I frequently get asked (in email) about the program, so here is an attempt to write some of it down, I may even revise this:
DMA is really an exploration of Art & Technology which treats technology as a medium like painting. When one understands the way a viewer will engage the work, certain things can be done to take advantage of that. Aesthetics, meaning, and function inherit aspects from the materials and media.
DMA focuses on Fine Arts. That is to say we support the student’s vision as to what they want to accomplish, we shall make sure students get the basics of Image Manipulation, HTML and Website Creation, Coding and Interactive Media (Flash), and Digital Video. The direction that a student chooses to go is up to them. All of these areas can be expanded upon, and focused on if that is what is desired. We also deal with physical computing, sensors, virtual spaces and gaming among other things. If you are interested in something that is not on this list, bring it up and make it part of the curriculum. In the past we have included just about every field of study imaginable in some form or another. The major form has a huge amount of freedom to follow and hone ones interests.
As an incoming or transfer student, if you have not taken the equivalent of Art74 (Intro to Digital Media Art) I highly recommend it, it will give you a sense of what and how we teach. This class pairs nicely with Art 101 or Art 75 both of which are required for the major. If you take two of these classes you will know us much better, and will be able to make the decision as to whether this is the right major for you.
We do not teach software well. That is not to say that you cannot become competent with dreamweaver, photoshop or flash by taking classes with us, but frankly software is secondary to what we are trying to do. We want you to think with, explore and even break the tools that we are using in class. Art is about the ideas and meaning that exist behind the representation. We want you to work on embedding your ideas into your work, we want you to be able to talk (and write) about your work and to be able to critically assess the work of others. We are creating networks here, and so we want you to become part of the community and engage the clubs, local art venues and especially http://www.zero1.org/
That said we want you to join CADRE. CADRE is Computers in Art, Design, Research and Education. http://cadre.sjsu.edu/about/ This is the community, and will constantly bubble with projects both in class and out of class that you can participate in. You join by getting onto the n-list and participating in projects.
The DMA program is specifically what you make of it, it is possible to coast through the program (maintaining a 3.0 average) and graduate with no idea what you are going to do. Our best students become leaders in the program and finish with amazing projects that end up opening doors for them in their career or academic paths.
As advice to someone who is just transferring in, you should be looking at where you want to be when you finish. If you identify skills that are particular to a field you want to be in, then you should be acquiring and practicing those skills.