MAT-120 Syllabus

MAT-120, Media Design 1: Production

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Course Details

  • Section: #1375
  • Semester: Fall 2021, 8/25/20 – 12/17/20
  • Meetings: OC4622, Thursdays 11am-12:50pm
    • +2 hours of asynchronous activities weekly
  • Instructor: Leigh Cotnoir | Email: | Office: OC4621
  • Instructor Zoom Room:
  • Office Hours: To be announced

First, What Is This Class All About?

Catalog Course Description

This course introduces the fundamental skills needed for the design and production of multimedia projects and interactive media. Topics include capturing and editing video, images, audio, motion graphics, basic 3D animations, and interactive media design. The course also covers digital media presentation formats, services, and platforms and the basics of network protocol. 

Primary Software Tools: AdobePremiere Pro, After Effects, Audition, Photoshop, Illustrator, XD or Figma; Audacity Sound Editor, and others as necessary.

In Other Words….

MAT 120 teaches technical and creative skills for producing projects in a variety of media, with particular production focus on video, motion graphics, basic 3D concepts, and user interface design. That being said, students will learn core knowledge that applies to print media, such as fundamentals of raster and vector graphics, grid-based design, typography, and composition. In addition, students will learn fundamentals of time-based animation, and audio production. Students will apply the Elements and Principles of Design and Art in all projects to create technically and conceptually sound compositions. Furthermore, this class emphasizes the importance of artisitc and design process, including research, writing, ideation, iterative development, documentation, and hands-on production. Students will be expected to produce portfolio-oriented work in this course.

Lecture and lab activities will address the following topics:

Multimedia project design

  • Concept development and visualization
  • Storyboards, project architecture, scripts, and content development
  • Composition, artistry, typography, and design principles
  • Technical specifications and resolution issues
  • Content ownership rights, Creative Commons, Fair Use provisions.

Interactive media design

  • Content strategy
  • Interface design
  • Navigation design and architecture
  • Interaction and functionality integration
  • Debugging and optimization.


Production process

  • Original content creation and stock content utilization
  • Video capture and editing
  • Audio capture and editing
  • Raster and vector image utilization
  • Motion graphics creation
  • Text, titling, and typographic development
  • Basic three-dimensional animation techniques
  • Professional software and hardware tool exploration and utilization.

Output and publishing

  • Understanding of target output device resolutions and capabilities
  • Utilization of current streaming publication services for multimedia projects
  • Utilization of current publication platforms for interactive projects
  • Utilization of file management practices and network protocols.

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.

Assignments Overview

  • Digital Sketchbook and Personal Portfolio (10%) … [examples]
    • Learn interface design foundations, basics of web CMS, and overview of platform publishing options
    • Create online site to record project process documentation
    • Apply content strategies for web content delivery
    • Apply core concepts: good compostion, typography, color, hierarchy, grid
    • Upload process assets and share creative work
  • Stream of Consciousness: Short Video Composite (25%) … [examples]
    • Apply foundational knowledge learned about raster, audio, and video media (including resolution, manipulation, and output)
    • Utilize technical production tools/software
    • Apply core concepts: good compostion, typography, color, hierarchy, sound balance, keyframing, tweening, editing
    • Apply creativity: ideation, writing, exploration, research and asset collection, assembling, editing, refining
    • Apply digital rights knowledge: Public Domain, Creative Commons, Royalty-free, Fair Use
  • UI/UX Prototype (15%) … [examples]
    • Apply content strategies for web/app content delivery
    • Research, plan, design, prototype, test, and refine a user interface
    • Apply creativity: ideation, writing, exploration, research and asset collection, assembling, editing, refining
    • Apply core design concepts: audience, compostion, typography, color, hierarchy, grid, usability, target device resolutions
    • Utilize technical production tools for design and collaboration
  • Grab Bag of Shorties (15%) … [examples]
    • Apply knowledge learned about raster, audio, and video media (including resolution, manipulation, and output)
    • Utilize technical production tools/software
    • Apply core concepts: good compostion, typography, color, hierarchy, sound balance, keyframing, tweening, 3D, editing
    • Apply creativity: ideation, exploration, research and asset collection, assembling, editing, refining
    • Apply digital rights knowledge: Public Domain, Creative Commons, Royalty-free, Fair Use
    • Apply understanding of audience, technical specs, short-form media applications, and publishing platforms.
  • Final Project (25%) … [option 1 examples] | [option 2 examples]
    • OPTION 1: Produce one 3-5min documentary, creative, or educational video.
      OPTION 2: Produce long (1-2min) and short (10-24sec) form promotional videos for a single brand.
    • Apply knowledge learned about raster, audio, and video media (including resolution, manipulation, and output)
    • Utilize technical production tools/software
    • Apply core concepts: good compostion, typography, color, hierarchy, sound balance, keyframing, tweening, 3D, editing
    • Apply creativity: ideation, writing, exploration, research and asset collection, assembling, editing, refining
    • Apply digital rights knowledge: Public Domain, Creative Commons, Royalty-free, Fair Use
    • Apply understanding of audience, technical specs, short and/or long-form media applications, and publishing platforms.
  • Canvas Discussions, Critiques, and Participation (10%)

Course Requirements

Textbooks and Resources:

Foundations of Digital Art and Design with Adobe Creative Cloud
>ISBN: 978-0135732359
>Author: Burrough, Xtine
>2019, 2nd edition, New Riders

Multimedia Foundations: Core Concepts for Digital Design
>ISBN: 978-0415740036
>Author: Costello, Vic
>2016, 2nd edition, Routledge

Instructor’s Digital Media Rights (and free resources) page

Optional, Recommended:
Adobe Premiere Pro CC Classroom in a Book (2020 release)

>ISBN-13: 9780136483939
>Author: Maxim Jago
>2020, Adobe Press
>FREE 2019 version of this book available through library’s subscription

Adobe After Effects CC Classroom In a Book (2020) 
> ISBN-13: 9780136411895
> Authors: Lisa Fridsma, Brie Gyncild
> January 2020, Adobe Press
> FREE 2019 version of this book available through library’s subscription

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, i9 or better is ideal), 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 and make you want to punch your computer. 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

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.”

Required Equipment Purchases
    • 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 in our class’ Canvas site. 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 will refer to the course’s Canvas website to view the class schedule.

Hybrid Format

Text version:
This course section is a hybrid format, which means we will meet half of our time on-ground and the other half of “class time” will be completed through asynchronous independent online research, lessons, recorded demos, and tutorials. Interactive participation in this course is important. This class is much more fun, robust, and effective when taken with your community of fellow-learners and not in a vacuum. The purpose of utilizing this hybrid format is to provide students in-person access to the instructor, fellow student dialogue, and to the tools on campus…all while allowing the flexibility of doing some of the lessons at your own pace at times that work with your schedule. 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. Do not confuse online “in-class” learning time with allocating time to complete “homework.”


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.

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.

Nitty Gritty Details

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!

  • 9/2 : Last day to drop without W and to receive a full refund
  • 9/6 : Class Census (non-participating students will be dropped)
  • 9/26 : Last day to switch to Pass/No-Pass grading status
  • 11/18 : Last day to drop the class and still receive a “W” on transcript
  • 12/12 – 12/17 : 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.


  • 9/5 : Labor Day
  • 11/11 : Veterans Day (Observance)
  • 11/24 – 11/25 : 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.

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