media tech class policies


Students will learn the basics and some advanced techniques in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. Illustrator skills are in high demand in news and advertising careers. Photoshop is useful in news and necessary in advertising. Students will also learn about the ethics of photo manipulation, and how those ethics differ in news and advertising.


Students will learn not just the how-to techniques that we cover in class, but will also learn problem-solving involving these two powerful programs. How, for example, would you repair a backlit photo? How would you render a logo so that it’s as clear on a billboard as it is on a business card? Further, and perhaps more importantly, students will be equipped to keep up with future changes in software. Pracicum, practicum, practicum. Where do you learn more techniques, those not covered in class?


At the end of the course, the student will be able to:

  • Describe the differences between the standard image file formats and resolutions. When should each be used and why?
  • Assess a digital photo for appropriateness to various media, in terms of content and technical details.
  • Assess and choose from several approaches to a digital image problem.
  • See images in their constituent parts, to visually disassemble advertising images. Can you see the photo manipulation? Can you render a particular image so that it can be enlarged?
  • Prepare images and advertising for publication.

Policies, Exams, Methods

Although some students do own these very expensive programs, many do not. You should know, however, that Creative Cloud is available to UA students through computing services. To find out more, go to the UA homepage, and enter "Creative Cloud" in the search window. Lynda tutorials are also available at Log in with your standard credentials. Be aware that older computers may not run the software offered. Homework is limited to tutorial research and problem-seeking. Problem-seeking might include such assignments as finding a family photo that needs repair, or creating or vectorizing a logo for a business belonging to friends or family.

There are two exams. Each exam requires the student to “teach us something we didn’t learn in class.” These exams demonstrate that there’s more to these programs than can be covered in a single semester, and require a student to find a tutorial which outlines a technique that the class has never seen before. The student must work that technique and teach it to the class.

Students get two absences free. Thereafter, they will be assigned independent problems to be solved outside of class and turned in within a week of the third absence. This might include duplicating a published image or repairing a badly discolored photograph. Lessons that student misses cannot be made up. Students are urged to attend every class, because each lesson presumes your mastery of the previous lesson.

My teaching technique is to introduce a tool and execute its use. During the next class, we reinforce that tool’s use and introduce another. Thus, students get at least two lessons on each tool or technique we cover. The only exception to this rule is for software demos, wherein the teacher will show three or four things that the software will do. Some students will pursue these advanced techniques. Others, perhaps, will learn simply the breadth of what’s on their computers.