Introduction

Welcome to EDIT 5564: Visual Literacy. In your professional life, education and daily life, you will encounter and interact with images and visual materials on a regular basis. This course will provide you with the knowledge and skills to be visually literate both in your daily life and in an instructional design context. Someone who is visually literate cannot only critically consume and interpret visual messages; they can also design and develop effective visuals in a variety of settings. In this course you will learn how to effectively find, interpret, use analyze, evaluate, design, and create visual messages and understand ethical issues surrounding the access to and creation of visual media.



Course Objectives (1)

  • Find and access needed images and visual media effectively and efficiently
  • Interpret and analyze the meanings of images and visual media
  • Evaluate images and their sources
  • Use images and visual media effectively
  • Design and create meaningful images and visual media
  • Understand many of the ethical, legal, social, and economic issues surrounding the creation and use of images and visual media, and access and use visual materials ethically
  • Integrate visuals in your professional life


Lessons

Lessons       Description
Lesson 1: Introduction to visual literacy In this lesson, you will be introduced to visual literacy. You will learn what visual literacy is and why it is important to be visually literate. You will find examples of visuals that you believe are particularly effective and visuals that may rather be ineffective for the purpose they have.
Lesson 2: Visuals and perception You will learn how the brain processes visual information and how people perceive these visuals. You will learn about Gestalt psychology and cognitive information processing of visuals.
Lesson 3: Visuals and emotions You will learn about Bang’s visual principles and learn how visuals can convey certain emotions. You will analyze such visuals and will also create visuals that convey specific emotions.
Lesson 4: Visuals and semiotics You will learn the basic principles of semiotics. You will learn about signs, signifiers, denotation, connotation, myths, and stereotypes. You will analyze and evaluate images based on semiotic concepts.

Lesson 5: Visuals and photography

You will learn basic principles of photography. You will create photographs and learn about concepts such as the rule of thirds, ISO, depth of field, aperture, and shutter speed.

Lesson 6: Visuals that move

In this lesson, we will transition from analyzing and creating still-images to moving images. The focus is on the analysis and creation of video. You will learn about basic cinematographic and mise-en-scene concepts.

Lesson 7: Data visualization and infographics

While words and speech are often used in training and instruction, visuals are much less used. People often do not find it easy to visualize information. In this lesson, you will learn how to visualize data and information. You will create your own infographic.

Lesson 8: Visuals and storytelling

In this lesson, you will learn how to tell stories with visuals. You will analyze wordless stories and design their own visual story.

Lesson 9: Visuals and ethics

You will learn about the ethical, legal, social, and economic issues surrounding the creation and use of images and visual media, and access and use visual materials ethically. You will discuss the use of Photoshopped and doctored images. They will also learn about copyright issues regarding the use of visuals.

Lesson 10: Visuals and learning In this lesson, you will learn how visuals can enhance learning. You will learn and apply principles that have been proven to promote learning. You will also design and develop visuals to enhance learning.


Readings Required Materials

For this course you will be asked to read various articles and book chapters. All books and articles used in this course should be available online via the Virginia Tech University Libraries. Below, see the lessons and associated readings.


Lessons Readings
Lesson 1: Introduction to visual literacy
  • Required: Felten, P. (2008). Visual literacy, Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 40(6), 60-64, DOI: 10.3200/CHNG.40.6.60-64
  • Recommended: Bamford, A. (2003). The visual literacy white paper. Adobe Systems.
Lesson 2: Visuals and perception
  • Required: Chapter 2: Gestalt Grouping (pp. 25-68) of the book: Zakia, R. D. (2013). Perception and imaging: Photography a way of seeing. New York: Focal Press.
  • Required: Section 1: Getting Graphics (pp. 19-40) of the book:
  • Malamed, C. (2011). Section One: Getting Graphics. Visual language for designers: Principles for creating graphics that people understand. Rockport Pub.
Lesson 3: Visuals and emotions
  • Required: None
  • Recommended: Bang, M. (2000). Picture this: How pictures work. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books.
Lesson 4: Visuals and semiotics
Lesson 5: Visuals and photography
  • Required: None
Lesson 6: Visuals that move
  • Required: Yale University’s Film Studies Program. (2002). Mise-en-scene. Retrieved from http://filmanalysis.yctl.org/htmfiles/mise-en-scene.htm
  • Recommended: Chapter 2: Exploring a Material World: Mise-en-Scène (pp. 42-74) of the book: Corrigan, T., & White, P. (2004). The film experience: An introduction. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave MacMillan.
Lesson 7: Data visualization and infographics
  • Required: Chapter 6: Designing Infographics (pp. 271-303 and Chapter 7: Design Resources (pp. 305-338) of the book: Krum, R. (2014). Cool infographics: Effective communication with data visualization and design. Indianapolis, Indiana: John Wiley & Sons.
Lesson 9: Visuals and ethics
Lesson 10: Visuals and learning
  • Required: Chapter 4: Graphics and Learning (pp. 49-63) from: Clark, R. C., & Lyons, C. C. (2011). Graphics for learning: Proven guidelines for planning, designing, and evaluating visuals in training materials. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.
You are also required to choose two of the following chapters from the same book (of Clark & Lyons, 2011):
  • Chapter 5: Plan Graphics That Direct Attention (pp. 65-83)
  • Chapter 6: Plan Graphics That Leverage Prior Knowledge (pp. 85-95)
  • Chapter 7: Plan Graphics That Minimize Irrelevant Mental Load (pp. 97-113)
  • Chapter 8: Plan Graphics to Help Learners Build Mental Models (pp. 115-133)
  • Chapter 9: Plan Graphics That Support Transfer of Learning (pp. 135-150)
  • Chapter 10: Plan Graphics for Motivation and Learning (pp. 153-166)


Course Grading

The following scale will be used in determining final grades:

Points       Percentage Grade
232 - 250 93-100% A
225 - 231 90-92% A-
217 - 224 87-89% B+
207 - 216 83-86% B
200 - 206 80-82% B-
192 - 199 77-79% C+
182 - 191 73-76% C
175 - 181 70-72% C-
167 - 174 67-69% D+
157 - 166 63-66% D
150 - 156 60-62% D-


Submitting Assignments

We have created an online student interface that allows you to submit assignments, check grades, and review the assignment rubrics. This will allow the graders to organize and grade your activities in a timely manner, and provide useful feedback. When an assignment has been graded you will then be able to log back into this interface to view your score and any feedback that was given. The student interface will also allow you to review the grading rubrics for each assignment. Please bookmark this direct link to the SASI (online student interface).



Honor Code

Each learner is expected to abide by the Virginia Tech Graduate Honor System Pledge, as stated below. All assignments and activities in this course are expected to be the learner's own work; no outside assistance may be used.

The tenets of the Virginia Tech Graduate Honor Code will be strictly enforced in this course, and all assignments shall be subject to the stipulations of the Graduate Honor Code. For more information on the Graduate Honor Code, please refer to the GHS Constitution at http://ghs.graduateschool.vt.edu/



Support

If you have any questions about this module, please contact us at itma@vt.edu



References

For this course you will be asked to read various articles and book chapters. All books and articles used in this course should be available online via the Virginia Tech University Libraries. Below, see the lessons and associated readings.


Lessons References
Use of images/vectors throughout the course All vectors are either adapted from Freepik.com or created by Evelien Schilder unless otherwise noted. The course content and images have been created by Evelien Schilder unless otherwise noted.
Course Overview
  • Association of College & Research Libraries. (2011). ACRL visual literacy competency standards for higher education. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/visualliteracy
Lesson 1: Introduction to visual literacy
  • Felten, P. (2008). Visual literacy, Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 40(6), 60-64, DOI: 10.3200/CHNG.40.6.60-64
  • Metros, S. E. (2008). The educator's role in preparing visually literate learners. Theory into Practice, 47(2), 102-109.
  • Oxford English Dictionary. (2010). Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
Lesson 2: Visuals and perception
  • Malamed, C. (2009). Visual language for designers: Principles for creating graphics that people understand. Beverly, Massachusetts: Rockport Publishers.
  • Oxford English Dictionary. (2010). Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
  • Zakia, R. D. (2013). Chapter 2: Gestalt grouping. Perception and imaging: Photography a way of seeing. New York: Focal Press.
Lesson 3: Visuals and emotions Image sources
  • http://fc04.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2012/199/c/7/sad_teddy_by_trinefina-d57pa3z.jpg
  • http://www.wallpaperup.com/uploads/wallpapers/2013/12/30/210447/68bfb079b20f6506f26620763e31dfa3.jpg
  • http://img-1.onedio.com/img/2r0/53b690389c54d0f049ee0975.jpg
  • http://image.desk7.net/Landscape%20Wallpapers/10275_1280x800.jpg
Other references
  • Bang, M. (2000). Picture this: How pictures work. San Francisco, California: Chronicle Books LLC.
Lesson 4: Visuals and semiotics
  • Bignell, J. (2002). Media semiotics: An introduction. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press.
  • Chandler, D. (2014). Semiotics for beginners. Retrieved from http://visual-memory.co.uk/daniel/Documents/S4B/sem10.html
  • Streeter, T. (1998). Introduction to semiotics and media. Retrieved from www.uvm.edu/~tstreete/semiotics_and_ads/introduction.html

Lesson 5: Visuals and photography

All images in this lesson have been taken by Evelien Schilder and Tonny Schilder

Lesson 6: Visuals that move

  • Artis, A. Q. (2008). The shut up and shoot documentary guide. Oxford: Elsevier.
  • Barrance, T. (2014). Learn about film (videos on shot sizes and camera angles and position). Retrieved from http://vimeo.com/learnaboutfilm
  • Black, J. (2002). The reality effect: Film culture and the graphic imperative. New York: Routledge.
  • Giannetti, L. D. (2014). Understanding movies. Englewood Cliffs, N.J: Prentice Hall.
  • All images in this lesson have been taken by Evelien (models have signed release forms)

Lesson 7: Data visualization and infographics

  • IBM. (2012). Demystifying big data: Decoding the big data commission report. Retrieved from https://www-304.ibm.com/events/wwe/grp/grp004.nsf/vLookupPDFs/Tim%20Paydos%27%20Presentation/$file/Tim%20Paydos%27%20Presentation.pdf
  • Krum, R. (2014). Cool infographics: Effective communication with data visualization and design. Indianapolis, Indiana: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Malamed, C. (2009). Visual language for designers: Principles for creating graphics that people understand. Beverly, Massachusetts: Rockport Publishers.
  • Office of National Statistics. (2013). Infographic guidelines. Retrieved from http://theidpblog.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/infographic-guidelines-v1-0.pdf

Lesson 8: Visuals and storytelling

  • Lambert, J. (2010). Digital storytelling cookbook. Retrieved from http://static.squarespace.com/static/505a3ab2e4b0f1416c7df69a/t/51c3458be4b096e91f04d680/1371751819981/cookbook_sample.pdf
  • Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2010). Universal principles of design. Beverly, MA: Rockport Publishers
  • Matthews-DeNatale, G. (2008). Digital storytelling, tips and resources. Retrieved from https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI08167B.pdf
  • Schank, R. (1995).Tell me a story: Narrative and Intelligence. Northwestern University Press. ISBN 0-8101-1313-9.

Lesson 9: Visuals and ethics

  • Association of Research Libraries. (2007). Know your copy rights. Retrieved from http://www.knowyourcopyrights.org/bm~doc/kycrbrochure.pdf
  • DeVoss, D. N., & Platt, J. (2011). Image manipulation and ethics in a digital-visual world. Computers and Composition Online. Retrieved from http://www.bgsu.edu/cconline/ethics_special_issue/DEVOSS_PLATT/
  • Grabe, S., Ward, L. M., & Hyde, J. S. (2008). The role of the media in body image concerns among women: A meta-analysis of experimental and correlational studies. Psychological Bulletin, 134(3), 460-476. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.134.3.460
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art. (2012). Faking it: Manipulated photography before Photoshop. Retrieved from http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2012/faking%20it
Lesson 10: Visuals and learning
  • Clark, R. C., & Lyons, C. C. (2011). Graphics for learning: Proven guidelines for planning, designing, and evaluating visuals in training materials. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.
  • Image sources: Evelien Schilder, Freepik, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Mariana Ruiz Villarreal

(1) These objectives closely align with ACRL’s Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education: http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/visualliteracy.