Syllabus - Course Description, Goal and Outcomes

This course is an introduction to visual communication as manifested in photography, television, motion pictures, the Internet, and other visual media.

You will learn basic principles of composition, pictorial continuity, and editing that are used in visual media.

You will acquire a basic understanding of the physical and cognitive processes of visual communication, the elements of visual messages, and principles of visual organization that can affect perception. These principles include Gestalt, framing, vectors, motion, color, and typestyles.

The goal of this course is to increase your aptitude and evaluation of visual communication design. To this end and through regular attendance and active participation you will be able to:
  • Explain the transactional communication concepts of context and noise relating to the perceptual process of visual communication design,
  • categorize visual communication effects in affective, cognitive and psychomotor responses,
  • assess the influence of typestyles on messages and develop your own font,
  • identify primary forms of contrast in composition and layout design and execute applications in your own original media design,
  • identify and execute compositional forces of framing, vectors, motion, in visual design applications of motion and still photography,
  • explain and apply to your own original media design Gestalt principles,
  • create and produce effectively designed media in your choice of domains including packaging, collateral, exhibit, converged media, identity, print, motion and still imaging,
  • critique and evaluate visual communication design in all domains,
  • collaborate with other student designers in producing a campaign.

Syllabus - Item Pool

Design Evaluation – Presentation
Find representations of good and poor design in two-dimensional display layouts, web pages, or three dimensional packaging. Base your analysis on design principles discovered in the class lab and document the basis of your evaluation in an online blog. Present your findings to your peers using technical integration, no longer than ten minutes.

Visual Continuity – Differentiation Development, online
Develop a storyboard with still images within a post on your blog. The storyboard should convey a sense of continuity with compositionally sound images edited together to reach at least one communicative effect.

Design Your Personal Font – Skill Development, online
Click on the weebly link on the class web page and design your own font. Provide an analysis for your design, your implicit meaning within, and the perceptual influences involved in the font's character.

Design a Visual Communication Artifact – Skill Development
Choose from one of the visual communication design domains (packaging, collateral, exhibit, converged media, identity, motion picture, or print) and create an artifact using the concepts and principles discussed in class and labs. The artifact should reflect a specific communication objective.

Collaborate on Design - Skill Qualification
As a group, create a campaign consisting of a least three artifacts from three of the domains. Design the campaign then confer on a distribution strategy incorporating coverage appropriate to the intended audience. Select from the visual communication design domains (packaging, collateral, exhibit, converged media, identity, motion picture, or print) and create your artifacts using the concepts and principles discussed in class and labs. The campaign should reflect a specific communication objective.

Assessments may be a combination of multiple choice, true/false fill-in-the-blank, and short answer. You will be accountable for and assessed on principles discussed in class and on the website.

Syllabus - Course Policies and Resources

As a core class for the Bachelor of Communication degree, you need to achieve a C+ or higher as the grade outcome of this class for it to count towards your degree requirements.

Final Exam
The final exam time for this class is May 3rd at 2:00.

Missing Class
Class attendance goes without question. Two absences and your evaluation drops one whole grade. Four absences results in administrative withdrawal or if after the withdraw deadline, failing the course. There is no such thing as an excused absence. You show up or you don’t. The drop date this semester is October 18th.

Plagiarism and Cheating
Plagiarism is the use of another source’s words, ideas or statistics without their permission and/or proper citation. Anyone who plagiarizes material in my class will receive a grade of zero on that assignment. Anyone found cheating on term assessments will fail the test, though I also reserve the right to assign you an “F” for the course and/or refer you to our chair for further sanctions. If you submit a falsified electronic document that I cannot open, you will fail the assignment. Please keep in mind that one can be expelled from the college for academic dishonesty.

Also see Academic dishonesty / Academic integrity policy.

Electronic Devices
Cell phones will not be tolerated in class. Turn them off while you’re here. First interruption infraction and you're buying everyone pizza and sodas the next meeting. Second infraction and you're buying everyone lunch at Cafe Rio. Lap tops are encouraged for use in class discussion and research. Facebook on your own time. If I find you engaged in an online activity that is not related to class activity you will owe me a full Cafe Rio card for each infraction. Really.

Submission of Assignments
All work for this class will be submitted via email as a PDF document or uploaded to your blog. This ensures I can open your document and verify contents regardless of platform. No other format will be accepted. Format your submissions in the subject line with the course number, assignment, and your name. If I were submitting my design artifact for COMM3560, my subject line would read: COMM3560, Design Artifact, Young.

Written assignments will be word-processed and are due the date indicated on the course schedule on this web site. I don't accept late work nor do I accept technical excuses like a crashed computer or an email glitch. Papers are due by the beginning of class. Work containing typographical and grammatical errors will be returned without evaluation. Proof your work. The college provides a free service for students desiring additional assistance with their writing assignments. The Writing Center is located in the Browning Building. Call Barbara Turnbow at 652-7743 for information.

Email Communication
Important class and college information will be sent to your D-mail account. All DSC students are automatically assigned a D-mail email account. Click and select D-mail for complete instructions. You will be held accountable for information sent to your D-mail, so please check it often.

I reserve the right to remove any student from this class and/or program based on documentable breech of citizenship such as sexual harassment, hostile environment, discrimination based on race, religion, gender and/or sexual preference, plagiarism, misrepresentation, and/or malicious gossip.

Withdrawal and Drop Deadlines
Please consult the semester schedule for withdrawal and reimbursement deadlines. You will be charged a $10 fee for dropping this class.

Late Work and Missing Tests

Should you miss an assessment due to medical reasons, you must provide documentation that states you were otherwise occupied at the time or in the general vicinity of class time. All excused absences must be presented right after the absence, and will be verified. I will determine what is excused. Any missed exams will only be made up with appropriate excused documentation.

Students with Disabilities
If you are a student with a medical, psychological or a learning difference and requesting reasonable academic accommodations due to this disability, you must provide an official request of accommodation to your professor(s) from the Disability Resource Center within the first two weeks of the beginning of classes. Students are to contact the center on the main campus to follow through with, and receive assistance in the documentation process to determine the appropriate accommodations related to their disability.

You may call (435) 652-7516 for an appointment and further information regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 per Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The office is located in the Student Services Center, Room #201 of the Edith Whitehead Building.
Library and Literacy Contacts
Dianne Hirning is the librarian over Communication resources. She is your resource and guide for research within this discipline. You can reach her at and by phone at 652-7720.


Syllabus - Grading Philosophy

It’s my opinion that letter grades and subsequent grade point averages in no way represent an assessment of achievement of the goal and outcomes of this course. Grade inflation and behaviorism over the years have mutated what might once have been considered valid assessment of student achievement.

Unfortunately for you, I’m still required to give you a grade at the end of the semester, a grade that in some way, in one little letter, states your achievement, application, improvement and ability that you have demonstrated during that semester - an impossible evaluation. However, that’s what you’ve come to expect after twelve years of conditioning in our schools.

Since I’m required to give you a letter grade, it’s my philosophy that the grade will represent the following criteria:

A – The student surpasses the requirements of each activity, reaches above 90% on assessment and skill qualification rubrics, executes original critical thinking in the discipline, demonstrates achievement of the objectives evidenced in written and oral communication, and asks good questions and engages others, including the instructor.

B – The student meets the requirements of each activity, reaches above 80% on assessment and skill qualification rubrics, executes critical thinking in communication in the discipline, demonstrates understanding of the objectives evidenced in written and oral communication, and asks good questions and engages others, including the instructor.

C – The student meets most of the requirements of each activity and reaches above 70% on assessment and skill qualification rubrics, demonstrates identification of the objectives evidenced in written and oral communication, and asks good questions and engages others, including the instructor.

D – The student meets less than half of the requirements of the research activity, reaches but doesn’t exceed 60% on assessment and skill qualification rubrics, and acknowledges the objectives evidenced in written and oral communication.

F – The student’s apathy outweighed achievement.

Past students have expressed fears to me that this course could disrupt their current GPA and thwart scholarship opportunities. It’s my experience that we are driven by two basic emotions; fear and love.

Students who are afraid of their performance in this course will limit themselves and will consequently fear their evaluations. Students who love what they do in this course and discipline and embrace evaluation for their own amelioration transcend assessment criterion and have little worry or care about their grade. The outcomes are dramatically different.

It’s a choice, I promise.