered under 3 aspects:
1. UX / user experience: is the interaction with the system interesting / entertaining / challenging / exciting / inspiring and/or emotional etc. from the user's point of view?
2. technology: does the system function robustly? Are there any outstanding issues?
3. design: was a visual concept for the world/space coherently implemented? At what level were graphic elements, animations, the UI, sound implemented?

Documentation & Presentation (15%)

The written documentation should give a brief overview of both the technical part and the process. This means that also interesting results of the research and e.g. discarded but exciting ideas should be recorded. The documentation should also be a guide to the use and installation of the software and possibly a starting point for further development of the software by other students/staff. Alternatively to this kind of project report, a scientific paper (usually in English) can be written and submitted to a symposium. A publication from a project context at the HBK would be an excellent outcome, as would (serious) participation in festivals and other competitions to increase the value of the project.

Apart from the more technical description, the visual presentation of the results is important for the university. Therefore, all project submissions must be accompanied by meaningful images with a descriptive short text for the website and a 1-2 minute video. Images and videos should ideally be produced with fellow HBK students who will use this material to build their portfolio, for example. Examples of videos: 

Media Facade (Spider, Friedrich v.S.): https://vimeo.com/37176398
Storytelling 3.0 - Concept in Detail (Diploma Dorothee), https://vimeo.com/99150750

There are different forms of presentation depending on the project context. At the end of January/beginning of February, the HBK holds its annual exhibition, where all projects of the year are presented. Usually, exhibition rooms are organized for the projects of the winter semester, in which the results are shown for a weekend. If such a tour presentation becomes part of the project, the focus of the grading is on the engagement in the preparation and supervision of the installation/performance.