MSCD ART DEPT_syllabus Policies_S11

Introduction To Digital Art and Design/ ART 1531

Metropolitan State College of Denver

Spring 2011

Sat. 9am-2.45pm  WC 244A

Professor: Phillip Faulkner

Course Description

This course introduces the computer as a tool for artists. It develops students’ visual language and provides an introduction to digital creation. Students learn to conceptualize ideas in artwork, navigate software interfaces and present artwork in classroom critiques. At the end of the semester you should possess the necessary skills to go on to more advanced applications and concepts in digital art making and other visual fields.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this course, the student should be able to:

• Define digital art terminology.

• Acquire and develop a critical understanding of the use of visual language as it applies to our culture, political and social development, and artistic understanding.

• Discuss and utilize elements and principles of design.

• Recognize the relationships between art, culture, and technology.

• Acquire basic working understanding of the Macintosh computer through printing, scanning, digitization, image manipulation and a variety of software applications.

• Describe and discuss technical and compositional aspects of finished and in- progress work.

• Participate in group critique and evaluation of art works.

• Manipulate formal elements to convey meaning.

• Begin to articulate and reflect on concepts developed in artwork within the context of a written artist statement.

Required Learning Tools

Digital Art (second edition) by Christiane Paul

(available at the bookstore,, & on reserve at the library)

• USB flash memory stick (2 gb or better)


Attendance is required. If you are not in class, you are considered absent. This class meets twice weekly; three absences will be tolerated before a final grade is affected. A fourth absence will lower your grade by one full letter (B to C, for example). Each absence beyond the fourth will lower the final grade by another full letter grade.

You are reminded that lateness is both rude and distracting. Please make every effort to be punctual. Excessive tardiness will prejudice your final grade. Attendance is always required on Studio Days. It is expected that you will be properly prepared to work during class time. If you are not prepared to complete the required work on the required day you will be considered absent.

You are required to work outside of class on assignments and projects. There will not be enough time during class times for you to complete your assignments.  Projects are due at the beginning of class on critique days. If you present work on the first day and then do not attend the second day of critique, you will lose a letter grade on that project.  Failure to attend the final critique will result in a failing grade for the course.

Due Dates

All assignments are due at the start of class on the day indicated on the assignment sheet. If you are late so is your work. Work will not be accepted unless you arrive with it. Due dates coincide with critiques and your work will not be critiqued unless you are in attendance on the relevant day. Failure to complete an assignment on time will result negatively on the project grade. It is the student’s responsibility to complete each assignment in a timely manner. It is the student’s responsibility to resolve each assignment in accordance to the written instructions given. In addition, it is the student’s responsibility to confirm and/or clarify a point prior to resolving an assignment. Class time and/or office hours are appropriate times to do this.  Incomplete work will not be given “suggestions” during critique. If the student requires additional explanation, this will be offered at the end of critique if time is available, or in office hours.

Please Note

I do not accept assignments that contain any work from other courses or any older work. Opinions on such work may be sought in office hours. If your intent is to re-interpret an idea from another class you must disclose this fact before making the work to verify that it is acceptable.  Do not guess or assume my position regarding use of previously existing material. Lack of disclosure or other deceit will result in a failing grade for the assignment.


Please note: This course may be discussing, reading or viewing content of a sexual nature and content may express diverse political points of view.  Please feel free to leave class in the event that the material bothers you.

Breakdown of Letter Grades

This course is comprised of smaller technical assignments and larger projects. Assignments are weighted at 40% and projects are weighted at 60%.  Assignment grades are generally graded as complete / incomplete. Your grade for individual projects will be an evaluation of creativity AND craftsmanship. Creativity is your individual and unique approach to the assignment. Craftsmanship is your level of mastery of the technical aspects of digital art, including presentation. Other factors that will affect your grade include participation in class discussions, ability to respond to criticism and relate to suggestions for improvement to your work. Active participation in class can raise your grade.  The converse is true. Extra Credit is available upon request.

Project Grades:

A =  Superior – The grade A indicates that work is superlative and surpasses expectations for the assignment, that critique participation is exceptional, often leading discussions with full interest in other students’ ideas and work.

B =  Above Average – The grade B indicates that work is extraordinary and goes beyond the minimal requirements of an assignment, that critique participation is exemplary and fully respectful of other students’ ideas.

C =  Average – The grade C indicates that work is completed as assigned, that participation in the critique is regular and fully respectful of other students’ ideas.

D = Below Average – The grade D indicates that work is completed, but is not completed as assigned, that participation in critique is sporadic or minimal.

F =  Failure – The grade F indicates that work is not completed as assigned and that there is minimal or no participation in the assignment critique.


A major component of the course is the ongoing development of an ability to comment upon work made by oneself and one’s peers. It is beneficial to receive such comments as they can accelerate ideas and act as motivation for future work. Your participation in critique is important. It will be considered as a component of your project grade and your final grade. Attendance of all class critiques is MANDATORY. Failure to attend critique on your day to show your work will result in a failing grade for that project. Failure to attend when your fellow classmates are showing will result in a lowering of one letter grade of your project. Being late to critique is disruptive, rude and hindering to the overall atmosphere. Failure to attend final class critique days will result in a failing course grade. It is important for everyone to be present and to start on time in order to adequately critique everyone’s work. Your participation in critique is important. It will be considered as a component of your project grade and your final grade.

Open Studio

Studio time will be built into this class. This time is for you to work under supervision in the studio. This is the best time to ask me specific questions about your work, get feedback on your work in progress.  It is expected that you will have enough work to occupy the full class period.

Computer Issues

Occasionally, problems do arise. Files can be accidentally erased, disks can be corrupted, networks can crash, and printers can break down.

Be prepared! Backup all files. Disks are cheap. Time is not.

Course Policies


•          When in class, work should be done for this class only.

•          It is expected that distracting items, unrelated to this course, do not interfere with the studio experience.

Please Note

If you intend to be absent from class due to a religious holiday you must inform me within the first week of class — in writing. Any later request may result in a lack of flexibility for rescheduling. If you are requesting accommodations, then you must present documentation from the Access Center. You are reminded that Access Center Documentation is not retroactive.

One response to “syllabus

  1. Zeb Pfeifer

    This class is going to be a real challenge for me. I am a skilled visual artist in all other media. Communication Design is what i really want to do, making advertisements, logos, ect. I know learning how to use computers will advance my skills and am excited to see how I can create images mixed with crystal clear text.

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