and Science Graphics
on-campus and online
Office Hours: Wednesday, 5:00 - 6:00
pm, Creese Cafe
#47, Room 323
E-mail: LS39 @
visual communication through graphics, charts, and pictures pervades our public
and private spaces, they seem to receive much less scrutiny than verbal communication.
On the assumption that the creation and consumption of visual language is subject
to misdirected, misunderstood, and even misled communication, this course attempts
to explore the conventions of visual language especially as it is used in the
contexts of science and technology. Through studying the current state of the
art of document design, examining case studies of professional design settings,
and conversing directly with practicing designers, students in this course will
explore such topics as:
- rhetorical nature of visual
- relationships between verbal
and visual language
- perceptual principles for
analyzing visual language
- linear and non-linear elements
of visual language
- non-textual elements in
- macro-level design elements
This course articulates with
the content and goals of other courses in the Department of Culture and Communication,
specificially COM 510 (Technical Communication), COM 520 (Science Communication),
and COM 875 (Ethics for Science and Technical Communication).
Objectives: If you
successfully complete this course, you will be able to:
- use the vocabulary of typography,
page layout, illustrations, and document design to describe and analyze visual
- select visual communication
conventions to appeal to an audience
- justify strategies of visual
design with perception research and reader feedback
- develop and use the power
of revision to create effective reader-oriented visual communication
Text: Roberts &
Kostelnick, Designing Visual Language: Strategies for Professional Communicators,
Allyn & Bacon, Second Edition, (ISBN-13: 978-0-205-61640-4).
course will proceed as a seminar. As such, it will require you to take an active
role in presenting and discussing ideas in class. No midterm or final exams
will be given. Your final grade will be computed on the basis of the following
Assignments: Each week
in this course will require you to prepare a reading and a writing assignment.
Most readings are chapters from the textbook. Click on the chapter designators
in the Reading Due column of the Assignment Schedule for study
guide questions to help you focus on their key terms and concepts.
Most writing assignments are
opportunities to apply the perspectives and principles explicated in the textbook
to your own projects. Click on the items in the Writing Due column of
the Assignment Schedule for specific details. Because the emphasis in
this course is on professional editing, you will be expected to be
sensitive to the importance of deadlines. For this reason, late assignments
will be penalized one letter grade increment for each class day late.
In addition to the ongoing
reading and writing assignments, each of you will give a formal presentation
at some point in the course. Click on the link to presentations
Academic Honesty: It
is assumed that the work you submit for this course, whether written or spoken,
is your own. Any attempt to represent someone else's work as your own is plagiarism.
Plagiarism includes copying another student's work on papers or tests, copying
without attribution the ideas or words from published sources, submitting papers
written in previous semesters, and referring to notes during exams. For more
clarification on plagiarism, see Drexel's
Student Handbook. Such academic misconduct will result in a failing grade
for the assignment, a probable failing grade for the course, and a report to
the Dean for possible disciplinary action. Be advised that internet services
such as EVE 2.3 and Turnitin.com
make the detection of plagiarism easy.
You are expected to attend all classes. Attendance is important to your progress
and your classmates'. Much of what you learn will come from discussions and
interactions with your fellow students. A formal presentation for which you
are absent will be graded as an F. If an emergency prevents you from attending
class (such as a personal illness or family emergency), please contact me in
advance of your absence. You may miss one class without penalty; any additional
absences will reduce your final grade.
Most of the classroom activities for this course will revolve around face-to-face
dialogue—between student and teacher and between student and student.
For that reason your attention to the conversations during class time must be
undistracted. Moreover, as students of communication you must be sensitive to
importance of non-verbal cues. If you text or attend to your laptop during class,
you will give the impression that you are not interested in what is being said.
Please do not use any personal electronic devices while you are in class. If
a personal emergency requires you to attend to your cellphone, please discreetly
excuse yourself from the room.
1, page 147
2, page 196
1, page 239
2003 (1, 2)
2, page 288
2, page 332
2008; Richards 2
refer to chapters in textbook.
refer to pages in textbook.