MAT-210 Syllabus

MAT-210, Digital Imaging 2 :
Advanced Photoshop

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.

The Basics
Meeting Times + Places |  Instructor Contact  |  PrerequisitesAdministrative Deadlines and Drops |  Pass/No-Pass Grading Status HolidaysCourse DescriptionStudent Learning OutcomesTechnical HelpStudents with Disabilities

Course Requirements
Required Textbooks and SoftwareCompletion of WorkDiscussion BoardsSynchronous vs. AsynchronousCritiques and Artwork Comps

Grading and Assignments
Grading PolicyClass Participation Grading Breakdown + Assignments

Class Orientation Videos

The Basics

Meeting Times and Place

  • Course number #1937
  • Spring 2019 semester : 1/22 – 05/24
  • Class Meeting Place: ONLINE ONLY
  • Class Sessions: Weekly via Canvas announcements, discussion boards, and synchronous open lab hours for student assistance and collaborative feedback
  • Office Hours:
    • ONLINE: By appointment via the Canvas  online conferencing tool.
    • ON CAMPUS: OC4621/4622 (4600 building) -> TBA


Leigh Cotnoir,

Instructor Contact

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 the instructor within 1-3 days (excluding weekends and holidays) for most inquiries. If the instructor expects to be absent and unable to post materials and/or respond to email or discussion forums in excess of three or four days, she will notify the class and make other accommodations. If you have concerns about instructor contact or any other regard, please refer to the section on Students Rights in the MiraCosta College catalog (


MAT-110 Digital Imaging I (Photoshop).

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!

  • 2/3 : Last day to drop without W and to receive a full refund
  • 2/4 : Class Census (non-participating students will be dropped)
  • 2/22 : Last day to switch to Pass/No-Pass grading status
  • 4/25 : Last day to drop the class and still receive a “W” on transcript
  • 5/21 – 5/24 : Final Exam Week

NOTE: the instructor of this class 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. You have been warned.


  • 1/21 : Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • 2/15 : Lincoln Day (Observance)
  • 2/18 : Washington Day
  • 3/18 – 3/23 : Spring Break

Regarding Administrative Drops

While students are not graded on attendance in this class, participation is included in the grade. If a student is not regularly participating and turning in assignments, s/he will be subject to an administrative drop by the instructor for lack of participation. This behavior pattern is equivalent to missing too many classes in an on-ground course. If the instructor deems that a student’s lack of participation will so severely impact the student’s ability to pass the course, she reserves the right to drop you within the acceptable instructor drop period. Please know that a student’s financial aid status has no bearing on the instructor’s decision. 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

All students 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, and it 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.

While MiraCosta’s Media Arts & Technologies department accepts “Pass” grading outcomes toward their degrees/certificates, some other institutions and degree plans will 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.

Course Description

This course is designed to build upon knowledge and skills gained in MAT 110. In this course you will acquire advanced digital imaging techniques for image design and production including color correction and management, photo montage, retouching, and special effects. Through specific projects, you will develop higher-level compositing techniques, such as selections with alpha channels, use of clipping paths, creating complex layer masks, and the control of color through adjustment layers and color profiles. At the same time, you will learn work flow efficiency and time-saving techniques to speed work production. This course involves multiple projects designed to prepare digital files for printing at service bureaus as well as web publication.

This advanced course is vital for those wishing to pursue a career in Graphic Design. MAT 210 is an advanced course that is a requirement option for the Graphic Design Certificate and for the AA in Graphic Design. It is a must for those who enjoyed MAT 110 and who wish to learn more advanced techniques.

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, professional, and aesthetically literate. To that end, the faculty have identified six Student Learning Outcomes (SLO’s) that apply directly to the high-level skills you are expected to possess for the professional workforce:

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

Student Learning Outcomes specific to this course are the following:

  1. Using digital imaging tools, apply advanced editing techniques, unique special effects, and modern output methods to generate creative compositions.
  2. Construct digital photo composites that convey a distinct sense of artistic style and an innovative incorporation of design principles.
  3. Analyze, construct, and transform digital imaging compositions using professional standards, industry best practices, and oral and written communication.

(Note: the above SLOs will be achieved by honing skills with the following tools and techniques within Photoshop: 

Adobe Bridge, Camera Raw, color profiles, adjustment layers, color correction, reparation, advanced selections, painting methods, advanced brushes and fills, layers, filters, masks, vector tools, smart objects, web asset preparation tools, video animation, and other areas as assigned.)

Need Technical Help or Advice?
While I will do my best to help students out in all areas, I will not be acting as technician during this course. Your system is your responsibility. I cannot troubleshoot your system problems.

For tutorials using the College’s learning management system or the SURF enrollment system, check out the Student Help Desk’s tutorials page.

Are you prepared for an online class?

Please go through all the linked sections in the list of MiraCosta online course preparation tips.

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 Students Programs & Services at 760-795-6658.

Other Important Student Resource Links:

Course Requirements

Required Textbooks (x2)

Visual Alchemy textbook coverVisual Alchemy: The Fine Art of Digital Montage (FREE Online)
Author: McIntyre
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Language: English
This book is available for FREE through MiraCosta’s Safari Books Online subscription.

The Photoshop Workbook book coverThe Photoshop Workbook: Professional Retouching and Compositing Tips, Tricks, and Techniques (Free Online!)
Author: Dewis
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0134008462

This book is available for FREE through MiraCosta’s Safari Books Online subscription.
The Photoshop Workbook resource files are available via the Safari Books link, but you can also download from either the Peachpit Press website as two large zipped files. Alternatively, you can download them by chapter as necessary from our class’ Canvas site. If on a fast connection, it is easier to download from Peachpit by going to the following link: . The link will prompt you to sign in or register for a user account. Once you go to the link above after logging in, you will see the resource files for download.

Required Video Tutorials (FREE)

Assigned selections from: 
Photoshop CC Masterclass, Part 1 by Martin Perhiniak
Photoshop CC Masterclass, Part 2 by Martin Perhiniak

Software and Computer

Because this is an online course, students are expected to have access to a computer that meets the minimum requirements. Furthermore, it is the instructor’s recommendation that students also have decent speakers or a headset to listen to video lectures and tutorials, as well as access to high-speed internet (cable, DSL, or better connection). Students on dial-up modems might experience some problems getting the content delivered in a timely or useful manner.

Software that you need is as follows:

  • Most current version of Photoshop CC (Creative Cloud)
    • Lower versions of Photoshop are not acceptable due to some advanced functionality within the application.
    • Photoshop Elements NOT OKAY!
    • If you don’t want to buy the full Creative Cloud subscription, you can buy the “Photography” CC subscription, which gives you access to Photoshop, Bridge, and Lightroom.
  • Free SFTP program for connecting to the MAT server (recommendations below)
  • Browsers (at least one of the following

Where To Buy Software

The best 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 even 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:

The ‘Photography’ package will suffice for this course, but if you are enrolled in other design classes using other Adobe products, be sure to see if it makes more sense to get a larger plan. You can always start a free 30-day trial and commit to a plan in a month.

Completion of Work

You are required to check into the class each Monday to see what you are responsible for doing each week. You will look in the Canvas learning management system under our course link to find the current week’s module. Weekly modules will be made available at the start of each week.You should also make note of important due dates by checking out your Canvas calendar page, where you can also click the “Calendar Feed” link to get a link to add Canvas announcements to your regular calendaring system (such as Apple Calendar or Google Calendar). Lastly, due dates for graded work can also be found in a tidy list at the bottom of the Canvas version of the syllabus

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.

Discussion Boards

You will be expected to participate in Discussions almost every week, and sometimes more than once a week. In a normal classroom environment student-to-student interaction is just as important as student-to-teacher interaction; this is also true in an online learning environment. Because students will not be participating in any group projects for this course, the Discussions are intended to encourage students to communicate with and help one another—just as they would in an on-ground classroom. Discussions will also show up in your weekly modules as they are progressively assigned.

With the understanding that our class weeks will be Mondays 12a.m. – Sundays 11:59pm, you will make weekly posts according to the instructions in each individual discussion forum. Be aware that each forum has different requirements and due dates, so follow instructions to receive credit. You will NOT receive “late” credit for discussion boards, as they are specifically to engage you at that point in the course, as if you were in class. There is a technical help forum, however, to which you will contribute throughout the semester, which has a much longer-range due date. You may contribute as many posts as you want, as long as you meet these minimum requirements for credit. This participation will help the class stay lively, allow students to play active roles in helping other classmates, and foster a better understanding the course material. These forums are intended to serve several discussion roles:

  • Act as technical help boards for peer-to-peer help
  • Act as a place for students to share observations about web design techniques, methods, and trends
  • Serve as a place for students to share course-relevant design news and links
  • Serve as a place for students to share their own web work links and get constructive feedback / critiques
  • Discover that other people are experiencing similar problems, and find similar resolutions
  • Share observations about problems in scripts, misprints in the book, etc.

Lastly, some common sense rules apply to these forums: always be constructive in your criticism; always be respectful and courteous, and use good judgement so as not to post offensive material.

Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Sessions

“Synchronous meetings” are ones where we log into the Canvas conferencing tool or other online meeting tool as a group in real-time.

“Asynchronous meetings” are recorded sessions/lectures/demos that students can watch at any time.

This course is primarily asynchronous, but you will be required to attend at least TWO  synchronous sessions to receive full credit for the Synchronous Online Participation Sessions worth a total of 8% of the final semester grade.

There will be a series of scheduled synchronous online sessions this semester offered at varying times to give everyone the best possible opportunity to participate. Students are encouraged to attend as many as possible, but you have to fully participate in at least two for full credit. If you cannot fully participate (i.e. speak and give feedback), you will need to attend more than two sessions to receive full credit.

The instructor will take attendance at each session and add points to each student’s score for this “assignment” so that it will increase throughout the semester.

For instance, if you can’t attend the first session, but you fully participate in the second and third sessions, you would receive “0+4+4”, totaling the full 8 points. If, however, you only fully participate in a single session, you would only receive 4 of the 8 possible points. Another scenario could be that you passively attend a session without giving any input at all, but later fully attend another session, and then finally miss all remaining sessions…this would give you the following: 2+4+0 = 6 total.

Session dates will be determined based on project due date cycles and student availability. The instructor will send out a survey to find times best for most students to help construct a rotating time schedule. This schedule will be announced within the first few weeks of the semester.

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 critique assignments for each project, either through discussion boards or the Canvas online conferencing tool. Critiques will be assigned during the semester.

Drawings, Artwork, Comps

With most projects, you will be required to submit component images, sketches, color, and texture research you intend to use as the basis of your design ideas before embarking on the full-scale project.  All materials turned into the instructor must be in digital format in graded discussions.

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.******

Class Participation

This is an online course, so class participation is monitored in a variety of ways. In addition to the synchronous sessions, your level of participation in other areas will often help determine borderline grades, flexibility in missed work, etc. Participation is monitored through the following outlets:

  • meeting progressive deadlines for samples, preliminary drafts, etc.
  • doing required work in class during each class
  • participation in discussion boards
  • evaluations of critiquing skills

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 based on criteria in Project Rubrics listed in Canvas assignment outlines. But here’s a very basic 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 and Canvas rubric.

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 incomplete grades will be given without EXTENUATING circumstances.

Class Orientation 2-Part Video Playlist

To view larger, first click the video to start playback, and then toggle the lower right YouTube full screen button button for full screen. You can also increase/decrease the playback speed by clicking the settings (gear) button YouTube settings button .

Connecting to the MAT class server

Learn how to log into the MAT server where you will upload your work when turning files in for evaluation:

Digital Art, Design, and Communication Education