MAT-120 Syllabus

MAT-120, Media Design 1: Production

Syllabus Contents

To jump to a section of this syllabus, select from the links below. Note: These links are only for convenience; students are required to read the entire syllabus.

What Is This Class All About?
Course Description  |  Student Learning Outcomes  |  In a Nutshell  |  Assignments Overview

Nitty Gritty Details
Meeting Times + Places  |  Instructor Contact |  Prerequisites |  Deadlines + Holidays | Administrative Drops |  Pass/No-Pass Grading Status

Student Resources
Technical HelpStudents with Disabilities | Tutoring | Other Academic Support | Personal Support | Student Groups

Course Requirements
Required Textbooks and SoftwareCompletion of WorkCourse TimelineOnline (Synchronous and Asynchronous) | Critiques

Grading Policies
Grading PolicyClass Participation Grading Breakdown

What This Class Is All About?

Course Description

MAT120 “Media Design 1: Production” introduces the fundamental skills needed for the design and production of multimedia projects and interactive programs. Topics include capturing and editing video, images, and audio, basic 3D modeling and animation, and interactive program design and development. The course also covers proper formats for playback through various presentation platforms and the basics of network protocol.

Software Tools: AdobePremiere Pro, After Effects, Audition, Photoshop; Audacity Sound Editor, and others.

Student Learning Outcomes

The MiraCosta faculty believe that students who complete one or more certificates or degrees are systematic, critical, creative thinkers and clear communicators who are intellectually curious, technically proficient, aesthetically literate, and professional. To that end, the faculty has identified seven Program-Level Outcomes that apply directly to the high-level skills you are expected to possess in the workforce:

  • Technical Skills
  • Application of Discipline Skills
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Communication
  • Professional Behavior
  • Aesthetic Literacy and Appreciation
  • Global Awareness and Responsible Citizenship

To achieve this goal, you are expected to achieve competency in the following course-level Student Learning Outcomes (SLO’s), each of which help you achieve one or more of the above program-level outcomes:

  1. Define, plan and schedule the structure and implementation of a multimedia project.
  2. Collect and/or compose various media assets and organize them into logical sequences.
  3. Arrange, assemble and construct an interactive multimedia project and deliver in appropriate format.

In a Nutshell:

This class will have a heavy focus on introductory video production (capturing) and post-production (editing, effects), using industry-standard tools like Adobe Premiere Pro, Audition, and After Effects. You will learn basic 3D modeling principles within the context of motion graphics in service to video production. Furthermore, interface design and/or interaction will also be in service to video delivery and/or the production communication process.

Assignments Overview

  • P1 Stream of Consciousness: Short Video Composite (25%)
  • P2 Grab Bag of Shorties (25%)
  • P3 Final Project (25%)
  • Digital Sketchbook and Personal Portfolio (10%)
  • Canvas Discussions and Participation (15%)

Nitty Gritty Details

Meeting Times and Place

  • Course section #1755
  • Fall 2020 semester : 8/24/20 – 12/19/20
  • Class Meeting Place: Online only
  • Class Sessions:
  • Office Hours: by appointment


Leigh Cotnoir,

Instructor Contact

Text Version:
Regular effective contact and interaction with the instructor will be maintained through weekly instructor-prepared electronic lectures and updates to the class website, weekly email announcements, active online discussion and question and answer forums, timely instructor feedback on student work, weekly online office hours (by appointment), synchronous web conferencing or screen-sharing sessions (by appointment), and through responding to student emails, phone calls, and/or other questions or postings in a timely manner. Students can reasonably expect to hear back from me, the instructor, within 1-3 days (excluding weekends and holidays) for most inquiries. 

Feel free, however, to follow up with me in an email if you haven’t heard from me by the day after your inquiry; occasionally messages can get lost in a shuffle, and it will not bother me if you follow up to ensure that I received your message.

If I expect to be absent and unable to post materials and/or respond to email or discussion forums in excess of three or four days, I will notify the class and make other accommodations. If you have concerns about instructor contact or any other regard, please refer to the Student Conduct, Rights, & Responsibilities webpage.



IMPORTANT Administrative Deadlines!

The following dates apply to this class’ deadline schedule! These are not necessarily for other courses you are taking, as some classes start later than others!

  • 9/6 : Last day to drop without W and to receive a full refund
  • 9/8 : Class Census (non-participating students will be dropped)
  • 9/30 : Last day to switch to Pass/No-Pass grading status
  • 11/20 : Last day to drop the class and still receive a “W” on transcript
  • 12/14 – 12/19 : Final Exam Week

NOTE: I will not agree to a late appeal for a grade change, removal of a W, or to help get a refund if the student fails to abide by the above deadlines.


  • 9/7 : Labor Day
  • 11/11 : Veterans Day (Observance)
  • 11/26 – 11/27 : Thanksgiving Holiday

Regarding Administrative Drops

Text version:
While students are not graded on attendance in this class, participation is included in the grade. If a you are not regularly attending, participating, and/or turning in assignments, you will be subject to an administrative “instructor drop” for lack of participation. If I deem that a your lack of participation will so severely impact the your ability to pass the course, I reserve the right to drop you within the acceptable instructor drop period. It is a college standard that participation in online courses is documented by graded work you turn in, so if you are merely attending online sessions but doing none of the work, you are technically not participating by the standard measure.  Please know that I am not allowed to consider financial aid status as any sort of determining factor to keep non-participating students in the class. Students receiving aid based on number of enrolled units can potentially lose their that aid if an instructor drop puts them below their stated aid threshold.

Pass/No-Pass Grading Status

Text Version:
As a student, you have the have the right to switch your grading status to Pass/No-Pass before the stated deadline above. That means that your grade point average will not be affected at MiraCosta College, and it typically will not have a negative impact on your transcript should changing circumstances prevent you from doing as well as you wanted. This option might be good for people who are on the fence about taking the course because they already have a heavy school and/or employment workload, and are worried about their GPA being negatively affected. You can still take the course without the fear/stress of falling behind and needing to drop later. If you know you plan to transfer to a four-year institution, though, check with that institution to ensure they do not assign a No-Pass grade as an “F” in terms of GPA. While it is rare, some transfer schools have started this practice.

While Miracosta’s Media Arts & Technologies department accepts “Pass” grading outcomes toward their degrees/certificates, some other institutions and degree plans might not allow P/NP electives as transfer units. If you are counting on receiving credit for the class in another degree/certificate program, it is imperative that you check with your advisor to be sure it will count. You also need to ensure that P/NP status will not affect your aid package if you receive a form of financial aid.

IMPORTANT: It is the student’s responsibility to change this grading status with the enrollment office BEFORE the stated deadline above. The instructor cannot do this for students.

Student Resources

MiraCosta College and Media Arts + Technologies faculty care about students as individuals and recognize the need for important support services to help students succeed academically and personally. Below are some important resources we encourage you to take some time to review so that you know what is available to you if and when you need the them.

Need Technical Help or Advice?

While I will do my best to help students out in all areas, there are some areas in which you might need to get assistance from the college’s support desk, especially regarding server connectivity, password problems, and so on. For technical help outside of design software instruction, contact the Student Help Desk.

Frequently requested tutorial links: 

Students With Disabilities

If you have specific physical, psychological or learning disabilities and require accommodations, please let me know early in the semester so that your learning needs may be appropriately met. You will also need to provide documentation of your disability to Disabled Student Programs & Services (DSPS) at 760-795-6658.


The MAT department typically has a dedicated TASC (Tutoring and Academic Support Center) tutor available for drop-in and scheduled appointments. Even if the tutor’s expertise doesn’t lie within the context of this class, the tutor can likely help you with other classes in MAT you might be taking. Additionally, MAT might have additional tutoring within the department available, which will be announced later in the semester if additional tutors are hired.

Other Academic Support

Personal Student Support:

Equity + Diversity Programs and Student Organizations

Get involved in a program to help you achieve your academic, professional, and/or personal goals. There are a lot of groups on campus that provide tremendous support to students. Hover over the links below to find out what these groups are.

Course Requirements

Recommended Textbooks and Media Tutorials:

Adobe Premiere Pro CC Classroom in a Book (2020 release)
(Free! via library O’Reilly/Safari Books Online. 
Click title, use SURF login credentials to access, and search with ISBN.)
  • Author: Maxim Jago
  • Publisher: Adobe Press
  • Pub. Date: April 2020
  • ISBN-13: 9780136483939
Adobe After Effects CC Classroom In a Book (2020) 
(Free! via library O’Reilly/Safari Books Online. Click title, use SURF login credentials to access, and search with ISBN.)
  • Authors: Lisa Fridsma, Brie Gyncild
  • Publisher: Adobe Press
  • Pub. Date: January 2020
  • ISBN-13: 9780136411895

Adobe After Effects CC for Beginners: Learn After Effects CC

  • video tutorial format via O’Reilly/Safari Books Online (free)
  • To access, click the title above, login with SURF credentials, and do a search for the title (or click this link after logging in).

Software, Computer, Equipment, and Media

It is a requirement that students in this class have their own computer when the course is taken as a fully online class. Because this class teaches students to use professional industry-standard software, students will have a much better experience using a computer (Mac or PC) with a minimum of an i5 processor (i7 or higher is better), and 16GB of RAM. If your computer only has 8GB of RAM, you can still do the work, but it might slow you down significantly. If your computer’s RAM is upgradable from 8GB to 16 or higher, consider making the investment to do so. To find out if your computer’s RAM is upgradable, you can use the computer scanner software or you can select your system yourself to find compatible options.

Software that we will be using is as follows:
The Free Software
Software You Must Purchase for this Class
Where To Buy Adobe Software

BEFORE YOU BUY…check with the instructor to see if the school might have free access to the software. Negotiations change every year, right up to the start of the Fall semester.

The best student deal to buy Adobe software is through the following link:

As a MiraCosta student using the link above, you can get the full Creative Cloud annual subscription for a price much lower than Adobe’s student pricing. To buy, you need to go to the link above, scroll down and click the “Shop Now” button under “For Students.”

If you cannot afford to buy the entire annual Creative Cloud subscription as a one-time purchase, you can check out Adobe’s month-to-month pricing here:

You will need the FULL subscription package for this course. You can always start a free 30-day trial and commit to a plan in a month.

Required Equipment Purchases


While this course is taught 100% online during COVID restrictions, students will be unable to checkout audio/video equipment to use. Although students will be allowed to responsibly use Creative Commons and Public Domain audio/video/image resources, they are also encouraged to capture their own content for use. If students wish to capture their own audio/video content, they will need access to a device with a microphone, video camera, and ability to store and transmit high definition content to their computers for editing.

IF TAUGHT ON-GROUND / HYBRID (Future semesters):

    • If the class is taught on campus: USB Headset with earphones (and mic preferable…Logitech is recommended for quality and durability). NOTES ON HEADSETS:
      • You will likely be using this for recording your voice, so the headset is important for eliminating ambient noise.
      • Be aware that expensive gaming headsets often have only basic features available on Mac.
      • Buy something you don’t mind bringing to class is you need to record your voice at school. If you plan on recording at home, have an alternate inexpensive set of earphones/buds, and don’t want to bring your headset to class, you can elect to bring whichever pair you want.
      • Remember that if you buy a wireless set that it will likely come with an easy-to-lose usb adapter that you have to plug into the class computers. Wired is just fine.
    • Flash Media or other storage technology for moving and storing your in-progress work (recommend 16GB or higher)
Optional Equipment Purchases

Some students like having access to their own equipment without having to coordinate checkouts anyway. There will be a range of things that you might want to purchase during the semester, but you will not be required to do so.  Some examples might be inexpensive tripods, smart phone or DSLR mics (~$40-$60), smart phone tripod clips (~$10-15), etc. If you know that you want to buy equipment to keep and use in future projects/classes, you can ask the professor for advice.

Completion of Work

Text version:
You are required to keep up with work during the semester based on the schedule and due dates on our class’ course schedule page. Weekly agenda sections will be made available at the start of each week if not sooner. Most assignments will be much easier if you do your readings and lectures first (or concurrently)!

You will be expected to complete ALL assignments. Incomplete assignments will be evaluated as-is when turned in. Late work can only be turned in up to one full week late after the original due date (with a grade reduction). As the course progresses, students can expect to spend, at a minimum, approximately 6-8 hours a week working on this course’s content to be successful.

IMPORTANT: If you turn your work in on time or make arrangements with me in advance for an extension, you can later revise or improve the work to receive a potentially higher score on the assignment. I believe in helping students create the best portfolio work possible, so I encourage you to keep working on it until it is as good as it can be. 

Course Timeline

Students can look at the instructor’s teaching website at any time for this information about what you are responsible for (and what we are doing in class) at any given time. There will be links in Canvas to this page, as well.

You can visit the online course schedule page now.

Fully Online with Synchronous and Asynchronous Components

Text version:
This course is 100% online this semester. While we are scheduled to meet synchronously via Zoom sessions (in “real-time” together) each Tuesday from 6:30pm – 8:20pm, there might be weeks where we only need to meet for a portion of that time together. Furthermore, synchronous sessions will be recorded for students who cannot attend on occasion, so don’t fret if something comes up once in a while. Participation in these sessions will be monitored though, and live participation will factor into your grade to some extent. This class is a much more fun, robust, and useful class when taken with your community of fellow-learners and not in a vacuum. The remainder of the “class time” will be completed through independent online research, lessons, recorded demos, and tutorials. Remember, it is a four-hour-per-week commitment “in class,” and then you can expect to have a homework on top of those hours most weeks.

Critiques (For Credit)

It is imperative that each student contributes to each critique. A dialogue of constructive criticism is what helps artists and designers find weaknesses and strengths in their work. These sessions are important tools in refining your own self-critiquing and design processes. We will have online and in-class critique sessions for different assignments. Critiques will be assigned during the semester.

Drawings, Artwork, Comps

With some projects, you might be required to create either hand sketches or computer drawings of storyboard ideas before embarking on the full-scale project. You will need to create these precursory drawings with a pencil and paper to avoid getting bogged down by technology. You can can then digitize your hand sketches on a flatbed scanner or by taking photos of them. All materials turned into the instructor must be in digital format.

Grading Policy

You may turn in a project late up to one full week after the original due/critique date. Any work later than one week overdue will be subject to receive an “F” without consent from the instructor . If you know you will be unable to complete work on time, please discuss it with the instructor in advance! Please note that your grade will automatically drop by 10 points for late work. This means that if work is up to a week late, your highest possible grade begins at a 90.

The final project is the exception! ******NO LATE WORK ACCEPTED FOR THE FINAL.****** This is because I have grade submission deadlines I must follow.

Class Participation

Participation is monitored through the following outlets:

  • turning in graded work
  • meeting progressive deadlines for samples, preliminary sketches, etc.
  • contributing to classroom discussions and Q&A
  • critique participation
  • clear communication with the instructor and peers
  • participation in synchronous sessions
  • participation in tutoring

Grading Breakdown:

Letter Grade Assignments
Letter Value Numerical Value
A 90-100
B 80-89
C 70-79
D 60-69
F 0-59
Completed projects will be graded on the following criteria (OVERVIEW):
  1. Instructions (did you follow technical instructions for the assignment?)
  2. Craftsmanship (is the finished piece and presentation clean and well-crafted?)
  3. Overall Composition and Creativity (did you understand and successfully execute the problems presented?)

For detailed grading criteria, you will need to refer to each project outline page. Grading rubrics for specific assignments are available via Canvas.

Grading Definitions
  • A = Outstanding achievement: available only for the highest accomplishment
  • B = Praiseworthy performance: definitely above average
  • C = Average: award for satisfactory performance, most common undergraduate grade.
  • D = Minimally passing: less than the typical achievement.
  • F = Failing.

**No incompletes will be given without EXTENUATING circumstances.


Digital Art, Design, and Communication Education