The unique thing about the ETC curriculum is that it is project-based rather than course-based. In other words, our students devote most of their energy (and do most of their learning) as members of interdisciplinary teams completing projects in lieu of taking traditional classes. In fact our students usually spend 90% of their "school/work/study" time devoted to projects!
The backbone of the ETC curriculum is a sequence of project courses, each of which places students in interdisciplinary teams. In the last three semesters, each project course lasts a semester, and places a small interdisciplinary team under the direct guidance of one or more faculty members; the student team must produce an artifact as their final accomplishment. In these project courses, each student's grade is a combination of a group component (determined by the evaluation of the artifact and a presentation about it), and the individual component (based on the faculty supervisor's evaluation).
In the first semester, the projects are in the context of the "Building Virtual Worlds", the groups work together for only two weeks, with the (professor-assigned) teams changing with each of the projects. Students work on five projects during the semester, and the course culminates in a public demonstration to a crowd of over 500 spectators in a public forum.
We do have a small number of more traditional classes; our focus on this area is on quality, rather than quantity. A true cornerstone of our curriculum occurs in the first semester: the Improvisational Acting course is design to allow students to learn the basics of improvisation acting, but — more importantly — the skills necessary for successful teamwork: always supporting your teammates as well as the ongoing narrative. The Visual Story course combines the traditional notions of a film course — how to use the visual language from film — with the emerging notions of how interactivity changes the way we communicate with an audience. In the spring, we have a course on Game Design that stresses the importance of traditional (as well as computer) game design.
In the last three semesters of the program, each student can take a single elective each semester. We encourage students to take a elective that will help them learn a skill that interests them and is geared to their employment goals.
Please note: There is project work required each semester, and completion of the degree program cannot be attained in less than two years of four full-time semesters. There is an optional summer internship.