MAT-110 Digital Imaging 1: Photoshop

MAT-110 (8-week Course)

MAT-110, Digital Imaging I : 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  |  PrerequisitesAdministrative Deadlines and Drops |  HolidaysPass/No-Pass Grading Status Course Description & ObjectivesStudent Learning OutcomesTechnical HelpStudents with Disabilities

Course Requirements
Required Textbooks and SoftwareCompletion of WorkCourse TimelineDiscussion BoardsCritiques

Grading and Assignments
Grading PolicyClass Participation Grading Breakdown + Assignments

The Basics


Leigh Cotnoir,

Meeting Times and Places

  • Course Schedule #1682
  • (8-week course), from March 27 -May 20, 2017
  • Class Meeting Place: ONLINE ONLY
  • Class Sessions: Weekly via Canvas online lessons, discussion boards, and Canvas online conferencing tool
  • Office Hours:
    • Oceanside campus onsite: Mondays 3pm-5pm, OC4621 / OC4622
    • By appointment via Canvas online conferencing tool or telephone



Administrative Deadlines

The following dates apply to this 8-WEEK CLASS deadline schedule. These are not necessarily for other courses you are taking!

  • 4/1/17, Saturday: Deadline to drop class with no record and receive a refund
  • 4/12/17, Wednesday:  Deadline for switching to Pass/No-Pass grading option
  • 5/6/17, Wednesday : Last day to drop without W and to receive a full refund

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.


  • 2/17-2/20 : Lincoln’s and Washington’s Days
  • 3/20-3/25 : Spring Break

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 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.

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 and onsite office hours, 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 (

Course Description

Students will learn practices and principles of digital imaging, illustration, and photographic manipulation using Adobe Photoshop. Students will also gain hands-on experience with the tools and techniques used by artists and designers to create effective and sophisticated digital imagery for print and web publication. The course covers photo editing and color correction tools, working with layers, selection and masking tools, blending modes, filters, and much more to enhance digital images and to create special effects. Projects include raster graphic designs for use in print publishing, website design, and multimedia.

Course Objectives

The detailed course objectives for Digital Imaging I : Photoshop are as follows:

  • Use Adobe Photoshop’s digital imaging tools and techniques for image editing and transformation, tonal and color correction, and special effects.
  • Apply photo repair and color adjustment techniques to generate realistic and stylized image representations.
  • Utilize digital imaging tools to make selections, create gradients, work with layers, manipulate brushes and paint, utilize masks and channels, and incorporate vector drawing techniques.
  • Integrate multiple digital images into a complex form through layer masking, clipping groups, adjustment layers, and filters.
  • Distinguish between raster images and vector graphics and use each approximately within a composite image.
  • Apply fundamental layout and design principles to original digital image work.
  • Apply appropriate color palettes and color spaces to a variety of digital outputs.
  • Assess typographic elements for visual impact and effective communication.
  • Create a cohesive art piece that conveys a distinct message using an assortment of digital images.
  • Construct a professional statement that interprets a digital image’s message and explains the technical devices used in its creation.
  • Analyze and critique selected images for message, quality of design, and proper use of type, color, and composition.
  • Discuss copyright infringement, legal aspects of ownership, and ethical considerations of image manipulation.
  • Analyze and assess personal and royalty-free image resources and evaluate appropriateness for web distribution and/or print production.
  • Use appropriate terminology to describe the relationship between digital imaging software and different hardware input and output devices.
  • Experiment with file formats, image resolution, and exporting options to generate a successful design for either print or web output.

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

Specifically, when you have completed this course, you should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate technical proficiency by using digital imaging tools and techniques to generate output for personal and commercial media arts use.
  2. Combine digital images into complex compositions that incorporate good design principles.
  3. Plan, prepare and design digital imagery that combines technical skills and artistry with good professional practices.

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.

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 Textbook

Photoshop Classroom in a Book textbook cover

Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 Classroom in a Book
Author: Faulkner and Chavez
Publisher: Adobe Press/Pearson
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0134663456




Recommended Textbook

The Photoshop Workbook book coverPhotoshop Down & Dirty Tricks for Designers, Volume 2
Author: Barker
Publisher: New Riders
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0133795646




*These books are available at the campus bookstore, but you might be able to find cheaper used versions online.

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:

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 weekly schedule to find the current week’s folder. Weekly responsibilities will be made available at the start of each week. You should also make note of important due dates under the Canvas “Due Dates” link.

You will be expected to complete ALL assignments. Incomplete assignments will not be evaluated for a grade or in critiques. Because this is a time-intensive 8-week course, you are expected to spend a minimum of 12 hours reviewing lecture and demo materials and at least 10-20 hours outside of class each week on assignments to do well.

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 to get an idea of how it is organized.

Discussion Boards

You will be expected to participate in Discussion Boards 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 Discussion Boards are intended to encourage students to communicate with and help one another—just as they would in an on-ground classroom. Discussion boards will show up in your weekly schedule in Canvas as they are progressively assigned.

With the understanding that our class weeks will be Mondays 12a.m. – Sundays 11:55pm, 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 Collaborate or other online meeting tool as a group in real-time.

“Asynchronous meetings” are recorded sessions that students can watch at any time

This course will require only a few synchronous sessions that total 4% of your total grade, but the vast majority of the course is asynchronously delivered.

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 Canvas online conferencing tool. Critiques will be assigned during the semester.

Grading Policy

You may only turn in a project late up to one full week after the original due/critique date. Any work later than one week overdue will automatically receive an “F” without an excuse from a doctor, court, or police report. 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. While there is not a specific “Participation” evaluation value in your final grade, your level of participation 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:

MAT-110 Grading Breakdown
MAT-110 Grading Breakdown

Class Schedule:

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 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.

Course Orientation

Lastly, you need to watch the course orientation for this class, located in Canvas.

Digital Art, Design, and Communication Education