3STUDY BACKGROUNDThis study investigates the use of software to aid in the visual development of Communication Technology students. Before the actual study can be addressed there is pertinent background information that needs to be provided. This section will provide some background information on the Visual Communication course in which the software is used;the actual Rule of Thirds software will be reviewed as well as websites that also “teach” therule of thirds. Lastly, a review of literature in three main subject areas: Multimedia andLearning; How to Evaluate Software and Multimedia for ESL learners will be included.The Visual Communication CourseIn the first year of study in the Communication Technology program within theUnited Arab Emirates Higher Colleges of Technology, not only do the students learn aboutGraphic Design, Journalism and Video Production (the three fields they can later specializein) but the foundation is also set for them to become better visual communicators. One firstyear course, Visual Communication I, is paramount to the students achieving good results intheir future specialization. This course is described in the syllabus as follows:
This course is designed to introduce students to the fundamental conceptsof communicating using visuals. Through production and discussion, students will learn creative and practical techniques to create visualswhich can be used in a variety of media formats and genres. Visual literacy, colour theory, lighting and photography are all used to achievecourse goals.
By the end of the course, the student will be proficient increating and organizing visuals to present information in an appealing and effective way.
The student will also have developed specific photo skills related to the use of a basic single lens reflex camera.
The course has a large hands-on component where the students complete over 12 projects during the 14 week semester. Through these projects the students develop a morecritical view of their work, their peers’ and professional work. Recognized by both teachersand students as one of the key courses in year one, the course promotes reflective thinkingconcerning graphic design, photography, video and other visual content.