Week 3 (July 12-16, 2021)

Non-fiction v. Fiction Writing: Focus on Space and Place

In this course, students will examine setting as the character, working with describing places as they are, places imagined realistically, and places imagined without these realistic boundaries. As a product of these examinations, they will write their own works, and they will expand one of the three subgenres into a more extensive writing sample.  

Instructional Foci: 

  • realist journalism, realistic fiction, and surrealistic fiction with a focus on space and place 
  • the physical descriptions of places -- real and fictional via (de)familiarization  
  • written important considerations of insiders/outsiders  
  • characteristics of invitational writing 
  • reading and writing experiences of rich descriptions 
  • peer review/editing/publishing 

Computer Art: Merging Programming and Creativity

All of the visual effects we see in films and video games have their basis in math and programming. Everything from abstract fractals in a music video to a stormy ocean in a blockbuster film have been created by teams of programmers who convert real-world concepts into lines of code.

These tools create a unique partnership between man and machine. We provide the basic rules and computers work intelligently and autonomously to create a finished product. Often times the results are completely unexpected and would be impossible to achieve solely by humans.

Students will use tools such as Cinema4D, Mograph, X-Particles and simple programming languages to generate animations and images ranging from realistic to completely abstract.

Students will also pitch ideas and have the option to collaborate with fellow students to create larger, more advanced projects.

At the end of the class students will have a broad understanding of how procedural animation tools work and will have produced several animations and digital compositions based on their ideas.

Students will…

  • Create fractal art with basic programming languages
  • Use sine waves and other equations to generate animation
  • Create effects with 3D particle systems, fluids and other simulations
  • Create abstract art with motion graphics tools
  • Use motion capture for animation

Intensive Study in Sustainable Agriculture and Remote Sensing

Food security occurs when all people can access enough safe and nutritious food to meet their requirements for a healthy life, in ways the planet can sustain into the future. However, food security faces several challenges across both production and consumption which research will be essential to solve. Against the backdrop of climate change, food for nearly 8 billion people is likely to become a real issue for many countries. 

Students will learn the application of advanced crop system models to predict the impact of weather, soil and management on short-term and long-term yield, nutrient uptake, water use efficiency and environmental outcomes.  Additionally, we will explore the advances and limitations of different air and space-borne platforms to obtain remotely sensed data via hands on satellite data analysis.  This includes a hands-on component of touring the MSU research farms and deploying our own research drone to collect real crop data. MSUs Entomology Department will join us for a look at modern management techniques and research of insect pests in agriculture.  Finally, we will look at future projections and the computer models to better understand the impact of climate variability on agricultural production systems. 


  • Learn about the fast moving and high-tech field of modern agriculture directly from industry leaders and contemporary research experts.  
  • Participate the analysis of high-resolution satellite images and explore the advances in air and space-borne platforms in obtaining crop and soil data.   
  • Tour the MSU research farms and launch a state-of-the-art research drone to collect our own data for analysis.
  • Learn about the future of farming including topics such as sustainable agriculture, food security, crop yield forecasting, and precision farming.
  • Assessing the impact of climate variability and change on agricultural production systems.