There is a 20-student cap on this course. Acceptance will depend on your registration status, attendance on the first day, and a questionnaire that we will hand out on that day. Student from all backgrounds are welcome; the course is interdisciplinary by nature, and diversity will make the discussions that much richer.
The course is not for CS credit
and requires no programming. (Students interested in CS credit may be
able to arrange for this with additional programming assignments.)
Class time will consist of combinations of lecture, discussion, and in-class exercises and projects time. No class except the first one will be all lecture. Some of the in-class projects will be done with traditional materials (such as paper and pencil) and other will require computers. The class will use the MS Lab (CIT Room 167) for computing projects.
The course is divided into three section: A Human Dimension section which takes a humanities approach, beginning with an overview of the history of visual communication and the changing significance of visual literacy. We then look at different visual research methodologies (ways of interpreting images), including semiotic theory. The emphasis shifts in the Technical Dimension to more technical/scientific aspects of visual digital literacy, incorporating data from cognitive and vision science. We integrate the humanities and technical concepts through hands-on drawing and design exercises. With this background, we introduce basic concepts in the computer science aspects of computer graphics and consider its impact on modern thinking and communication. In the final section, Synthesis and Application, the focus of the class will be on applications of visual digital literacy from the fine arts to academic research; work on final projects will also begin during this time.
Grades will be given based on class participation, including evidence of completion of required reading, in-class and take-home projects, and a final project (there is no final exam). Final grades will be mostly a multiplication of these main factors--so if you don't participate in class at all, for instance, you won't pass the course.
We will take background into account: if you are a CS major, we will assess your CS participation more strictly; if you are a visual art concentrator, we will expect more of your drawings and visual art skills than if you had never taken an art course, etc.
Given the experimental nature of the class and the mix of backgrounds, we strongly encourage students to take the class pass/fail.
This is a new and experimental course, but not a gut. You will have to devote time and energy to this course to pass it, no matter what your background is.
The syllabus has links to assignments and projects.
Note: Some assignments will require familiarity with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator (or similar programs). Tutorial sessions will be offered at the start of the semester, courtesy of the CIS PASS program. Our TAs can augment this program as necessary.
CS classes usually feature
a Usenet newsgroup for use as a forum for students and TAs. We have decided
to use the blog model instead in order to take advantage of HTML's rich
support for graphics and formatting. Feel free to use this blog to raise
issues and ask class questions. If you come across links that you think
are relevant to the course, go ahead and share them with everyone.