Digital Media Summer Institute 2016

Interdisciplinary research,
education and capacity building

23 May 2016

Short courses with UT Austin faculty in Lisbon and Porto.

The tenth annual Summer Institute will offer students and professionals in Lisbon and Porto the opportunity to explore a variety of digital media topics. Renowned instructors and alumni from the University of Texas at Austin will teach intensive short courses in May, June and July.

The courses will be taught at the graduate level and are offered free of charge. Course descriptions will be posted soon.

To register, please contact the address listed for each course. For general information about the series you may contact Carina Borges (

Research Methods for Digital Media
Sharon Strover, UT Austin Dept. of Radio, Television and Film
May 25-27
Lisbon, FCSH
Registration: Paulo Nuno Vicente

This course examines fundamental premises of research design and approaches for working with digital media projects and issues. It is organized as a seminar with intensive attention to students’ research interests. Core topics include: the conceptualization process; writing research questions; thinking about causality; alternative design options. 

VR, 3D and Journalism
R.B. Brenner, UT Austin Dept. of Journalism
Cameron Blake, Washington Post
Lisbon and Porto
Keynote: June 2, Lisbon - iNOVA Media Lab Conversation on the Future of Journalism
Workshop: June 3, Porto
Workshop: June 6-7, Lisbon
Workshop registration: Paulo Nuno Vicente

Business Plan Development for the Videogame Industry
Part I: Entrepreneurial Finance
Part II: Start UP and Greenlighting

Heidi Toprac and Paul Toprac

This two-part course will guide students through the process of developing a business plan. It will help students define and describe their product, their management team, as well as their sales, marketing, operations and development plans. In addition, students will learn how to forecast their game's financial results, and incorporate their forecasts into their business plans. The course will help students understand the potential sources of funding that may be available, and how they should present themselves and their ideas to potential investors. 

The course will begin on Monday, June 20th. During the first week Prof. Heidi Toprac will address the following concepts:
• Company and Management: Management Team, Sources of Funding, Term Sheets
• Financial Plan: Revenue and Expenses Forecast
• Financial Plan: Balance Sheet and Ratios
• Financial Plan: Cash Flow, Payback, Breakeven
• Elevator Pitches

After a one-week break, Prof. Paul Toprac will lead the students through the following:

• Product and Services: Description, Validation, Roadmap
• Market Analysis: Market Segmentation, Growth, Future Potential, Competition
• Go to Market Strategy: Sales and Marketing Plan, Milestones, Key Metrics
• Wrap Up: Executive Summary, Putting All Together, How to Present
• Game Pitches

The course will conclude on Friday, July 8th.

Business Plan Development for the Videogame Industry
Part I: Entrepreneurial Finance

Heidi Toprac, UT Austin McCombs School of Business
June 20-23
Registration: António Coelho

Business Plan Development for the Videogame Industry
Part II: Start UP and Greenlighting

Paul Toprac, UT Austin Dept. of Radio, Television and Film
July 5-8
Registration: António Coelho

Innovation & Creative Cities: Remaking the Innovation Economy
Craig Watkins, UT Austin Dept. Radio, Television and Film
June 27-July 1
Lisbon, FCSH
Registration: Paulo Nuno Vicente

This class is organized as a research workshop and practicum. The course will be organized, in part, like a design studio (i.e., open dialogue & brainstorming, visualizing ideas, designing research protocols, and pitching ideas for a final project). The primary aim is to design a research study of the creative practices among artists, designers, hackers, entrepreneurs, etc. in Lisbon. Students will design and conduct test interviews and/or observations of the creative processes and spaces that support it. In addition, the workshop can involve mapping the mix of spaces and settings (i.e., co-working spaces, informal labs, studios) that have become the sites for digital media makers, social innovators, and creative workers looking to create their own social, occupational, and economic opportunities.
Key Questions
1. How is creative work/labor evolving?
2. What is the role of technology in the transformation of work?
3. What is the role of technology in the digital, media, and entrepreneurial economy?
4. How is the emergence of informal work spaces (i.e., co-working spaces, studios) influencing creative work? 

Open School for Digital Transformation
July 14-16
Registration: Ademar Aguiar, FEUP

Instructor bios

Ademar Aguiar, FEUP
Ademar Aguiar is an Assistant Professor at FEUP and a researcher at INESC Porto, with more than 20 years of experience in software development, specialized in software architecture and design (patterns, frameworks, infrastructures), agile methods, wikis and open collaboration tools. Apart from software engineering, Ademar also explores the application of social software and Web 2.0 to other areas, including his current primary project, a collaborative and social learning environment (PLE/SLE).

Cameron Blake, Washington Post
Cameron Blake began his career as a VFX artist and 3D designer in the entertainment space based in Hollywood, Calif. His first position was as a Junior Art Director for an ad agency in the San Fernando Valley. He has worked for name studios like Mirada, Zoic, and Sony Pictures Entertainment. His international experience began in Cusco, Peru as a traditional photographer/cinematographer and continued to Doha, Qatar as a Senior Creative Producer for Aljazeera English media corporation overseeing their graphics department and providing training for high end 3D software packages like C4D and MAYA. Currently, he is a Prototype engineer for iOS, Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, and all things immersive 360 degrees at The Washington Post.

R.B. Brenner, UT Austin Dept. of Journalism
R.B. Brenner is the director of the School of Journalism and the G.B. Dealey Regents Professor in Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. Previously, he was the deputy director of Stanford University’s journalism program and taught courses in public issues reporting, digital journalism and narrative writing. He joined the faculty at Stanford in September 2010 after leaving The Washington Post, where his roles included metropolitan editor, Sunday editor and deputy universal news editor. He was one of the primary editors of the newspaper’s coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings, which was awarded a Pulitzer Prize, and played a leadership role in merging the digital and print newsrooms.

Sharon Strover, UT Austin Dept. Radio, Television and Film
Sharon Strover is the Philip G. Warner Regents Professor in Communication and former Chair of the Radio-TV-Film Department at the University of Texas, where she teaches communications and telecommunications courses and directs the Technology and Information Policy Institute. Some of her current research projects examine local and statewide networks and broadband services; the relationship between economic outcomes and investments in digital media programs in higher education; social media; the digital divide; rural broadband deployment; e-government; telecommunications infrastructure deployment and economic development in rural regions; and market structure and policy issues for international audio-visual industries.

Heidi Toprac, UT Austin McCombs School of Business
Heidi Toprac is an award-winning teacher, specialized in developing technology-enabled curricula for large undergraduate courses. Prior to joining UT, Toprac held a variety of corporate finance and accounting roles, where she developed and managed programs and established efficient business processes. She has worked across several industries—including retail, travel, and high-tech—and on three different continents.

Paul Toprac, UT Austin Dept. Radio, Television and Film
Paul Toprac is currently the Associate Director of Game Development at UT and Senior Lecturer. Before UT, Paul was a Graduate Committee Chair, Institutional Effectiveness Manager, and Lecturer of The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University, a graduate school game development program, where he focused on the research and design of games, particularly game-based learning and motivational environments. Paul has more than the twenty years of experience in the software industry, in roles ranging from CEO to product manager to consultant, including the role of Executive Director of the Austin Technology Council.

Craig Watkins, UT Austin Dept. Radio, Television and Film
Craig Watkins is a Professor at the University of Texas, Austin, in the department of Radio-Television-Film. Craig is also a Faculty Fellow for the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin. He also blogs for the Huffington Post and DML Central, the online presence for the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub located at the systemwide University of California Humanities Research Institute and hosted at the UC Irvine campus. His research interests are young people's social and digital media behaviors.