Class Schedule by 2m3MTq1b


									COM 232                                                                       .

Visual Literacy                         Professor: Juliet Davis
Course Syllabus, Spring 2012  
The University of Tampa       
Office Hours:                           Office: CS Annex 120
Tuesday 4:00-6:00 by appointment        Mailbox #106-F
Wednesday 1:30-4:30 by appointment      Cell: 727.418.8511
                                        (office phone doesn’t work)

       EVIL               GOOD          GOOD


It is one of the great ironies of contemporary existence that we are beset, informed,
controlled, and constructed by images, yet we receive almost no formal training in
understanding and creating visual communication. Visual Literacy addresses this
issue through interdisciplinary study of the terminology and theory of visual
communication, with special emphasis on the relationship of visuality and cultural
practice. Considering ideas from art history, photography, film, mass media, and
cultural studies, students will be asked to analyze visual rhetoric, begin to see
critically, articulate meaning, and author visual rhetoric of their own.

Upon completion of the course, students should be able to:

 read, comprehend, and write critically about theories of representation
 analyze and interpret visual imagery in a wide range of media, developing their
   own ideas and referencing the theories they have read.
 work effectively individually and in groups to develop, present, and discuss ideas

   about visual communication.


Print out syllabus, assignments, articles, and handouts at > class info
 Class Discussion Board: see

 (how to use):
   Turnitin Class I.D.: 4659069 (T/R group); 4659070 (Thurs Nite group)
   Class Enrollment Password: Password1
PLEASE NOTE: You must create your profile in
order to appear in my grade book. Thank you! 


 Movie Rental(s) (as assigned)
 Access to camera (can be cell phone)

 Other Materials (as needed based on individual student project choices)


       95-100                A       Outstanding
       90-94                 A/B     Excellent
       85-90                 B       Very Good
       80-84                 B/C     Good
       75-80                 C       Average
       70-74                 C/D     Below Average
       60-70                 D       Passing
        0-59                 F       Failure


       Participation, Group Work, Class Activities                 20%
       Paper                                                        5%
       Midterm Test (take-home)                                    25%
       Paper                                                       20%
       Final Exam (take-home)                                      30%

       All papers and take-home tests must be submitted to and
       submitted in hard copy to the instructor (both). Take-home tests consist of
       multiple choice, short answer, and short essay.


The course requires strong reading comprehension skills, strong foundational writing
skills, creativity in producing visual projects, and the willingness to stretch in all of
the above areas. Most of the work might be characterized as analytical, interpretive,
and creative. Students are rewarded for taking risks and developing their own ideas
about the theories and media they are discussing. Very often, for example, two
students with completely different ideas receive full credit when both ideas have
been carefully articulated and supported. This is not a class that is based on rote
memorization and testing of “facts.” Instead, tests primarily contain short-answer
and essay questions. A short-answer question might ask a student to explain a
quote from an article that has been discussed in class. Essay questions might ask a
student to compare and contrast theories and/or apply a theory to a particular film,
photograph, television show, work of art, etc. Evaluation criteria consider how
thorough, accurate, insightful, and well supported a student’s writing or discussion


The media we view in this course may depict shocking and sometimes disturbing
images, including but not limited to physical and emotional violence, nudity, racism,
homophobia, explicit sexual behavior, sexist behavior, genocide and acts of extreme
nationalism. Please remember we are scholars working to understand visual
communication in many forms, and doing so requires a broad viewing experience. If
you have sensitivities to this kind of content that you believe would prevent you from
viewing it or cause you unusual discomfort, please notify me privately.

General Class Policies


If you would like to meet during office hours, please email me to arrange a time
( You can also contact me by cell phone at 727-418-8511 (texts
are preferred to voicemail). Additional Notes: I do not hold normal office hours
during Thanksgiving week, Spring Break, and finals week.


While you will not be graded for “attendance” per se, attending class will be the
single most important factor in determining your performance and grade in the
course, so plan to attend every class. In most class meetings you will have a
project, exercise, test, and/or discussion that will impact your grade.


Late projects and papers will be docked 10 points per class meeting overdue.
Assignments are due at the beginning of class so that we can discuss them during
class. If you are late to class, your project will also be considered late. Quizzes,
tests, and exercises can only be made up if a student has documentation of illness or
emergency or the student has contacted me in advance to request an excused
absence due to special circumstances. You are responsible for deadlines even if
printers or other technologies are malfunctioning, so please do not wait for the
day a project is due to print it out. In case of emergency, there is a Kinko’s on
the corner of Tampa Street/Kennedy and Dale Mabry/Kennedy.


These policies are for your protection. Assignments that do not adhere to these
requirements may be lost and/or the grade might not be correctly recorded in the
grade book. Also, remember to keep backups of all work that you hand in.

1) Submit Work By Hand. Work is accepted in person, by hand, unless otherwise

2) Stapled. All essays / written assignments (this does not include artwork or
portfolios) must be stapled or clamped with binder-clipped when submitted in hard
copy (no paper clips, binders, plastic spines, etc.).

3) Info. All assignments should feature the student’s name, project title, assignment
type (most important), class, section day/time, and submission date. When CD’s or
DVD’s are part of the assignment, this info must be written in marker on the disk
(please do not use dry-erase markers for this purpose, as they can damage media).
The word MAKEUP WORK or REVISION must appear in bold if applicable, and a note
should be included with a reminder of the circumstances of such submissions.

Any work that is to be uploaded to must have a receipt
stapled on top of the hard copy (a one-page receipt, please, rather than multiple
pages). Please do not wait until the day a paper is due to learn how to use this
system (see for help). NOTE: To upload a
project with multiple parts, you must copy and paste all text into one document
( only accepts one document per assignment).


When a course requires that rough drafts be submitted for feedback, those
submissions count as participation only—not toward the grade itself. To receive
feedback at any time on your work before submission, feel free to meet with me.


If you have difficulty with basic writing skills, please see the Saunders writing center
for free tutoring.


If you are unclear about why you received a particular grade, please meet with me
to discuss it. The learning process depends on clear understanding of feedback for


If you are unhappy with your performance on a project that has been graded, you
may request to revise work and resubmit the paper for a new grade. Type the word
“REVISION” on it, and staple the original paper to the back. If a revision opportunity
is granted, the deadline for the revision is two weeks after the date the assignment
was returned to the student, or the Thursday before finals week, whichever comes
first. Opportunities to revise are considered on individual bases to students with
substantive ideas for improvement. They are usually not granted for assignments
that primarily show mechanical/grammatical weaknesses, or to students who have
had excessive absences or have failed to complete previous homework or drafts
associated with the assignment, or to students who have already had opportunity to
revise from a draft that has already received feedback.


All work, including any regular work, makeup work, and revision work, must
be submitted by hand on or before the Thursday before finals week.
Regular office hours are not held during finals week.


Unless a student has special permission, a topic can only be used once in the class.
For example, if you have written about Steven Spielberg in one assignment, you
would not be permitted to select him as a topic of another assignment, without
special permission. Students are also not permitted to use topics that have
been featured in class as examples.


The electronic grade book is updated periodically throughout the semester, and you
will receive announcements about those updates. Towards the end of finals week
(usually Friday or Saturday), you will receive a message in your U.T. email account
asking you to check your final grades in the grade book. At that time, it is your
responsibility to review it and report any grade book errors before Sunday at 6:00
p.m. Final grades are submitted to the registrar Sunday night.

It is your responsibility to be able to provide a backup copy of your work in the event
that a submission is lost or your drive crashes. Remember: Hard drives and
external drives are not magical immortal media—sooner or later, they all die
horrible deaths. :)

1) Digital Work.

Save all of your work in TWO places other than school grounds (the student server doesn’t count
because it’s open to other students, who can accidentally delete your files). Here are some tips:

Are you working on your laptop without backing up your work? Are you carrying around a jump
stick and only backing up your files half the time? will back up all your files instantly
from your hard drive to the web—and then allow you to access those files anywhere, across
platforms (any Mac, PC, or mobile device). Your files will automatically update and sync with all
devices. And it’s free.

For larger files (e.g., video, graphics), you will need an external drive for working in the labs, and
then you will need to back up those files continually—for example, to a home hard drive or a
second external drive.

2) Non-digital Work.

The instructor is not responsible for lost or damaged projects, so please copy any
original non-digital artwork and submit only copies (for example, drawings,
paintings, collage elements, original photos, historical newspaper clippings,
handwritten text used in artwork, etc.). Please do not give me an original photo of
your great-great grandmother. I will probably spill coffee on it. 


If you use the computer lab, you are expected to adhere to the lab rules and
procedures posted to Blackboard and to exercise courtesy and professionalism at all


If the course involves group work, a group report is submitted with the project,
indicating the percentage of work each member contributed, and grades are prorated
based on that percentage (see group work report template). Members may switch
groups, but must make up their percentage of work. Any members who are not
pulling their weight may be “dismissed” by their groups. Dismissed group members
must complete the entire project by themselves or find another group that will take
them in. Dismissals and group switches must be coordinated with me.


Original ideas are the foundation of meaningful discussion, critical thinking, creativity
and productivity. I am primarily interested in YOUR ideas. Even when we read
outside sources, I am interested in YOUR ideas about them. Properly citing sources
allows us to make distinctions between your ideas and those of others. By accepting
this syllabus, you are agreeing that 1) you are familiar with the University of
Tampa’s provisions regarding academic integrity posted at;
2) that you will read the information on plagiarism and MLA style documentation
posted at the Purdue OWL web site (; and 3) that
you will ask me any questions you might have about these policies. Written work
must be submitted solely for this course, and collaboration with other students is
only permitted when it is approved by the instructor. Students will be held
accountable for plagiarism whether it was intentional or unintentional, just as they
are accountable for breaching any university policy or breaking the law (such as a
speed limit), whether the act was intentional or unintentional. I report all plagiarism.
Sanctions for violation of academic integrity and academic misconduct may include a
failing grade in an assignment or in the course, or suspension or expulsion from the
University. Violation of academic integrity and academic misconduct tarnish the
reputation of the University and discredit the accomplishments of past and present


Students will be contacted regularly through their U.T. email addresses, so you will
need to check your U.T. email boxes daily and are responsible for all information that
is emailed to you. For convenience, you might want to have your U.T. mail
forwarded automatically to another account (e.g., yahoo, aol or hotmail account).
Contact the I.T. Help Desk at (813) 253-6293 or ext. 6293.

Victims Advocate Hotline: (813) 257-3900

If you are a victim of sexual assault or other crime (whether by a stranger,
acquaintance, or family member), people are standing by to help you. You will not be
required to reveal your name or what happened to you. There is a victim advocate
on call 24 hours a day, during the fall and spring semesters, to provide information
and support. An advocate may also be reached by contacting Campus Safety or
the Dean of Students Office. While the hotline does not operate during both the
summer and winter breaks, an advocate may be reached through the Campus Safety
Office or by leaving a message. Students are also encouraged to report sexual
assault to the Tampa Police Department or the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office
(see contact info below).

Victims Advocacy Hotline (813) 257-3900
Silent Witness Form (Anonymous Report):
Campus Safety 813) 257-3900
Tampa Police Department (813) 231-6130
Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (813) 247-0501

Counseling Center

The University of Tampa counseling center, located in the Dickey Health and
Wellness Center directly behind Austin Hall, provides free counseling to all full-time
undergraduate students. The counseling center staff is on call 24 hours a day for
emergencies. Phone: (813) 253-6250 Email: After
Hours: Contact Campus Safety at (813) 257-7777. Students may also call 911 or
the Hillsborough County Crisis Hotline at (813) 234-1234.

Student Assistance Program

Assistance is available on campus for students who have substance abuse problems
or who know others who have problems. The University of Tampa provides a Student
Assistance Program for alcohol and other drug issues. For more information on the
program, please call (813) 257-1777 or e-mail


If you are a student who has special needs because of any disability, please go to
Ms. Linda Ashburn in the Office of Student Disability Services in PH 415 (x3302), to
self-disclose and provide supporting documentation. Please feel free to discuss your
disability with me in private.


In case of any adverse condition or situation which could interrupt the schedule of
classes, each student is asked to access for information about the status
of the campus and class meetings. In addition, please refer to for
announcements and other important information, and check your U.T. email for
messages from your instructor. You are responsible for accessing this information.
 (bold) = Work Due that day
 (blue) = Class Administration
 (orange) = Power Point or Media
“Reference” indicates that an optional reading is available that relates to the topic (not required).
Schedule may change at instructor’s discretion. Additional assignments may be given any time.

WK     Date         Topics/Assignments

1      R 1/17       Introduction to Class (PPT) / Student Introductions
                    Reminder: View the movie Signs by Week #4.

                    Assignments for Next Week:
                    1) Print out syllabus, assignments, articles, and handouts at
             > class info
                    2) Create a profile at
                    3) Read the Assignments document.

       R 1/19       NO CLASS
                    Identify and discuss a film you’ve seen that you believe contained layers of
                    meaning that might not be readily noticed by others. We have shown various
                    examples in class—now see if you can come up with your own. Introduce the
                    film, your idea, and descriptions or examples of your points. Read your
                    classmates’ posts as well and respond to at least one of them.

       T 1/24       Discussion Board Due: Film Discussion
2                   Topic: Visual Elements and Principles
                    PPT: Elements and Principles of Visual Imagery

       R 1/26       PPT: Bronzino in-class exercise
                    Introduction to Art Analysis Paper Assignment
                    Field Trip Information (remember to bring paper and pencil for notes)
                    (Reference CH 2 from Picturing Texts, “Looking Closer”, pp.98-124
                           (share pp. 116-123 and skim images through 149). Hopper.
                    Reference Helfand’s “Squaring the Circle”

3                   Feel free to bring friends / relatives.
                    Meet on location at time/place designated in class.
                    Take notes on two to three works of interest to you.

                    Assignment for Next Week
                    1) First draft of Art Analysis Paper due 2/9
                    2) Film screening due next class: Signs

       T 2/7        Topic: Writing Your Next Paper
4                   Movie Viewing Due: Signs
                    PPT: Intro to Midterm Paper Assignment (due 4/12)
                    See the sample student paper at and other
                    samples at
             Topic: Film
             All Film Viewings Due (see required viewings)
             Intro to Film (screening examples)

    T 2/14   Worksheet and Screening: Insomnia
    R 2/16   Group Work: Discussion of Insomnia
             Reference: Paper Assignment
             Pre-reading: Sontag
             Pre-reading: “How to Read Critically and Interact with Texts”

             Assignment for Next Class
             1) Read “How to Read Critically and Interact with Texts”
             2) Read Sontag: “On Photography” (download .pdf)
             3) Discussion Board: Select a photograph to link to and discuss in terms of
             one of Sontag’s ideas (try to discuss one of her more complex theories). The
             more complex your discussion is, the more credit you will receive. Bring the
             hard copy of your photo to class for group discussion.

    T 2/21   Topic: Photography
6            Reading Due: Sontag’s “On Photography”
             Discussion Board Due: Sontag
             Class Discussion and Group Work
             Photography books

             Introduction to Creative Project: Due in Week #15 for participation.
             Screening: One Hour Photo

             Assignment for Next Class
             Discussion Board 2: Explain ways you think the movie One Hour Photo
             might relate to Sontag’s ideas.

    T 2/28   Discussion Board Due: One Hour Photo
7            Discuss One Hour Photo

    R 3/1    Midtern Take-Home Test Distributed via Email


9            Remember to submit hard copy with receipt stapled on top
             Topic: Semiotics and Advertising
             PPT: Semiotics (up to icon slide)

    R 3/15   PPT: Fetish
             Group Work: Advertising and Fetish (see last slide of PPT)
             Pre-reading: “Soft-soaping Empire”

             Assignment for Next Week:
             1) Read “Soft-soaping Empire: Commodity Racism and Imperial Advertising”
             (pages 506-512; stop at “Monkey”)—from Imperial Leather: Race, Gender,
             and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest by Anne McClintock (download .pdf).

             3) Discussion Board: Write a brief summary of the article, and then give a
              personal response. How many different kinds of soaps do you use?
              Advertising tells us they are embued with what kind of magical powers? Give
              at least one specific example that you explain well. What other fetishized
              objects take on fetish powers in your life? Explain. Teacher’s Reference:
              Barthes’ Mythologies

     R 3/22   Discussion Board and Reading Due: McClintock’s “Soft-soaping Empire:
              Commodity Racism and Imperial Advertising”
              Pre-reading: Foucault’s Panopticism

              Assignment for Next Class
              1) Discussion Board: Paper Topics (Brinstorming topics for your next paper)
              2) Reading, Screening, and Discussion Board:
              View the Frontline documentary called Merchants of Cool
              ( and read Foucault's
              "Panopticism" (paragraphs 1-13)
              sh.panOpticism.html). Then, post a comment about how the Panopticon
              relates to Merchants of Cool. How is it similar? How is it different? For
              example, how does the "giant feedback loop" mentioned in the documentary
              relate to the panopticon? By the way, what were your personal reactions to
              Merchants of Cool?

     T 3/27   Reading Due: Foucault’s “Panopticism”
11            Discussion Board Due: Merchants of Cool/“Panopticism”
              Discussion Board Due: Paper Topics for Discussion
              Introduction to “Representing the Body” and Assignments

              Assignment for Next Class
              1) Read John Berger’s article on nudes (download .pdf)

              2) Summarize the article: Set up two columns on a sheet of paper: one called
              “naked” and the other called “nude”. On one side, list the attributes Berger
              refers to as belonging to a “naked” image, and on the other side, list attributes
              that Berger refers to as belonging to a “nude” image.

              3) Discussion Board: Find a historical or contemporary image (in a magazine
              or on the Internet) that you could clearly describe as “naked” or “nude” based
              on the article you have read. Write a paragraph in which you 1) identify it as
              naked or nude, 2) describe the image, and 3) explain why your description
              qualifies it as naked or nude, based on Berger’s article. Include a link to your
              image in your discussion. Be careful! Berger’s definitions are probably
              different from your own. The “nude” is not a “classy naked lady”—it is the
              objectified state.
     R 3/29   Topic: Representing The Body
              Reading and Discussion Board Due: Berger’s “Naked and Nude”
              PPT: Berger’s Naked and Nude

              Assignment for Next Class
              Discussion Board: Select one of the works and/or artists below to research on
              the Internet, on television, in film, in magazines, or in other media. Please
              note that some of these images might be considered particularly shocking or
              disturbing (they are marked with asterisk*). 1) Describe the work briefly and
              explain the ideas you believe are intended. 2) Describe your personal
              reactions to the work. 3) Discuss ways in which you believe the work is
              exploitative and/or non-exploitative and why. How do you define exploitation?
              Would you consider some of the images to be “pornographic”? How do you
              define pornography? We will discuss some of them in class. Remember to
              include links to your images.

              1) Sally Mann’s photographs of her children
              2) Shelby Lee Adams’ images of Appalachian families*
              3) Vanessa Beecroft’s performances
              4) Robert Mapplethorpe’s X Portfolio images ***
              (contains homoerotic and sado-masochistic imagery)
              5) Jessica Loseby’s shockwave piece entitled Textual Tango
              6) Nudism: Lutz, Florida, is the nudist capital of the U.S., with several luxury
              resorts such as Caliente and Paradise Lakes. Travel Naturally is a nudist
              6) The Intruder (web site by Natalie Bookchin)
              7) Introduction to the television show Crossing Jordan (A&E).
              8) A true crime show that examines “evidence” (your choice)
              9) News photos with graphic depictions of the body (your choice)
              10) A video game that focuses on the body (your choice)
              11) A film that features the body graphically (your choice)
              12) An ad that features the body prominently
              13) Pornographic images that do not feature nudity compared to those that do.
              (Discuss how you are determining what is “pornographic” and provide
              examples.) ***
              14) Imagery of violence to the body that you consider to be exploitative,
              contrasted with violent images you consider to be non-exploitative (Discuss
              the contexts of these images and how you see them as different)

     T 4/3    Discussion Board Due: Exploitation
12            Continue “Naked and Nude”
              PPT: “Exploitation”
              Reminder of Creative Project due in Week 15 for participation.

     R 4/5    Screening: The True Meaning of Pictures:
              Shelby Lee Adams' Appalachia (71-minute Documentary)
              Discussion Continued: Exploitation

              Assignment for Next Class:
              1) Read: Sherry Turkle’s Article “Construction and Reconstruction of Self in
              Virtual Reality”
              2) Discussion Board: Summarize what you believe the main ideas are in
              Turkle’s article. Then, state whether you agree or disagree with her and why.
     T 4/10   Conclusion of “Exploitation”
13            Reading and Discussion Board Due:
              Turkle’s “Construction and Reconstruction of Self in Virtual Reality”

     R 4/12   No Regular Class: Individual Student Consultations
              Consultations are to help students with papers, creative projects, and
              preparation for final exam. Sign up at

     T 4/17   No Regular Class: Individual Student Consultations
14            Consultations are to help students with papers, creative projects, and
              preparation for final exam. Sign up at

     R 4/19   PAPER DUE: Visual Interpretation / Cultural Contexts
              Final Exam Review

     T 4/24   Creative Project Presentations for Participation / Discussion
              Please note: Students will only receive credit for creative presentations if they
              attend their classmates’ presentations as well (unless there is documentation
              of illness or emergency).

     R 4/26   Creative Project Presentations for Participation / Discussion
              Please note: Students will only receive credit for creative presentations if they
              attend their classmates’ presentations as well (unless there is documentation
              of illness or emergency).

     W 5/2    (NO CLASS)
16            FINAL EXAM DUE
              Upload your final exam to by 6:00 on Wednesday, 5/2.

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