Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
J 204
Course Title:
Visual Communication for the Media
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Theory and application of visual communication in newspapers, magazines, television news, advertising, and public relations. May include a Service Learning component. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

*Critically and thoughtfully respond to both the explicit and implicit communication of media.

*Understand principles of editing, layout, and visual communication.

*Recognize and read visual images in different media to evaluate the effect they have on individual choices.

*Apply visual approaches to communication.

*Evaluate current and emerging technologies of visual media for their idiosyncrasies, strengths, weaknesses and limitations in order to make the best choice for a specific project or audience.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Students may be required to participate in a service learning component involving assisting in the production of some journalistic venue. Other forms of assessment will be determined by the individual instructor and may include:

  • Qualitative examinations
  • Essays
  • Research papers
  • Portfolios
  • Oral presentations
  • Journals
  • In-class participation
  • Projects
  • Group work

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  • Visual language
  • Visual ways to think and convey information
  • Character and content of visual literacy
  • Composition structures
  • Editing
  • Photography
  • Web design
  • Typography
  • Different visual media
  • Design principles
  • Proofreading
  • Layout
  • Video imagery and graphics
  • Visual movement and composition

Students will be able to:

  • Use visual language-e.g., "parts of sight" design principles, composition, typography
  • Use visual strategies and principles in different media
  • Understand why visual literacy is especially important to journalism and communications fields
  • Define and use the five basic design principles: balance, proportion, sequence, emphasis (contrast) and unity.
  • Apply elemental form of linear structure, framing, lead-ins, triangular composition, suggested motions--repetition, pattern, motif, rhythm, shadow and form, reflection, contrast, texture
  • Differentiate between type classifications groups
  • Apply concepts of composition and form to different media
  • Evaluate design, style, and composition of photography and video
  • Understand the effectiveness and limitation of emerging technologies such as the Internet.