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« Past Syllabus: English 314 Technical Writing | Main | University of Montana School of Journalism: New Pollner prof »

January 25, 2005

Past Syllabi: Visual Communication Grad Seminar

Clemson University:

English 853 Visual Communication

Spring 1999 Syllabus

Important Information

Instructor:   Dr. Christine Boese
Meeting Times:  6:30 pm to 9 pm Tuesdays in 409 Daniel
Class Bulletin Board           VisCom                              
Class Web
                        Ginger                              
E-mail                              cboese@clemson.edu                              
Phone                              656-5416                              
Office
                              605 Strode Tower                              
Office Hours                     2:00-4:00 Monday and Weds, 4:30-6:30 Tuesday
Department                       English Department                              
Institution                         Clemson University            

Table of Contents

Required Texts:

(Available in the off-campus Student Bookstore, corner of College and Sloan)   

The Graphics of Communication: Methods, Media, and Technology. 6th ed. Russell N. Baird, Duncan McDonald, Ronald H. Pittman, and Arthur Turnbull. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1993.

Stop Stealing Sheep (& find out how type works). Erik Spiekermann, E. M. Ginger. Adobe Press, 1993.    

Interactivity by Design: Creating and Communicating with New Media. Ray Kristof, Amy Satran, Adobe Press, 1995.

Other Readings provided on Reserve and in a box in the MATRF Lab.   

Course Description

This seminar provides students with a thorough overview of the theory and practice of visual communication for both pre-press and electronic media. It is designed to help writers and information designers integrate both verbal and visual elements into effective communication artifacts. Students will learn principles of layout and typography, study the use of color and electronic image editing, practice desktop publishing skills, create video graphics, and explore interface design for interactivity. There will be two major projects, one print-based, and one electronic, plus reading response papers and a research paper.

We will be using the collaborative electronic learning forum on the CLE. I will also introduce you to other leading edge forms of electronic communication, as we explore what it may mean to communicate effectively in the future. Some assignments will proceed in a more traditional fashion, while others will integrate the equipment in our classroom. The most important goal for me is that the computers do not obstruct human interactions, but rather, that they become a tool for accessing people, images, and ideas, and thinking and writing about them.

This course will take a theoretical and hands-on approach to visual communication and will include topics such as visual perception, design theory, and creative design processes. This course will help you improve your ability to see and interpret visual information. My goal is to give you a basic understanding of the importance of design in the communication process.

Four types of activities will take place in this class, and you are expected to actively participate in all of them.

We will have active discussions of assigned scholarly and professional readings. You are expected to come to class prepared to contribute to the seminar discussions at a graduate level.

We will also have public viewing of our weekly exercises and projects, called "Crit Sessions" or "Crits," in which everyone will contribute positive and constructive comments applying design principles we have learned, thus becoming steeped in the vocabulary of visual communication.

We will have lecture and instruction in various software packages, as needed. You are expected to follow along in any tutorials, and to come to the aid of any nearby classmates who might be struggling. This class operates under the principle that learning is a collaborative experience. We will cover a lot of ground very quickly. You will have to stay sharp and help each other in order to keep up. If we all work together, we will be able to move past design fundamentals in order to move toward quite sophisticated discussions and design projects by the end of the semester.

Finally, a good portion of this class will involve hands-on workshop time, as you work on your projects   and get help in process. Even with this in-class workshop time, you are expected to put in considerable hours outside of class on your projects.    

Academic honesty is expected. Due to the interactive nature of the class, there will be many opportunities for collaboration on projects. However, it is not acceptable to turn in pieces     professionally designed by someone else as your own work.

Grading

There will be three major projects in this class. A brief description of each project is listed below; more details will be distributed later in the semester.

Project #1: Print-based Design Project. Design and execute a professional publication for a real world client. Examples: Manual, Booklet, Newsletter, Annual Report, Magazine Design Mockup, Book Design Mockup.

Project #2: Creating A Digital Portfolio. Design and execute an interactive professional portfolio, either low-band, Web-based, or high-band, CD-ROM-based.   

Project #3 (Optional): Research Paper in Visual Communication. Write a research paper on a topic in visual communciation, suitable for presenting at a professional conference. Present your paper orally at our class symposium at the end of the semester.

Thirty percent of your grade is based on Class Participation. This includes weekly reading response papers and discussions posted to the email-based class bulletin board, VisCom, as well as weekly  practice exercises and participation in face-to-face discussions. Clearly attendance is mandatory, especially because this is an evening seminar where so much ground is covered. Please speak     to me if you absolutely must miss class. More than one absence will adversely affect your grade.

Your final grade will be determined as follows:

  • Project #1: Print-based Design Project: 25%
  • Project #2: Creating A Digital Portfolio: 25% 
  • Project #3: Research Paper in Visual Communication: 20%
  • Class Participation: 30%

Our Class Web (Ginger) will make explicit the inter-relatedness of our work, and we will have opportunities to explore alternative ways of thinking and writing, in a nonlinear structure, informed and influenced by contextual ideas from our class, the language of different cultures, fields and disciplines, and the world of the Internet.

The VisCom email-based bulletin board space and the CLE bulletin board are yours to use as you please.  Remember that writing exists in a context, and your classmates are your audience. Practice     communicating with each other.  I will not intrude on your discussions as a Teacher-Authority-figure.  You will have to lure me in with lively topics. Although I will not give additional credit for each posting beyond one a week, I do want to encourage electronic discussions.  I believe that this type of informal dialogue will help your learning and comprehension in ways that may sneak up on you.

I want to specifically request that you keep flaming to a minimum and treat all classmates with the honor and respect all human beings deserve.  I will be just another list member, posting along with you. You may also email me privately at any time during the semester.  Also, should you get carried away and accidentally write a response paper that you realize in hindsight is too personal or volatile for the public forum, you may send it to me privately, with a clear disclaimer explaining what happened.  I will give you credit and keep such correspondence private, but I expect it not to happen too often. Since this is a 15 week semester, there will be a required 15 minimum posts to VisCom, spaced out over the semester, on either assigned topics or open topics.

Tentative Class Schedule

Note:  Please stay on top of class activities, since this is only a rough guide of what we will be doing and when.  I like to make adjustments as student needs and interests  (or computer glitches) dictate.
   

Unit 1:  Visual Tools for Print and Pre-Press

Week 1

Tues. Jan 12: Basic Design Principles
Project Assignment: Geometric Abstract Design and Logo Contest.
Reading Assignment for next week: Graphics Chap.1&2. Handouts:                              

Week 2

Tues. Jan 19: Design Sophistication and Layout
Crit: Logo Contest. Project Assignment: Form Redesign.
Reading Assignment for next week: Graphics Chap.3. Sheep, whole book. 

Week 3

Tues. Jan 26: Typographic Principles
Reading Assignment for next week: Graphics Chap.4. Sheep, whole book. Handouts: Bring photos next week for scanning and editing.

Week 4

Tues. Feb. 2: Image Editing and Photoshop
Crit: Form Redesign. Project Assignment: Photo Montage Poster.
Reading Assignment for next week: Graphics Chap.5. Handouts: To next class bring a graphic illustration problem to be solved.

Week 5

Tues. Feb. 9: Color and Graphics
Crit: Photo Montage Poster. Project Assignment: Graphic Illustration Problem.
Reading Assignment for next week: Graphics Chap.6-10. Handouts:

Week 6

Tues. Feb. 16: Printing Technologies for Publications
Crit: Graphic Illustration Problem.Project Assignment: Begin work on Project #1
Reading Assignment for next week: Graphics Chap.6-10,12, 13, &15


Week 7

Tues. Feb. 23: Publication Genres and Processes
Project Assignment: Complete work on Project #1
Reading Assignment for next week: Graphics Chap.11, 14, 16.

Unit 2:  Visual Tools for Linear and Interactive Media

Week 8

Tues. Mar. 2: Contrasts Between Print and Electronic Output
Crit: Project #1. Project Assignment: Online Exercise
Reading Assignment for next week: Interactivity Part 1. Handouts:

Week 9

Tues. Mar. 9: Digital Media Survival Kit
Project Assignment: Home Page and Online Résumé.
Reading Assignment for next week: Interactivity Part 3. Handouts: To next class bring material for a Community/Special Interest Web Site (can work in teams).                              

Week 10

Tues. Mar. 16: Spring Break

Week 12

Tues. Mar. 23: Information Design Online Exercise Home Page and Online Résumé.
Reading Assignment for next week: Interactivity Part 1. Handouts:

Week 13

Tues. Mar. 30: Interaction Design
Crit: Community/Special Interest Site. Project Assignment: Begin Project #2.
Reading Assignment for next week: Interactivity Part 2. Handouts:                              

Week 14

Tues. April 6: Research in Visual Communication
Project Assignment: Complete Project #2
Reading Assignment for next week: Handouts                              

Week 15

Tues. April 13: Visual Rhetoric: Ethics and Issues of Persuasion
Crit: Project 2. Project Assignment: Research Project Conferences. Prepare Presentations.
Reading Assignment for next week: Handouts.                              

Week 16

Tues. April 20: Research Presentation Symposium
Research Presentations.                              

April 27: Final Exam 6:30-9:30 pm

Visual Communication, English 853, Clemson University.
© 2000
Christine Boese, All Rights Reserved

English 853 Visual Communication

Projects

Spring Semester 1999

Dr. Christine Boese

Project One: Print-Based Design Project Due Date: March 2, 1999

Design and execute a professional publication for a real world client. Examples: Manual, Booklet, Series of     Forms, Posters, or Promotional Materials, Newsletter, Annual Report, Magazine or Tabloid Design Mockup, or Book Design Mockup.

This project is worth 25 percent of your grade. You may work alone or in teams of 2 or 3 with my approval.

You do not need to write a formal proposal for this project, but you will need to describe your project     orally and show supporting materials to the instructor to obtain project approval before beginning work.

This project will involve a number of elements, called deliverables. Some will be directly related to the professional completion of the job, and some will be strictly for delivery to the instructor.

Deliverables:

1. Weekly Progress Report Memos delivered to the Instructor by email. These are one-page summary reports on your project, what is working, what is not working, how relations are going with your client and your group members, if you have any. Each group member is responsible for filing  individual Progress Report Memos.

2. A Design Specifications Document, one per team. This is a document that details the specifications     of all of your design decisions, and in some cases, includes     justification for making those decisions. Like the specifications     for building a house, it will contain particulars on fonts selected,     sizes, leading, margins, colors and color processes, paper selection,     and if relevant, budgetary concerns and cost information. It     should also contain a statement, at least a paragraph or two,     on which design principles or philosophy you are attempting to     apply or drawn on or allude to for your overall "look and     feel." This document will be your project's "bible,"     and your grade will be based partially on how consistently you     follow your own design specs. The rest of your grade will be based on the strength of your overall design and your completed     delivery of all of the parts of the project.

3. Audience Analysis Document and Short     Usability Test, one per team. For this project, this element     need not be long and substantial. A single page Audience Analysis     Document should examine the potential audience's Attitudes, Background,     and Needs. Later, when you have completed a fairly polished version     of your project, test it on at least two potential audience members,     conducting short interviews with them afterward. Incorporate     the feedback into your project and summarize your findings in     a short one-page memo.

4. Print Proof of the Final Product,     one per team. This should be to size (you can tile and tape together     output that is larger than 8.5 by 11). If color is to be used,     your print proof should be color printed. For multiple pages,     you have the option of delivering flat proofs (such as the printer     would send back to you as "blues" for one final proof     before going to press) or a simulation of any types of binding     you have selected.

5. Electronic Deliverables prepared     in your CLE "Turnin" folder as if ready to be sent     to the printer for printing. This includes all resource files,     fonts (if you can get them), PageMaker docs, and a text document     created by selecting the pulldown menu Utilities/Pub Info and     saving the information on fonts and links. Each group member     should have a full copy of this file in her or his Turnin folder     and a personal copy as well, for your own portfolios.

Project Two: Creating a Digital Portfolio Due Date: April 27, 1999.

Design and execute a professional digital     portfolio for yourself or a real world client, either low band,     Web-based, or high-band, CD-ROM-based. This can take many different     forms depending on the media involved. I will show you a number     of models and examples. Alternately, you could adapt this project     toward the creation of a significantly complex community or special     interest web site.

 

This project is worth 25 percent of your     grade. You may work alone or in teams of 2 or 3 with my approval.

You do not need to write a formal proposal     for this project, but you will need to describe your project     orally and show supporting materials to the instructor to obtain     project approval before beginning work.

This project will involve a number of elements,     called deliverables. Some will be directly related to the professional completion of the job, and some will be strictly for delivery to the instructor.

Deliverables:

1. Weekly Progress Report Memos     delivered to the Instructor by email. These are one-page summary     reports on your project, what is working, what is not working,     how relations are going with your client and your group members,     if you have any. Each group member is responsible for filing     individual Progress Report Memos.

2. A Design Specifications Document,     one per team. This is a document that details the specifications     of all of your design decisions, and in some cases, includes     justification for making those decisions. Like the specifications     for building a house, it will contain particulars on fonts selected,     sizes, leading, margins, colors and color processes, paper selection,     and if relevant, budgetary concerns and cost information. It     should also contain a statement, at least a paragraph or two,     on which design principles or philosophy you are attempting to     apply or drawn on or allude to for your overall "look and     feel." This document will be your project's "bible,"     and your grade will be based partially on how consistently you     follow your own design specs. The rest of your grade will be     based on the strength of your overall design and your completed     delivery of all of the parts of the project. For this project,     your design specs should also include storyboards and a plan     for handling interactivity.

3. Audience Analysis Document and Short     Usability Test, one per team. For this project, this element     need not be long and substantial. A single page Audience Analysis     Document should examine the potential audience's Attitudes, Background,     and Needs. Later, when you have completed a fairly polished version     of your project, test it on at least four potential audience     members, conducting short interviews with them afterward. Incorporate     the feedback into your project and summarize your findings in     a short two-page memo.

4. Electronic Deliverables prepared     in your CLE "Turnin" folder. This includes all     resource files,  Each group member should have a full copy of     this file in her or his Turnin folder and a personal copy as     well, for your own portfolios. We will also be linking these     into the class public.www folder for public access in the future.

Project 3 (Optional: Research Paper in Visual Communication Due Date:     April 27, 1999. 

I have decided to make this project optional.     It had originally be set as 20 percent of your grade. If you     choose not to write it, that 20 percent will be divided between     Project One and Project Two equally.

For this project, you will write a research     paper on a topic in visual communciation, suitable for presenting     at a professional conference. It should be 8-9 pages long, and     be sufficiently narrowed in scope to adequately review the current     research and present a new finding drawing on that research and     your experience in this seminar as visual communicators.

A good place to start the research process     would be the outside readings you have been doing all semester.     Look at the readings that drew your attention. Follow up by reading     some of the works cited by those authors. Also check into the     journals and edited books cited by those authors. Of course,     you may also investigate online sources, such as the Journal     of Electronic Communication, CMC Magazine, and others, if they     have sufficient credibility.

You should use MLA or APA style of documentation     in these papers. If you would like my review of your rough drafts,     I will be happy to have a conference with you on them. I treat     writing as a process, and revision as essential, so don't be     afraid to come and see me with drafts of these papers. I can     also offer advice if you would like to write proposals to present     your research at professional conferences.

Visual Communication, English 853, Clemson University.
© 2000
Christine Boese, All Rights Reserved

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