Fall 2019
Robert Ransick [rransick at]
Prerequisites: None.
Credits: 4
Time: Thursday, 8:30AM – 12:10PM

Course Description:
This course is an introduction to creative practices with digital technologies specifically focused on creating online fine art projects. A broad survey of web-based digital arts is examined in tandem with an overview of tools necessary to create your own work. These include HTML, CSS, Photoshop (for prepping images for the web), content management systems, and a basic introduction to JavaScript. Students apply knowledge and skills to web-based creative projects throughout the term. There are lectures, reading assignments, studio projects, and critiques during the course designed to aid the student in developing visual literacy and critical thinking skills in relation to the digital arts.

Active student participation throughout all aspects of this course will make your experience much more meaningful and is necessary for the successful completion of the assigned work. There are reading/research assignments, weekly discussions, student presentations, critiques and the production of work during this course. Students are expected to be present for all class meetings. Please email me if you must miss a class. Chronic lateness and/or more than 2 absences will seriously jeopardize your standing in this course.

-Above all, members of Web as Artistic Platform will be committed to maintaining a respectful, constructive, and collaborative environment for all.
-All members will contribute to the fullest extent of their talents, and challenge themselves beyond their boundaries. Complacency or free riding have no place here.
-Members will freely share their knowledge with their peers.
-Members will work to resolve conflicts fairly and maturely, and work to de-escalate tension during challenging times.
-Cliché, but: we will work extremely hard, and also have a lot of fun.

Students will be evaluated based on the following:
-Participation / attitude
-Creative / conceptual / technical work and individual progress over the entire course
-Overall contribution to the course

I would like you to commit to the following this semester:
That you will be respectful of both your peers and my time and efforts with your own: that you will work your hardest, be self-motivated, learn through trial and failure and share what you learn and/or know freely with all.

Midterm Project:
The first portion of the term will be focused on learning the skills necessary to build a personal website for each student to house their ongoing creative work and more. We will look at principles of web design, information architecture, image optimization and best practice strategies.

Final Project:
Building on class readings and skills acquired students create a web-based artistic project of their own design. The instructor must approve projects and all work is to be located on individual websites. Please note that the final is to be an artistic project — designing your friends website etc. will not be acceptable.

>> Late work is not accepted!<<

All students are expected to contribute in class on a regular basis. Each student is also expected to create and maintain a personal website for this class. All research, documentation, and creative work should be posted on your site for peer review. Individual websites should be updated regularly and include all of your work for this course. In-class presentation materials should be located on your website.

Student Presentations:
Each student will be assigned an artist or collective to make a brief (10-15 minute) presentation on. Presentation materials — text, image, links etc. — are to take the form of a web page.

Join the Rhizome community.

Office hours/help:
I am available for technical help or to discuss individual projects via office hours and email. If you would like to schedule a time to meet please send me an email. Do not leave voice mail! I check email frequently and will usually respond within a few hours.

Office hours: Tuesday 2pm – 4pm.

Anna Kroll is the Digital Arts Technician and has regular help hours for Web as Artistic Platform each week: Monday from 1:00pm – 3:00pm and Tuesday from 10:00am – noon. She is also available other times via appointment (email her to set a time up.) For more information, please visit the POD website.

There are no required books for this course.

Understanding a broad set of web-based design principles and basic HTML/CSS coding that will enable each student to create and maintain their own websites and web-based creative projects. Develop technical problem solving capacity. Building a creative community/studio of generosity and support.

Statement Regarding Classroom Inclusivity:
Bennington College is committed to fostering the intellectual growth of all students, and to creating a learning environment where human cultural diversity is valued and respected. To that end, in this course all students can expect a respectful, welcoming and inclusive environment. I hope that all students in this course will openly share their unique perspectives and, just as importantly, respect the perspectives, comments, and contributions made by every other student and guest that participates in this course during the term. If you feel that at any time that this goal is not being met, please don’t hesitate to see me, or speak with a college administrator (e.g., from The Office of Diversity & Inclusion, Student Life, or Academic Services) to share your concern.

Statement Regarding Academic Accommodations:
Bennington College provides reasonable accommodations to students with documented disabilities when such accommodations are requested and necessary to ensure equal access to College programs and facilities. If you believe you are entitled to an accommodation speak with Katy Evans, the Academic Services and Accommodations Advisor, about any disability-related needs. If approved, you will receive a memo detailing your specific accommodations; it is your responsibility to provide me with the memo and discuss the implementation of accommodations. Note that I will not be aware of your needs if you do not share this memo with me. Accommodations are not retroactive, so the sooner we meet to discuss your needs, the better. Also, students experiencing mental and/or physical health challenges that are significantly impacting their academic work are encouraged to speak with their faculty advisor and member of Academic Services ( or 440-4400) about the impact and to connect with resources through health and psychological services (440-4426 or 440-4451).

Statement on Basic Needs:
At Bennington College, we understand that basic needs (food, housing, and wellness) have a direct impact on academic performance, mental-emotional-physical health, professional development, and holistic success of our students. If you have a personal circumstance or need that will affect your learning or performance in this course, please let me or your faculty advisor know so that we can direct you to available resources to help support you during the term.

Academic and Artistic Ethics Policy
Bennington’s policy can be found here.

This schedule is a guide and will change over the course of the term, check back often.


Session 1: September 4
Introduction to the course.
What is digital art? What is internet art?
Intro to HTML and BBEdit.

Session 2: September 11
Discuss readings and work.
Bennington server space/accounts.

Handout: Rachel Greene, Web Work, A History of Internet Art, Art Forum

How the Internet Works (All 8 videos, approx. 46 minutes. Take notes.)

Create biographical text-based web page in HTML inspired by Heath Bunting’s _readme.html. Write a paragraph or two as a personal biography. This can be a work of fact or fiction, but at least 25% of the text should be a link to a relevant or ironic site (do not just link to the word in the text dot com, as Heath did.)

W3 Schools HTML5 Tutorials:
Complete the following sections and exercises
-HTML Introduction to HTML Colors

Session 3: September 18
Discuss readings and work.
Photoshop, site design and architecture.

Handout: from Art And The Internet. Page 12-33.

Student presentations:
Ara Aman: Natalie Bookchin
Caroline Kaufman: Olia Lialina

Write one-page html document in response to the Internet Art reading using BBedit and an external style sheet. Discuss at least 2 artists and their work from the reading. Be sure to include links and experiment with font, color etc.

W3 Schools CSS Tutorials:
Complete the following sections and exercises
-CCS Intro to CSS Fonts

W3 Schools HTML5 Tutorials:
Complete the following sections and exercises
-HTML Blocks to HTML Head

Session 4: September 25
Discuss readings and work.
Review work to date. CSS Layout.
Image optimization with Photoshop.
Work on layout proposal.
(Don’t forget about resource links regarding color, type, layout etc. here.)

Chapter 7, Page Design from Web Style Guide.

Student presentations:
Nora Hany: Vuk Cosic
Honor Levy:

W3 Schools CSS Tutorials:
Complete the following sections and exercises
-CCS Icons to CSS Align

W3 Schools HTML5 Tutorials:
Complete the following sections and exercises
-HTML Layout to HTML Responsive

Re-create the one page reading (Art And The Internet)response from last week using elements discussed in this weeks tutorials (responsive pages etc.) Do not use javascript.

Session 5: October 2
Scanning. Work on layout proposal.
Individual meetings with Robert.

Chapter 4, Interface Design from Web Style Guide.

Site map/outline for student pages. Draft design/layout (in Photoshop) of you home page and digital arts page (minimum–more is better) for meeting with Robert. There will be a demo on outputting Photoshop files to jpegs in class. If you know how to do this, upload your jpegs to your web server.

Session 6: October 9
Work on sites in class.

Student presentations:
Jessie Smith: Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries

Present revised site map/outline and design to the class for input. Assets for site should be ready (photographs, writing etc.)

Session 7: October 16
Review work to date.
Work on sites in class.

Student presentations:
Katy Friesen: Rafaël Rozendaal
Niki Karanikola: MTAA
Yvette Berner: Minerva Cuevas
Suman Sigdel: Mendi + Keith Obadik
Parker Lawrence: Petra Cortright

Personal sites should be near completion (HTML + CSS).

Session 8: October 23
Midterm critique

Student sites are to be complete, on student server (your website) and working.

Session 9: October 30
-Introduction to WordPress.
-Final projects

Student presentation:
Stacy Nguyen: Brooke Singer
Iñigo Auza de la Mora: Darius Kazemi

The following sections about WordPress:
WordPress Features
Using Themes

PLAN DAY, NO CLASS: November 6

Session 10: November 13
Individual meetings with Robert and Anna(final project ideas).

Student presentation:
Sydnie Hyams: Jonathan Harris

-First draft of ideas for final project. You should have a page on your website that contains a paragraph description of your idea along with sketches/images and a site outline/map. Individual discussions with Robert and Anna.
-Udacity: Lessons 1 (Create a free account, can use Bennington Google email)
W3 School: JQuery Effects through Dimensions
W3 Exercises: Selectors through Dimensions

Session 11: November 20
-Final ideas presentation

– Presentation of ideas for final project to the class. Description of the project along with sketches, site map etc. should be located on your website.
-Udacity: Lessons 2
-Create a simple page using JQuery effects

-Examples of code by Anna Kroll: here.
– Create a simple page that uses the jQuery effects.

November 27- December 1 | Thanksgiving Break: NO CLASS

Session 12: December 4
Final projects should be near completion (html/css, etc) and functioning.
Working session to resolve technical challenges etc.

Session 13: December 11
Final projects discussion and critique.

Last class. Final projects due. (All work from the term must be complete and located on student web pages by the start of class.)