DTC 201: Spring 2020: Syllabus

NOTE: in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, WSU has mandated that all classes transition to online distance learning. As part of that process, some aspects of this syllabus have been updated. The affected sections include the Time + Place and Grading.

WHEN:201.04: Monday / Wednesday / Friday, 1:10–2:00 p.m.
WHERE:Online via Blackboard, Panopto, and Zoom (previously held in Avery 104 or Spark 210)
INSTRUCTOR:Tor de Vries ([email protected])
OFFICE:Online via Zoom (was previously Avery 483, sometimes Spark 102)
HOURS:Throughout the week; schedule appointments online


From the WSU DTC course catalog:

201 [ARTS] Tools and Methods for Digital Technology
An introduction to the tools and methods of production for multimedia authoring in digital contexts.

Specifically, this course is an introduction to key Adobe Creative Cloud software as well as the concepts and methods of production. Material covered will include:

  • Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Premiere Pro, and InDesign,
  • the introduction of technical concepts regarding image production,
  • the use of vector and bitmap graphics,
  • digital and print design,
  • copyright and licensing,
  • audio and video production,
  • and more.

Ideally, this course will provide an overview of various areas of media production available within the DTC program. It should also connect to concepts introduced in DTC 101: Introduction to Digital Technology & Culture, providing a foundation for the understanding and creation of digital humanities projects. Critical analysis and creative production as it relates to digital technology and culture are key. DTC 201 serves as a prerequisite for later DTC courses, such as DTC 336, where techniques and concepts from the course will be explored in further detail.

This course requires students to work through provided online software tutorials in addition to in-class demonstrations. Additionally, specific classes will be scheduled in computer labs for students to work and ask questions.


Course-specific goals include:

  • Practice core techniques for the production of digital media, including:
    • File management and file types
    • Photographs, graphics, fonts, page layouts, audio/video
    • Adobe Creative Suite software: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere
    • Audio and/or video recording and editing
    • Digital curation of finished projects, such as on web portfolios
  • Assess information and research sources to fulfill technical and creative goals
  • Engage in independent and project-based learning, as well as collaborative critiques
  • Establish awareness of the history of digital technology and related principles of design
  • Practice creative design and analysis of digital media

DTC-specific learning outcomes include:

  • Demonstrate competency with technology for designing and distributing digital works in various mediums.
  • Demonstrate competency with design principles through both the production and analysis of media objects.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the history of technological development, from local to global perspectives, and its implications for a variety of mediums.
  • Effectively communicate through writing and speech why and how digital media texts make meaning.


The calendar has been completely upended by the COVID-19 shutdown. As a result, the previous schedule no longer applies. Check with your instructor.

Students are encouraged to refer to the academic calendar often to be aware of critical deadlines throughout the semester. The academic calendar can be found at http://registrar.wsu.edu/academic-calendar/.


  • Digital storage:
    • USB thumb drive (4 GB minimum) exclusively for DTC 201. Always bring your drive to class. Be prepared to hand it in for certain projects. Label it with your first and last name and DTC 201 Spring 2020.
      • Make sure it is formatted to work on both Windows and Mac computers as described here.
    • Cloud storage (4 GB minimum) such as Google Drive or Dropbox. Your work should be backed up to your cloud storage frequently, and at times you may turn in assignments by sharing links to cloud files.
  • Access to computers and the Adobe Creative Cloud design software necessary for completing projects.
    • If you do not have your own personal computer and subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud software, you must use the Spark Media Lab 210, the Spark Design Studio 115, the Creativity Suite (Avery 451), or the Dimensions Lab (Holland Library, first floor) outside class. Check online for hours and availability.
    • If you want to work on your own computer, you can purchase a subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud at a student rate. Do not rely on the free trial versions. Remember, even if you have your own laptop, files must always be accessible on class lab computers as well.
    • For tutorials, you will need headphones/earbuds.
  • A free Google account and access to Google Sheets. If you have a Gmail account, you already have a Google account. However, you can register for Google without Gmail.
  • A free account on YouTube. You will need a Google account to create a YouTube account.
  • A portfolio account on Behance.com or Dribbble.com (as noted later in the semester).
  • You may be required to print some assignments throughout the semester.
    • There is a Cougar Copies print station on the first floor of the Spark building for normal 8.5 x 11 black and white printing.
    • You may also be required to pay for one high-quality large format print at BCU Printing Services this semester. This will cost around $20.


We will be using Blackboard (learn.wsu.edu) to provide grades and detailed information for our class. Course readings, videos, assignment information, instructor presentations, and other materials will be available there. You will also be expected to submit all your assignments via Blackboard.  You will also be able to access the most up-to-date information about your grade in Blackboard.

Class reminders and urgent updates will be sent by e-mail through Blackboard. Make sure you check your WSU e-mail regularly.

You can contact the instructor through email at [email protected]. Do not expect me to respond outside of normal weekday hours: 8am to 5pm, Monday through Friday.


Grade and other information on each assignment and assessment will be available on the course's Blackboard site.

The grade distribution is as follows:

  • 60%: Major Projects (3 projects @ 20% each) (was previously 4 projects @ 15%)
  • 30%: Tests (3 tests @ 10% each) (was previously 4 tests @ 7.5%)
  • 10%: Attendance and participation in activities: pop quizzes, tiny projects, peer reviews

This class covers a lot of material quickly. Your attention to material, and attendance in class, is an essential aspect of your learning. If you are absent, even if it is excused, you may miss critical information. Disruptive class behaviors may be counted as absences.

For each hour of lecture equivalent, students should expect to spend 1–2 hours outside of class on work for this class, though it will vary by student and project.

In general, late work will never be accepted. It would be better to submit a draft or incomplete work and get a low grade, than miss a deadline and get a zero.  However, in cases of illness or emergency, contact me ahead of the deadline to discuss whether an extension can be granted.

For tests: your grade is strictly based on the percentage of correct answers.

For projects: if you meet the bare minimum requirements as described in each assignment, you will be given a grade of 75% (C, or 2.0). Your grade can go up from there with additional effort and attention to detail.

There is no curve on grading in this class. The grading scale is as follows:

A94% – 100%4.0C+77% – 79%2.3
A –90% – 93%3.7C74% – 76%2.0
B+87% – 89%3.3C-70% – 73%1.7
B84% – 86%3.0D+67% – 69%1.3
B –80% – 83%2.7D60% – 66%1.0


This course has four main projects. Grading will be based on the student’s mastery of tools and techniques, engagement of creative concepts, and presentation. More details will be provided as the semester proceeds.

Project 1: Dada Reality
Based on Augmented Reality (AR) readings and information presented in class, create a digital collage of reality with an imaginary augmented reality overlay in the style of Dada art and protest. Apply your understanding of collage and photomontage as well as principles of design and composition. Create your collage in Adobe Photoshop, using the techniques, tools, and best practices covered in your tutorials and class demos.

  • Bitmap graphics: Introduction to Photoshop, scaling and cropping images, resolution, image formats, use of layers, image adjustments/enhancement, and selections.
  • Research techniques: Using open-access images, Creative Commons licenses, and locating appropriate instructional tutorials to expand technical knowledge
  • Art history and design: Visual language of 2-D design, history of collage and photomontage.

Project 2: Travel Posters
Based on the space transportation possibilities described in class, create travel posters promoting space trips, imitating historical advertising styles that will be discussed in class. Create your posters in Adobe Illustrator, using the techniques, tools, and best practices covered in your tutorials and class demos.

  • Vector graphics: Introduction to Illustrator, understanding the difference between bitmap and vector formats and when to use each.
  • Design: Fonts, legibility, visual hierarchy, history of advertising aesthetics.

Project 3: Mental Movies
Use found video clips to create video sequences based on mental exercises in class. Assemble your videos in Adobe Premiere, using the techniques, tools, and best practices covered in your tutorials and class demos. You will upload your final videos to YouTube.

  • Video production: Introduction to Premiere, editing separate video clips into a full video.
  • Research techniques: Using videos from public domain and Creative Commons sources, and locating appropriate instructional tutorials to expand technical knowledge.
  • History: Introduction to concepts of video montage history.

Project 4: Magazine Profile & Web Portfolios
Create a sample magazine profile of yourself in Adobe InDesign of your work so far in the class.

  • Print Design: Introduction to InDesign, with special considerations of multipage document layouts.
  • Web Portfolio: Convert your profile into an online portfolio.


Some work may require students to spend additional time in available lab space outside of class. Available labs include:

Check online for hours and availability.


  • Practice digital mindfulness. Give your full attention to your instructor and your classmates when they are speaking to the class, even in the computer lab. Don't use your laptop or other digital device unless it is specifically for class work.
  • Be on time to class. We start class on time, and you might miss important or interesting news!
  • Work diligently outside class. Expect to spend 1-2 hours per class per week to complete projects and readings.
  • Be prepared to work when you come to class. Save your files so you can open them on the lab computers. Always bring your thumb drive to class.
  • Read and watch carefully. Take notes during class demos and as you complete tutorials.
  • Save everything, twice. If you are working on digital projects, save your files to your USB drive and also to your cloud storage. This is the safest way to make sure you don't lose your valuable work.
  • Don't be shy. If you miss a class, need help, or have questions, talk to the instructor. If you don't have time after class, see him during office hours or make an appointment.
  • Check your WSU email daily. That's how class-related reminders and urgent announcements will be shared.


Work you create in this class may be available on the internet. As a result, your work and your name may be publicly linked to our class without any further discussion beyond this note in the syllabus.

If you have concerns about the public display of your work, or about your name being publicly attached to this class during your enrollment, please let the instructor know.



Academic integrity
Washington State University, a community dedicated to the advancement of knowledge, expects all students to behave in a manner consistent with its high standards of scholarship and conduct. Students are expected to uphold these standards both on and off-campus and acknowledge the university’s authority to take disciplinary action. The purpose of these standards and processes is to educate students and protect the welfare of the community.

University instructors have the authority to intervene in all situations where students are suspected of academic dishonesty. In such instances, responsible instructors retain the authority to assign grades to students considering, from an academic standpoint, the nature of the student action. More information regarding responding to academic integrity violations can be found at: http://conduct.wsu.edu.

In this course, students who violate WSU’s Academic Integrity Policy will receive a failing grade on the assignment and, depending on the infraction, a failing grade in the course.  Additionally, the student will not have the option to withdraw from the course pending an appeal, and will be reported to the Office of Student Conduct.

Cheating includes, but is not limited to, plagiarism and unauthorized collaboration as defined in the Standards of Conduct for Students, WAC 504-26-010(3). You need to read and understand all of the definitions of cheating: app.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=504-26-010.

If you have any questions about what is and is not allowed in this course, please ask the instructor for clarification before proceeding.

Decorum & Respect
This class will maintain academic decorum, meaning that all respectfully expressed positions will be accepted into the discussion and responded to in kind. Agreement is by no means a goal of the course. However, civility is a skill that will be practiced at all levels of interaction (group discussion, written assignments, etc.).

Preferred identities & pronouns
This course affirms people of all gender expressions and gender identities. If you prefer to be called a different name than what is on the class roster, please let me know. Feel free to correct me on your gender pronoun. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Personal technology etiquette
In order to ensure a productive learning environment, students are required to turn off or set your personal communication device to silent during class time. In general, disruptive use of technological devices will result in a significantly lowered grade. If disruption/disrespect of the classroom environment persists, absences will be marked.


Students should make every effort to attend lectures and lab times. WSU allows for some excused absences according to the following guidelines.

  1. University Sponsored: Any student who is required to participate in off-campus, university-sponsored activities such as field trips, musical performances, judging teams, intercollegiate athletic events, etc., should obtain an official Class Absence Request form from the faculty or staff member supervising the off-campus activity. The form must contain specific information concerning the activity and date, be signed by the supervising faculty or staff member, and be submitted by the student at least one week in advance to the individual instructors of the student’s classes. It is recommended but not required that a student not be penalized for absence from class provided a properly signed Class Absence Request form has been filed with the instructor prior to the absence. These university sponsored absences are subject to an instructor’s attendance policy and are not intended to imply additional acceptable absences. In all instances, it is the student’s responsibility to make up all work missed. Problem cases should follow the Academic Complaint Procedures, Rule 104.
  2. Military Service Members: Students who are members of the National Guard or a reserve branch of a military service are occasionally required to miss class for weekend drills, active duty, and related responsibilities. In such a case, instructors should not penalize students for the absences and should allow them to make up the missed work. In each instance, it is the responsibility of the student to inform the instructor of the duty before the absence and complete the missed work as soon as reasonably possible.
  3. Religious Holidays: Washington State University requires that reasonable accommodations be made in regard to religious holidays.
  4. Other Absences: Students must sometimes miss class meetings, examinations, or other academic obligations affecting their grades due to personal circumstances. It is the responsibility of the student to provide a written explanation for the absence to the instructor as soon as it is reasonable to do so. When possible, students should provide appropriate documentation for their absence but instructors cannot require written excuses from health care professionals.

Students who attempt to gain advantage through abuse of this policy (e.g., by providing an instructor with false information) may be referred to the Office of Student Standards and Accountability for disciplinary action.


WSU Email Policy
Current university policy states that all email communication must be sent to student’s official WSU email address. The instructor will not reply to course-related student correspondence from a non-WSU.edu email address.

Student Records
Please review information about the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) at the following website: http://www.ronet.wsu.edu/Main/Apps/FerpaInfo.ASP. Each department is responsible to maintain the confidentiality of student records in accordance with FERPA. Questions regarding the access to or release of student records may be referred to the Registrar’s Office at 509-335-5346.

Reasonable Accommodations
Students with Disabilities: Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability. If you have a disability and need accommodations to fully participate in this class, please either visit or call the Access Center (Washington Building 217; 509-335-3417, accesscenter.wsu.edu) to schedule an appointment with an Access Advisor. All accommodations must be approved through the Access Center.

Service/Emotional Support Animals: Please review the campus policy. Pets are not allowed on campus and service animals must be registered with the WSU Access Center.

WSU Safety Statement
Washington State University is committed to enhancing the safety of students, faculty, staff and Classroom and campus safety are of paramount importance at Washington State University, and are the shared responsibility of the entire campus population. WSU urges students to follow the “Alert, Assess, Act” protocol for all types of emergencies and the “Run, Hide, Fight” response for an active shooter incident. Remain ALERT (through direct observation or emergency notification), ASSESS your specific situation, and ACT in the most appropriate way to assure your own safety (and the safety of others if you are able).

Please sign up for emergency alerts on your account at MyWSU. For more information on this subject, campus safety, and related topics, please view the FBI’s Run, Hide, Fight video and visit the WSU safety portal.

OEO Syllabus Statement
Discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct (including stalking, intimate partner violence, and sexual violence) is prohibited at WSU (See WSU Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct (Executive Policy 15) and WSU Standards of Conduct for Students).

If you feel you have experienced or have witnessed discriminatory conduct, you can contact the WSU Office for Equal Opportunity (OEO) and/or the WSU Title IX Coordinator to discuss resources and reporting options. (Visit oeo.wsu.edu for more information, including a list of confidential and other resources)

WSU employees, with limited exceptions (e.g. confidential resources such as health care providers and mental health care providers – see oeo.wsu.edu/reporting-requirements for more info), who have information regarding sexual harassment or sexual misconduct are required to report the information to OEO or a designated Title IX Coordinator or Liaison.