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JOHN CABOT UNIVERSITY

COURSE CODE: "COM 111-3"
COURSE NAME: "Introduction to Visual Communication"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2019
SYLLABUS

INSTRUCTOR: Marco Palmieri
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 10:00-11:15 AM
TOTAL NO. OF CONTACT HOURS: 45
CREDITS: 3
PREREQUISITES:
OFFICE HOURS: by appointment

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
From photojournalism to Instagram, 21st century communication is primarily image-based. Whether its mass media, individual expression, social media or alternative media, images are used for promoting ideas, products, information and political discourses. In this course students investigate the role of visual culture in daily life, exploring fine art, popular culture, film, television, advertising, business communications, propaganda, viral social media and information graphics. As a critical introduction to visual communication, this course mixes theory, analysis and practical activities for an applied understanding of key issues, including the relationship between images, power and politics; the historical practice of looking; visual media analysis; spectatorship; historic evolution of visual codes; impact of visual technologies; media literacy; information graphics literacy; and global visual culture.
SUMMARY OF COURSE CONTENT:
Topics include the evolution of visual culture from the Renaissance to Postmodernism; an introduction to semiotics; the influence of photography from its early inception to Instagram; image politics in elections, terrorism and war; the role of visual and reproduction technology; the study of images in popular culture, ads and viral media; fonts, visual data and information graphics; global visual culture; and image ethics.
LEARNING OUTCOMES:

The course’s content and activities are meant to prepare students for future studies in communications and media studies. By the end of the course, students should be able to:

·       Describe key theories and concepts of visual studies

·       Identify how ways of looking are culturally constructed

·       Perform semiotic media analysis

·       Use media literacy to analyze a range of visual texts, including advertising, social media memes and information graphics

·       Distinguish communication strategies in visual media

·       Critique the role of images in shaping political discourses

·       Asses ethical dilemmas posed by images

·       Generate visual media that reflect key themes from the course
TEXTBOOK:
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Visual CultureHowells and NegreirosPolity0745650716  
Introduction to Visual CommunicationSusan N. BarnesPeter Lang1433112574  
Media Semiotics: An Introduction Second EditionJonathan BignellManchester University Press978-0719062056  
REQUIRED RESERVED READING:
NONE

RECOMMENDED RESERVED READING:
NONE
GRADING POLICY
-ASSESSMENT METHODS:
AssignmentGuidelinesWeight
Midterm 20%
Final Exam 20%
Detailed Image Analysis 20%
Create an Infographic 25%
Participation and AttendanceA combination of class participation, attendance and evidence of reading required texts will be graded.10%
JournalYou are required to keep a journal and take physical notes during class. No computers will be allowed.5%

-ASSESSMENT CRITERIA:
AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

-ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS:
More than three absences will result in the loss of a letter grade if not adequately excused.

You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed. 
ACADEMIC HONESTY
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
STUDENTS WITH LEARNING OR OTHER DISABILITIES
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.

SCHEDULE

Part I: Visual Analysis


Week 1 Introduction to Visual Communication

Howells/Negreiros: Introduction

Barnes: Introduction & Chapter 1

 Bignell: Introduction


Week 2- 4: Visual Theories, Visual Codes, Genre and Intertextuality (Semiotics)


Howells/Negreiros: Chapters 1-4 & 6

 Barnes: Chapters 2-4

Bignell: Chapter 1


Week 5: Persuasion


Barnes: Chapter 13

Bignell: Chapter 2

Midterm


Part II: Images Analysis


Week 6: Media Literacy and Visual Analysis

Barnes: Chapters 5-6

Additional readings: Handout

Introduction to Image Analysis Assignment (first day of week 6)


Week 7 and 8: Typography, Graphic Design and Information Graphic

Assignment: Create an information graphic

 Lester: Chapters 7-9

Barnes: Chapter 7

Bignell: Chapters 3-4

 

Part III: Media Formats


Week 9: Drawing and Painting: From fine art to comics

Howells/Negreiros: Chapter 7

Lester: Chapter 10

Additional Reading: Understanding Comics, Chapter 1 (PDF, available on course website)

Image analysis due


Week 10: Photography

Howells/Negreiros: Chapter 8

Lester: Chapter 11


Week 11: Film

Barnes: Chapter 9

Bignell: Chapter 8

Howells/Negreiros: Chapter 9


Week 12: TV

Barnes: Chapter 10

Bignell: Chapters 5-7


Week 13: Computers and the Web: Memes, Viral Imagery and Culture Jamming

Howells/Negreiros: Chapter 11

Barnes: Chapters 11-12

Bignell: Chapter 9


Week 14: Conclusion: Global Visual Culture

Barnes: Ch 14

Howells/Negreiros: Conclusion

Infographic due (last day of week 14)