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  1. 1. MSc IT (Multimedia Technology) Information Pack Information Pack 1.Overview The MSc/PG Dip Information Technology (Multimedia Technology) programme of study has now been running successfully for over 6 years. It has been designed to supply the growing need for Multimedia Technologists and Developers, individuals who • are familiar with the technology needed to develop and deliver interactive media, • can design effective and engaging multimedia interfaces, • can author and program multimedia applications in a structured and efficient manner. Graduates from the MSc/PG Dip Information Technology (Multimedia Technology) gain employment as • multimedia producers, directors or project managers • multimedia authors • user interface designers • interaction engineers • web authors and also in a variety of positions in fields such as education, training, entertainment, marketing, where graduates can combine the skills learned in this programme with those from their previous careers. Graduates will work alongside other specialist professionals (graphic artists, graphics designers, animators, sound designers, video producers and software engineers) to develop multimedia applications. 2.Syllabus All Information Technology MSc students receive a solid grounding in Information Technology applications and systems, and in software engineering. Students on the Multimedia Technology stream specialise in multimedia technology, multimedia applications, distributed systems and object orientated methods. Students cover computer hardware, media formats, media integration, multimedia networks, multimedia design methods, human-computer interaction, multimedia authoring and Java programming. Page 1 © 2000 Napier University
  2. 2. MSc IT (Multimedia Technology) Information Pack Students gain hands-on experience in developing both stand-alone and networked multimedia applications, using industry standard tools. The taught part of the programme is intended to provide the student with • a thorough grounding in the hardware and software needed to develop and deliver multimedia • associated production and design methodologies. 2.1Technical and Creative Skills One aspect of this is the use of authoring tools. Students on the programme currently learn Director, Dreamweaver, Flash, Fireworks, (optionally) Authorware and JBuilder. Students largely learn by following the vendor's accredited curriculum guide, with tutorial support. The department also has image, audio, and editing tools , such as Photoshop, SoundForge and Premiere, which the students can use to develop media assets for multimedia applications they are developing. Although demonstrations of these tools will be provided it should be noted that training in them will not. These are the province of specialist fields in their own right such as graphic design for multimedia, and this aspect of creativity is not taught in this programme Rather the emphasis on this programme is on being creative with technology to solve problems and to meet the user's needs. Using high level authoring tools, such as Authorware and Director, students integrate media elements into multimedia applications and add control and interactivity, bringing these applications "to life". Students learn Director in Semester 1, using the vendor's authorised training programme. In Semester 2, Authorware, Flash, Fireworks and Dreamweaver are taught in the same way. Assessment for this part of the programme is mainly in the form of course-works, such as interactive CD-ROMs and online CVs. Students can explore these tools in more depth through group and individual projects in Semester 2. A student-centred approach to learning is encouraged - students learn advanced techniques through problem-solving with assistance from tutors. This is supplemented with master-classes in programming techniques from industrial contributors. Students are introduced to Java programming in Semester 1, along with Object Oriented Software Technology (OOST). Multimedia Technologists do not become authorities in these fields, but are expected to apply the principles in their own work, and to understand the disciplines and negotiate joint projects with specialist OO designers and programmers - either as customers, or project partners. Page 2 © 2000 Napier University
  3. 3. MSc IT (Multimedia Technology) Information Pack 3.Programme Philosophy 3.1Maintaining Technical Skillsets Multimedia tools have and continue to develop at an alarming pace. Each year, radically different and partly incompatible versions of each tool are released. Often new features and fixes introduce new problems. Multimedia professionals must decide when to migrate projects to new versions and have to take responsibility for their own professional development. The combination of basic training in specific authoring tools, followed by a "guided discovery" approach to the use of advanced features, assists graduates from this programme to keep up to date with new versions. Learning to use tools is however only one aspect of the programme. 3.2An Education in Interactive Systems Design The programme is aimed at producing professional who can design interactive media applications which engage the user and make appropriate use of technology. Graduates from this programme are equipped with the project management, presentation and design skills needed to drive an application through all stages of its lifecycle from initial specification to delivery. Attention is focused on the underlying technologies needed to develop and deliver multimedia. Hardware systems for both stand-alone and networked multimedia are studied in detail, and likely future developed analysed in the context of emerging international standards. The multimedia project lifecycle and associated documentation are explored in depth. New media production requires a combination of the skills of the software engineer and those from the creative industries. Students analyse which techniques are appropriate under which circumstances. Interface design for interactive systems is examined, starting from analysing recent theories of product design and human-computer interface, through to designing systems that meet the user's needs, within the contexts in which they use a system 3.3MSc dissertation The Masters project forms the final third of the programme. It provides the opportunity to explore an area of particular interest in depth. The students will be required to demonstrate that they have accessed the most recent research in their chosen area, and reflected upon it critically in the course of their project. Page 3 © 2000 Napier University
  4. 4. MSc IT (Multimedia Technology) Information Pack 3.4Alternative programmes of study For those already familiar with the underlying theory but who would like simply to learn how to use specific multimedia tools, should consider the short course programme offered by the Continual Personal and Professional Development department. Contact the short courses administrator on 0131 455 6801. It would be fair to say that this programme is for those who are imaginative and unconventional in their approaches to the use of technology, rather than low-level software engineers, or data administrators. Other MSc programmes within the School of Computing share a minority of content with this programme, and may be more relative to your needs. Multimedia Technology is unique in attracting a majority of students whose first degree (Hons) is BA, rather than BSc or BEng. The MSc Interactive Technologies for e-Commerce is more relevant for those who wish to look at the business applications of multimedia technology. The focus is on business transformation and advanced database profiling to create new businesses based upon interactive media. The MSc e-Business Systems and Consultancy takes this one step further, and is most use to those who want to support businesses identify the opportunities to use new technology. If you want to gain web authoring skills, but also to pursue a more technical MSc, based more on software development, the MSc in Software Technology and the MSc in IT (Software Engineering) would be more suitable. The MSc in Information Systems and the MSc IT & Financial Services are both more relevant for those who intend to meet existing demand to manage data and processes within large blue-chip organisations, such as banks and building societies. Napier University has one of the biggest provisions of Computer and IT programmes, and a full list is available at http://www.napier.ac.uk/studying/courses.asp? ClassificationID=14 . 3.5Multimedia - a moving target Seven years ago, interactive software with video and audio required specialist equipment. Now it is commonplace in every desktop or home computer, and the other MSc programmes represent an opportunity to use this power within the context of existing systems. This programme continues to focus on future technology "bleeding-edge technology", with all the joy and terror that this entails. Graduates from this programme usually agree that it is a very intensive, demanding, but ultimately rewarding experience. 1998 graduate: "I'm now fully immersed in the world of multimedia, and it is everything you described in your opening lecture - short deadlines, late night pizzas and lousy clients. But it keeps me out of trouble." Page 4 © 2000 Napier University
  5. 5. MSc IT (Multimedia Technology) Information Pack 1999 graduate: "This course…it strips away your life! You don’t see friends, you don’t talk to people!! When you do talk to people, all you can talk about is 'bloody multimedia'!!! But it's worth it." 4.Teaching Methods A variety of teaching methods are used on the programme, including • lectures • tutorials and lab-sessions • independent study • project work Students take an increasing responsibility for their own learning as the programme progresses. The programme has an emphasis on meeting "real world challenges" - several of the teaching staff have industrial experience, and between them have worked on several million pounds worth of multimedia projects. Students are required to document and present their multimedia projects, and to manage their time, in a fully professional way. These are skills that employers value as highly as technical and creative skills. There is an average 3 hours of "class contact" per week module, typically 2 hours lecture and 1 hour tutorial. Students will be expected to prepare for the tutorial through doing assigned reading and working through assigned exercises. Each module assumes a total commitment of ten hours per week per module - so a full- time student might expect to spend forty hours per week on their studies, a part-time student, twenty. Note that where students can carry out multimedia projects for their employers that also meet the requirements of a coursework, this can be acceptable as a submission for assessment. Much of this time is spent developing multimedia programs - either as directed study or independently. An important aspect of this however is project management, and it is not normally possible to obtain an extension for coursework. With a full timetable, this simply leads to more problems. Students who have good cause for late submission - illness, personal or financial problems will get support to resolve these problems, and the programme leader will agree with them a revised structure for their studies. Teaching normally takes place over 13 weeks followed by 2 weeks for revision and exams. One week in the first 13 is normally a Reading Week, and there are no classes. There are also winter and spring vacations of two or three weeks in the middle of each semester. It is also planned increasingly to deliver elements of the programme in a flexible learning mode thereby reducing the need for attendance at time-tabled classes. Page 5 © 2000 Napier University
  6. 6. MSc IT (Multimedia Technology) Information Pack 5.Reading Students are required to buy at least the following books, but other lecturers will make clear their requirements in the first week. Note that the Macromedia books are updated frequently, so if a later version is available, purchase that. 5.1Semester 1 • Macromedia: Director 7 and Lingo Authorised (Macromedia Press/Addison Wesley) • Vaughan, T. (1998) Multimedia: Making it Work 4 edn. Osborne McGrawhill 5.2Semester 2 • Macromedia: Authorware 5 Authorised (Macromedia Press/Addison Wesley) • Towers, J Tarin (1999) Dreamweaver 3 for Windows and Macintosh (Macromedia Press) You may also find it helpful to do preparatory reading from the following books: • Tannenbaum, R.S. (1998) Theoretical Foundations of Multimedia Freeman The following book is easy to read and provides an excellent introduction to interactive system design • Norman, D. ( 1988). The Psychology of Everyday Things. Basic Books Page 6 © 2000 Napier University
  7. 7. MSc IT (Multimedia Technology) Information Pack 6.Programme Structure Programme Structure for M.Sc. / Pg. Dip Information Technology (Multimedia Technology) . This may be subject to revision before the programme starts Foundation Studies Up to 1 week Semester 1 15 weeks Subject Contact Hours Assessment Multimedia Technology 2 hours lecture + 1 hours tutorial Coursework/Exam Multimedia Development Methods 2 hours lecture + 1 hours tutorial Coursework Software Development (Java) 1 hours lecture + 2 hours tutorial Coursework Object Oriented Software Technology 1 1 hours lecture + 2 hours tutorial Coursework/Exam Inter-Semester Week 1 week Semester 2 15 weeks Subject Contact Hours Assessment Internet Multimedia 2 hours lecture + 1 hour tutorial Coursework Multimedia System Design 2 hours lecture + 1 hour tutorial Coursework/Exam IT Mgt & Applications 2 hours lecture + 1 hour tutorial Coursework Research Skills variable1 Group project Masters Project 15+ weeks 6.1Part-time Study It is also possible to study the programme on a part-time basis. This generally requires two half-days attendance over two years to complete the taught element . A further six months to a year is normally required to complete the MSc project. The structure of the programme is as follows (each semester lasts 15 weeks): Year 1 Semester 1 Multimedia Technology 1 Multimedia System Development Year 1 Semester 2 Internet Multimedia IT Management & Applications Year 2 Semester 1 Object Orientated Software Tech Software Development (Java) Year 2 Semester 2 Interactive System Design Research Skills 1 Contact will include classes on research skills, multimedia masterclasses, presentations and individual group meetings. A schedule will be drawn up and issued to students prior to this module starting. Some classes may take place during the inter-semester week. Page 7 © 2000 Napier University
  8. 8. MSc IT (Multimedia Technology) Information Pack 7.Funding This programme normally attracts non-quota funding from the SAAS (Students Awards Agency Scotland). This covers fees and maintenance for eligible students. This generally requires that you are normally resident in Scotland (for at least the last three years) and have not previously received funding at post-graduate level, but for definitive information, enquiries should be directed to: Student Awards Agency For Scotland, Awards Branch, Gyleview House, 3 Redheughs Rigg, South Gyle, Edinburgh EH12 9HH, Students ordinarily resident elsewhere in the United Kingdom should obtain information concerning grants from the Local Education Authority in whose area they normally reside. Students ordinarily resident within EU member countries may be eligible for a `Fees Only' Award from the SAAS. Enquiries concerning eligibility should be directed to the address given above. Applicants not eligible for SAAS funding can apply for Career Development Loans. The proposed fee-structure for session 2000-2001 is as follows: MSc/PgDip Full-time - £2,742 (UK or EU-based), £8,200 for students from non-EU countries Part-time £228 per 15 credit module (8 modules required for PgDiploma, 12 for MSc). Non-EU students will pay pro rata. Page 8 © 2000 Napier University
  9. 9. MSc IT (Multimedia Technology) Information Pack 8. Start Dates Induction Programme Wednesday th February 2001. Semester 1 starts Monday 12th February 2001 finishes 8th June Semester 2 starts 2001Monday 1st October 2001 finishes 1st February 2002 There are normally no classes in week 9 (Reading Week) of each semester, and in the inter-semester week (week commencing 4/2/02) 8.1University Holidays On the dates below, there are no classes, and in some cases access to university facilities may be limited. Note that English bank holidays do not necessarily apply in Scotland. All dates are inclusive. 19th - 20th October 2000 (Mid-term break) 16th December 2000 - 7th January 2001 (Christmas Vacation) 7th April - 22nd April 2001 (Easter Vacation) 21st - 22nd May 2001 (Mid-term break) Page 9 © 2000 Napier University
  10. 10. MSc IT (Multimedia Technology) Information Pack 9.Admissions Contact the admissions tutor for the School of Computing, Dr Jose Munoz (0131) 455 4661 for more information on entrance requirements. Generally candidates require: 1.A recognised honours degree or graduate equivalent professional qualification, or 2.A lower level qualification together with appropriate experience to make it equivalent to an honours degree, or 3.Qualifications, with experience as appropriate, equivalent to the above. These will be considered on an individual basis. Previous computing experience is not required, but useful. Please note that this is a conversion programme and as such not suited to graduates from Multimedia, or recent IT, undergraduate programmes. This is a very popular programme and early application is encouraged. Application forms can be obtained from: The Information Office, Napier University, Freepost, Edinburgh EH14 OPA. Telephone: ++ 44 (0)131 455 4330, or by ringing our prospectus hotline on 0500 35 35 70 10.Further Information For an more information about this and other Computing/IT/Multimedia programmes, a postgraduate prospectus or an application form contact: Katy Thierens Programmes Office, School of Computing Napier University 219 Colinton Road Edinburgh EH14 1DJ Tel: 0131-455-4547 Contact Dr Jose Munoz 455 4661 for admissions advice Contact Ian Smith 455 4449 for information about the subjects taught. Page 10 © 2000 Napier University