Media Sandbox Summer Creative Curriculum

This summer, students from any college or major at MSU can enroll in the Media Sandbox Creative Curriculum! 

Students can take these online classes individually, or complete a group of three to earn a badge signifying their skills in a particular field. 

Badges are distributed by the College of Communication Arts and Sciences and are non-transcriptable, but really punch up resumes, portfolios and LinkedIn profiles. 


MSU Students

  • During summer ONLY, anyone can take these courses.
  • Enroll just like you would for any other class. Space is limited, signup early!

Non-MSU Students and Lifelong Learners

The Classes

100-level, 3-credit classes:

CAS 110: Creative Thinking: You've probably heard the line, "Everyone's creative!" and thought, "Wrong, I'm not." This class will change your mind. Society trains us to conform to its rules, which can strip us of our uniqueness and make us all think alike. We become predictable and, therefore, ineffective when generating ideas for solving tough problems. This class addresses the forces that can cripple our thinking and will teach you tools you can use to win your creative brain back, making you a much more effective thinker and problem solver.

—Principle software: None

CAS 111: Design and Layout: Fundamentals of design practices and creative thinking (including, elements and principles of design, form, content and meaning, composition, color theory, typography, and the grid). 
—Principle software: Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign

CAS 112: Story, Sound and Motion: Central role of storytelling, sound and editing in media communication. (NOTE, not available to majors outside of the college)
—Principle software: Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Premiere

CAS 116: Media Sketching and Graphics: How to draw both real-world and imagined imagery for media projects using traditional and digital methods.
—Principle software: Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator

CAS 117: Games and Interactivity: Hands-on experience with designing games, making websites, and creating applications/videogames. You will learn the process of user testing and iterative design by making non-digital games, get an introduction to coding with C#, and learn to make and edit websites with HTML.
—Principle software: None (free copy of game engine Unity students download onto laptops)

200-level, 1-credit classes:

CAS 203: Media Design: Explores essential techniques and design principles for creating single page and multiple page layouts. Typography and the elements of design will also be introduced.
—Principle software: Adobe InDesign

CAS 204: Web Design: Professional web authoring techniques including technology standards, aesthetics and production using HTML and CSS. The course is a blend of design principles and development skills through course material and hands-on activities.
—Principle software: Adobe Dreamweaver and Adobe Photoshop

CAS 205: Photography in Media Settings: How to enhance, modify, and retouch digital images. There will be an introduction about cameras and lenses, however, the class is not a photography class. In CAS 205, we will focus primarily on how to manipulate existing images.
—Principle software: Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop

CAS 206: Graphics and Illustration: How to create vector artwork, digital illustrations and graphics for media projects.
—Principle software: Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator

CAS 207: Media Animation: Fundamentals of animation including principles, technology and design techniques for stand-alone and web-based applications in media settings.
—Principle software: TBA

CAS 208: Media Interactivity: User interface and programming techniques for interactive design.
—Principle software: TBA

CAS 290, Section 730: Basic Video Editing: Interested in learning to edit video with the software used in Oscar-winning movies? We will be using Avid's free software called “MC FIRST" to learn the basics of editing video and putting together simple video clips to help tell a story. By the end of the course, you will learn the basics of the program, as well as how to aesthetically make a story look great. Students will be expected to shoot some basic video on their mobile phones. Please search course materials for computer specs needed to run the software.
—Principle software: Avid MC First

CAS 290, Section 731: Video Special Effects and Motion: Integrate video with animation and motion, add special effects and combine with other programs for powerful creative potential.
—Principle software: Adobe After Effects

The Adobe Creative Cloud is a site that gives users access to a collection of software developed by Adobe for graphic design, video editing, web development, photography and cloud services for a fee. Student discounts are available.


Non-transcriptable, but really punch up resumes, portfolios and LinkedIn profiles

  • The Illustrator-Animator: 116, 206, 207 
  • The Gamemaker: 117, 207, 208
  • The Filmmaker: 112, 290-730, 290-731 
  • The Graphic Designer: 111, 203, 205
  • The Web Designer: 111, 203, 204 
  • The Creative: 110 + two 200-level courses 

Eight Pillars of Media Sandbox Creative Curriculum

  • BUSINESS OF MEDIA COMMUNICATION: Understand the structures, processes and functions of industry
  • COLLABORATION: Work with others to achieve something that benefits all
  • CREATIVITY: Generate new ideas and effective solutions by breaking through the barrier of predictable thinking
  • MEDIA TOOLS: Employ devices and software to generate media
  • PRESENTATION: Display work creatively and effectively
  • PROCESS: Understanding the theory and meaning behind communication principles
  • SELF-EXPRESSION: Express one’s unique style and point of view
  • STORYTELLING: Design strong and engaging narratives using imagery, words and sound