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Essential Objectives

Course Syllabus

Revision Date: 20-Apr-24

Summer 2024 | COM-1045-VO02 - Introduction to Visual Communication

Online Class

Online courses take place 100% online via Canvas, without required in-person or Zoom meetings.

Location: Online
Credits: 3 (45 hours)
Day/Times: Meets online
Semester Dates: 05-21-2024 to 08-12-2024
Last day to drop without a grade: 06-10-2024 - Refund Policy
Last day to withdraw (W grade): 07-08-2024 - Refund Policy
This course has started, please contact the offering academic center about registration


Tricia Weill
View Faculty Credentials

Hiring Coordinator for this course: Ashraf Alamatouri

General Education Requirements

This section meets the following CCV General Education Requirement(s) for the current catalog year:
VSCS Arts & Aesthetics
  1. Many degree programs have specific general education recommendations. In order to avoid taking unnecessary classes, please consult with additional resources like your program evaluation, your academic program catalog year page, and your academic advisor.
  2. Courses may only be used to meet one General Education Requirement.

Course Description

This course introduces the concepts of visual literacy and visual rhetoric and explores how photographs, films, cartoons, T-shirts, ads, works of art and all things visible have the capacity to create meaning, provoke response and communicate implied or overt messages. Students will be exposed to a wide range of visual media as they learn to critically "read" visual texts as narrative and argument within particular contexts. They will apply visual comprehension skills in analyzing the power, scope and social significance of the visual world and apply their understanding of the composition and production of effective images and symbols in creating and manipulating their own visual messages.

Essential Objectives

1. Define visual literacy, visual rhetoric, semiotics, and key linguistic concepts such as icons, images and symbols while exploring the linguistic and representational structures of visual information.
2. Discuss the process of visual learning, development of critical viewing skills and importance of achieving fluency in visual communication for contemporary individuals and within key professions.
3. Identify compositional elements of visual media that capture attention, create meaning and influence emotional response; consider the effects of pairing visual features with non-visual attributes.
4. Analyze contemporary visual media using multiple theoretical constructs by articulating possible message content, describing how it is shaped by diverse social, cultural, and political dynamics, and deconstructing images to expose deeper layers of meaning and relevance.
5. Compare and contrast written narratives to their film versions, describing differences in the messages communicated. Through a close reading of the cinematic images, explain how visual material shapes the viewers’ feelings, expectations, sympathies and engagement.
6. Examine the historical development of visual imagery and the growing significance and pervasiveness of visual influence through the development of new media and technology, and their likely impact on perception and contemporary culture now and in the future.
7. Discuss the ethical responsibilities inherent in developing, using, and manipulating visual artifacts and apply an ethical approach in citing, creating and critically evaluating contemporary visual media.
8. Evaluate the effectiveness of a range of visual rhetoric in relevant contexts and determine why some themes or subjects might be better communicated visually than others, while considering the limitations and vulnerabilities of our visual knowledge.
9. Apply visual literacy and rhetorical skills to create projects that demonstrate effective visual statements and arguments in a range of media, demonstrating an ability to convey intended messages and evoke desired responses and emotions through the ethical application of these productions.
10. Identify and explore career areas in art, media and visual communication, and the training/education required to succeed in these areas professionally.
11. Develop a digital portfolio of work reflecting course learning and visual projects completed in the class, which will establish a foundation for displaying future work and ultimately serving as a professional tool.

Required Technology

More information on general computer and internet recommendations is available on the CCV IT Support page. https://support.ccv.edu/general/computer-recommendations/

Please see CCV's Digital Equity Statement (pg. 45) to learn more about CCV's commitment to supporting all students access the technology they need to successfully finish their courses.

Required Textbooks and Resources

*** This is a no cost textbook or resource class. ***

This course only uses free Open Educational Resources (OER) and/or library materials. For details, see the Canvas Site for this class.

Evaluation Criteria


60% weekly experiments/assignments

- start & finish of projects- experiment quality

30% discussion participation

10% final project

*Consider each point as accumulation to 100% - I offer a few extra credit points beyond 100 as the semester goes along.

Grading Criteria

CCV Letter Grades as outlined in the Evaluation System Policy are assigned according to the following chart:

A Less than 9893
A-Less than 9390
B+Less than 9088
B Less than 8883
B-Less than 8380
C+Less than 8078
C Less than 7873
C-Less than 7370
D+Less than 7068
D Less than 6863
D-Less than 6360
FLess than 60 
NPLess than 600

Weekly Schedule

Week/ModuleTopic  Readings  Assignments

experiments & topics by week

1 - intro & emojis
how we see
visual process
semiotics - signs, organized systems, context
- context; wordless poster
the art of noticing
•6 perspectives•
sign categories


2 - a better [medicine bottle]




value, code, metaphor

what the brain sees

form, depth,color, movement

reading signs



3 - social/digital & print media


how to structure & tactics

media/fake media

- images & manipulation


photo journalism

text & image use & manipulation



4 - Selfie Portrait

sensual & perceptual theories

body language

symbolic creativity



5 - Decode Advertising


persuasion techniques

ethics & propaganda

stereotyping visual persuasion - PR




6 - street/visionary art

dirt and taboo




7 - cartography/mapmaking

infomap project

visual complexity

map making basics



Week 8 - Graphic Design, Typography, Cartoons & Comics



9 - Film, TV & Video



10 - It's all FUN & Video GAMES



11 - Biomaterial, Reclaimed Art & the Final Project



Final Project DUE first day of week 12


Attendance Policy

Regular attendance and participation in classes are essential for success in and are completion requirements for courses at CCV. A student's failure to meet attendance requirements as specified in course descriptions will normally result in a non-satisfactory grade.

  • In general, missing more than 20% of a course due to absences, lateness or early departures may jeopardize a student's ability to earn a satisfactory final grade.
  • Attending an on-ground or synchronous course means a student appeared in the live classroom for at least a meaningful portion of a given class meeting. Attending an online course means a student posted a discussion forum response, completed a quiz or attempted some other academically required activity. Simply viewing a course item or module does not count as attendance.
  • Meeting the minimum attendance requirement for a course does not mean a student has satisfied the academic requirements for participation, which require students to go above and beyond simply attending a portion of the class. Faculty members will individually determine what constitutes participation in each course they teach and explain in their course descriptions how participation factors into a student's final grade.

Participation Expectations

1. Your participation is required in weekly critique discussions.

• Submitting your current project status, visually and possibly written.

• Replying to at least two peers with your feedback/thoughts for taking their work to the next level, in your opinion.

• Meaningful responses do not require specific length but do require thoughtfulness and clarity in the feedback.

2. Read, watch and listen to what I share with you.

• ASSUME all material shared is REQUIRED for participation. If it is optional/extra, I will specify that.

• I am able to view your participation in class, the time spent within Canvas and what files you visit and don’t.

I use that information to further assess the quality of participation in class.

Missing & Late Work Policy

Late Work Policy | Deadlines

I DO NOT accept Late Work.

See minor exceptions below.

If you have a circumstance that necessitates you

submitting work late - communicate it to me, preferably

before the deadline you’re going to miss.

(Emergencies happen, they’re usually documented by a

doctor or hospital afterwards- that absolutely counts.)

Accessibility Services for Students with Disabilities:

CCV strives to mitigate barriers to course access for students with documented disabilities. To request accommodations, please
  1. Provide disability documentation to the Accessibility Coordinator at your academic center. https://ccv.edu/discover-resources/students-with-disabilities/
  2. Request an appointment to meet with accessibility coordinator to discuss your request and create an accommodation plan.
  3. Once created, students will share the accommodation plan with faculty. Please note, faculty cannot make disability accommodations outside of this process.

Academic Integrity

CCV has a commitment to honesty and excellence in academic work and expects the same from all students. Academic dishonesty, or cheating, can occur whenever you present -as your own work- something that you did not do. You can also be guilty of cheating if you help someone else cheat. Being unaware of what constitutes academic dishonesty (such as knowing what plagiarism is) does not absolve a student of the responsibility to be honest in his/her academic work. Academic dishonesty is taken very seriously and may lead to dismissal from the College.