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Today we are beginning to notice that the new media are not just mechanical gimmicks for creating

worlds of illusion, but new languages with new and unique powers of expression.
Marshall McLuhan

Journalism24: VisualCommunication
Prof. Jeremy J. Littau CourseInformation
Fall 2012 Tuesday, 1:10-4 p.m. 304 Coppee Hall

Phone: Office: Email: OfficeHours: (610) 758-6520 203 Coppee Hall Thursday 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

This course is intended to give you the concepts and basic skills you need to use visual elements in communication. You will learn typography and the principles of designing for newspapers, magazines and the Web. Youll learn to shoot and edit photographs and videos. You will learn to use Adobe InDesign and a host of free communication tools, including Instagram, MovieMaker, Picasa, and Flickr.

Your grade will be based on class attendance and participation, and a series of projects as outlined below: Assignment Class participation In-class labs not on this list Photo-a-day assignment Photo slideshow Basic overlay video Mini-documentary video Basic layout assignment Poster design Professional web site Percentage 5% 5% 10% 10% 10% 15% 10% 15% 20%

For the most part, your assignments will be submitted via our shared class blog. I will alert you as to ones that are submitted on the blog, but at the very least for each assignment youll put up an entry that talks about how you think you did, what you learned, what you wish youd done better, and what you want to know more about. Whether or not the assignment is submitted on the blog (such as embedding a video) you are required to write a post for each assignment. When possible, your assignment will be embedded within that post. Posts should be around 75-200 words. Participation: This should be an easy 5% as long as youre involved in the class. There are three components to this subjective grade. The first is answering questions and contributing to the in-class critique exercises. The second is on the class blog; each week four students will be designated discussion leaders about assignments submitted the previous week. You are required to read each post and look at the submissions and leave a comment on at least 10 of your classmates posts. Pick ones that interest you, and give honest feedback while being constructive. This feedback is due before the start of class on Tuesday. Youll do the participation on the

blog three times during the semester. The final component is to use Twitter to share your work. Your Instagram photos and blog posts all should be tweeted with a link using standards I go over in class. Photoa-day: The goal for this assignment is to think visually and see it wherever you go. Instagram is nice because it adds mobility to the ability to take photos. This is a class that is immersing you in visual communication and I consider this assignment the backbone of the whole semester. You will be required to upload a photo every day to Instagram. The theme and photo subjects up to you, but I want to see some thought put into what you take (i.e. no pictures of your ceiling just to do the bare minimum). I will show you on the first day how to take and upload the photos. I will be looking at time stamps be diligent about this because its easy points that youll lose by being disorganized or lazy. GradingPolicy/Standards:You will be held to professional journalistic standards in this class, since anything less would be a disservice in terms of preparing you for a career. You should think of this class as a job. That means showing up on time and ready to work. It means doing your best and most creative work and meeting deadlines. The aim of this class is to learn visual communication principles and skills that will serve you in important ways in a variety of professional settings. As a manager, for instance, you might be part of a team that works on a communication project. Other members of the team could be writers and editors, photographers, videographers and designers. As a member of the team, you need to understand visual communication principles so that you can contribute ideas in conceptualization and development of the presentation. You might also use these skills to become a communications entrepreneur or consultant. My emphasis in grading your assignments will be whether you have applied appropriate principles to your projects. The artistic quality of your efforts will be secondary. We will be using basic software and other tools that will yield less professional results than more expensive and complicated systems. We are doing this so that we can concentrate on the principles of visual communication, without spending a great deal of time learning to use those more complicated systems. Throughout the class, you should be demonstrating that you understand the principles in a way that would allow you to work with other professionals, who could execute a more polished finished product. Here are the guidelines I will use in evaluating your projects.


Meets high standards in terms of clear presentation and application of visual communication principles. Demonstrates extra effort with organization, creativity, style, and a good sense of audience. Shows original thought and a solid understanding of the assignment and the requirements of the project. An acceptable demonstration/application of visual communication principles, but could benefit from some changes in presentation. Demonstrates a good understanding of the assignment and the requirements of the project. Needs substantial revision in terms of organization and presentation. Shows little originality of thought. Shows a weak understanding of one or more of the principles of visual communication. Needs complete revision, starting at the conceptual stage. The work demonstrates a weak understanding of visual communication principles, of the assignment, and/or a weak grasp of the requirements of the project. Complete failure to grasp the goals of the assignment or the principles involved in completing it successfully

Much of your work will be done in the departments computer labs on the third floor of Coppee Hall. Some of your assignments will be completed during class and some will require you to work on your own time in the lab. The lab is available to you every weekday; the building is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If another class is meeting in the lab,

you can work on your project in the secondary third-floor computer classroom. Please be quiet if a class is in session. Please do not bring friends with you. Only students enrolled in journalism classes are allowed in the labs. No food or drink is allowed on the third floor of Coppee Hall, except in the break room in the middle of the complex, near the elevator entrance. It's best if you do not bring soft drinks, water, tea or coffee with you when you come to class. If you do, the container must be sealed and left in your bag or put in the break room during class. Do not put drink containers on desks or on the floor, even if they are sealed. If you break this rule, your class participation grade will be affected. This rule is in effect at all times, not just during classes.

Absencesand deadlines : This day meets one day a week, and so coming to class is critical if you dont want to fall behind. Every successive assignment builds on past assignments and instruction, and so you shouldnt miss unless you absolutely have to. If you do miss class, youll need to get caught up from another student. While Im happy to provide extra help, I do not reteach the material. Just like showing up for work is important, you are responsible for showing up to class. If you miss a class, you will be required to provide a deans excuse at the next meeting of the class certifying a serious illness or emergency in order for it to be counted as excused, and youmustnotify me beforethe start of class that youwill be gettingdocumentationfor an excusedabsence . No other excuses will be accepted. Attendance will be taken at every session and being on time is important; if you are late, you will be marked absent. In-class assignments cannot be made up if your absence is unexcused. You get one free absence, and it doesnt matter if its excused or unexcused. After that, the first unexcused absence will result in your final grade being lowered by a full letter followed by another third of a letter grade (example: B to B-) for every class for each unexcused absence. Deadlines: This is a journalism class, and Id be committing professor malpractice by not helping you learn the practical expectations you face in the work world. This means deadlines matter. There is an automatic 50% penalty applied to your grade if it is late work (i.e. a 9 out of 10 becomes a 4.5 out of 10) unless there is an extreme emergency. Id rathersee subparworkfromyouthat is on timethannear-perfectworkthat is late. The first one tells me whatyoucan do underpressure.The secondone is a glossedover viewof whatyou can do whentimeis not at a premium. Be honest: Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated and at the bare minimum will result in an F grade for the course. I refer all plagiarism cases to the dean. Dont be afraid to ask if you arent sure where or when to cite the appropriate sources. If you have even a little doubt, either ask me or visit Lehighs Navigating Information page on the Web at Your papers will be analyzed via Turnitin, a Web application that detects plagiarism and unoriginal text by generating an Originality Report which highlights unoriginal text in your document. Turnitin detects unoriginal work by checking the content of your paper against Internet resources, journal databases, and an archive of student work. Your paper will be stored in Turnitins database for comparison with future submissions. Accommodationsfor Studentswith Disabilities: If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting accommodations, please contact both your instructor and the Office of Academic Support Services, University Center C212 (610-758-4152) as early as possible in the semester. You must have documentation from the Academic Support Services office before accommodations can be granted.