Course Syllabus

DES 2800-01 — Digital Publishing

Instructor: Prof. Ronald Woodland
office: 435-652-7970
Burns North, room 235 (second floor, west end)


SPRING 2017 Class Instruction
Section 01: 2:30 to 3:45 a.m. – Tuesday and Thursday, Smith Computer Center, room 112

This course is intended for graphic designers, creative professionals, print professionals, publishers, pre-press professionals, and marketing communications professionals. This course is designed to introduce and develop skills in working with the computer for graphic design applications. Topics covered in the course include preparing images and other graphics, designing the project by applying accepted design principles, then integrating the content to deliver a synergistic result. Additionally, the use of Adobe InDesign to design graphics for print and multimedia use is addressed. Focus will be on applying learned skills to “real-world” graphic design projects using Adobe InDesign under both the Mac OS X and Windows operating systems.

For students pursuing a degree in Computer and Information Technology. A hands-on introduction to page-layout software and publishing for print and multi-media. Students will learn to create multi-page documents including text and images, edit those documents and prepare them for publication. Course fee required. Prerequisite: DES 1300 (Grade C- or higher). FA, SP.” (Dixie State University Catalog, 2016–2017)

Basic computer skills are expected. DES 1300 is required. DES 2500, DES 2600 are both highly recommended prior to this course; WEB 1400 and CIS 1200 are optional. (See the current semester class schedule.) Any of these classes may be taken during the same semester, if necessary.


  • Textbook: Adobe® InDesign™ CC 2016 ¦ The Professional Portfolio

    • The Portfolio Series published by Against The Clock, Inc.
    • Print ISBN: 978-1-936201-74-7
    • eBook ISBN: 978-1-936201-76-4
    • (For the current version of InDesign used in this course)
    • Printed version cost is approximately $50.00
  • Storage media to backup and/or manage your coursework during the semester

    • A USB flash drive of sufficient size (32 GB or larger)
    • An external hard drive of usable size (suggested 500 GB or larger, optional)
    • Two or three CD-R/RW or DVD-R/RW disks (optional)

If you are a student with a medical, psychological, or learning disability or think you might have a disability and would like accommodations, contact the Disability Resource Center (652-7516) in the North Plaza.  The Disability Resource Center will determine eligibility of the student requesting special services and determine the appropriate accommodations related to their disability.

DSU seeks to provide an environment that is free of bias, discrimination, and harassment.  If you have been the victim of sexual harassment/misconduct/assault, we encourage you to report this to the college's Title IX Director — Cindy Cole, (435) 652-7731,  If you report to a faculty member, she or he must notify the Title IX Director about the basic facts of the incident.

"In order to ensure that the highest standards of academic conduct are promoted and supported at the University, students must adhere to generally accepted standards of academic honesty, including but not limited to, refraining from cheating, plagiarizing, falsification, misrepresentation, and/or inappropriately colluding or collaborating. The University shall consistently hold students accountable for instances of academic dishonesty and apply appropriate consequences." For more information, see the Student Academic Misconduct section of DSU policy.

What constitutes plagiarism vs appropriation has been extensively debated in terms of graphic design. With the introduction of the internet, students and professionals face the question of what is appropriate in terms of deriving inspiration from visual sources and what is actual plagiarism or theft of concepts.

Any appropriation or use of other's design work is considered plagiarism. Review the links below for further clarification.

As you continue to develop your visual vocabulary and use of design tools you might have questions about what is appropriate in terms of image use.  You should always strive to use your own images, but if you need to use images created by others you must find ones that are designated as "fair use (Links to an external site.)" or "public domain" or obtain permission for use of these images. Educational use for the purpose of learning typically falls under the Fair Use provisions of copyright laws, but there are limits in those circumstances also.

A good resource to search for images that may be usable is (Links to an external site.).  Please consult with the professor if you have questions.

Classrooms are special environments in which students and faculty come together to promote learning and growth. It is essential in these environments that respect for the rights of others seeking to learn, respect for the professionalism of the instructor, and the general goals of academic freedom are maintained.

Students are expected arrive to class on time, take notes (as necessary), and remain in class until the end of the session. During class, students should be polite to one another and the professor and be attentive to the matters being discussed through active participation. Inappropriate behavior includes (but is not limited to) IMPROPER COMPUTER USAGE, LAUGHING (other than the instructor's jokes), PASSING NOTES, INATTENTIVE DEMEANOR, SLEEPING, TALKING OUT OF TURN, AND TEXTING.

Behavior that interferes with the learning of other students will not be tolerated. The Dixie State College Policies and Procedures Manual, Section 3-34, states: “Teachers at Dixie State University have the right to manage the classroom environment to ensure a positive learning climate. Toward this end, teachers (or university security) may dismiss and remove disruptive students from individual class activities. If a student’s behavior continues to disrupt class activities, the teacher may dismiss and cause the removal of disruptive students from his or her course.”

A student who is asked to leave class should do so quietly and without confrontation. The student will be expected to schedule a meeting with the instructor before being allowed to attend class again. If students start a disturbance, the instructor will call Campus Security to have the students removed from campus. Students are not allowed to interfere with the learning of others.

Mobile device use in the classroom (including cellphones), should be targeted to classroom content, placed on silent mode, and not draw attention away from the learning environment for either the teacher or other students.

Specifically, cell phones are a serious distraction to everyone in the class, including the instructor. It is inappropriate to make or receive phone calls, to text messages, or to check for messages once a student enters a classroom, especially during scheduled class time. Students should remember to silence their phones before entering the classroom or CIT lab. If students must leave their cell phones on for any reason, they should set them to vibrate or disable the ringtones. If a student’s cell phone disturbs the class, the student will be asked to leave class and consult with the instructor about being readmitted to class. During a test, if a student is caught looking at a cell phone or other electronic device or texting, that becomes prima facie evidence that the student is cheating. The student will forfeit any points for that exam and may be asked to leave class.

The instructor reserves the right to change the specifics of this syllabus and the schedule (weekly topics of instruction, assignments, assignment details, due dates, etc.) as determined for the betterment of the class. Any changes will be announced in a timely manner during class instruction periods.

The purpose of this course is to help students develop and improve their design skills as it relates to publishing complex documents. Students will practice efficient techniques for using computers and software to create original art and integrate it as content within a design project. Students will learn to distinguish between effective and ineffective design techniques through projects, evaluations of those projects, and increased awareness of various design approaches. Assignments will be tailored to represent typical projects developed by a graphic designer in a production environment.

In this course, you will learn the common issues that arise when preparing InDesign documents for printing and shows how to tweak PDF to ensure the perfect print. Students will learn automated publishing using XML with InDesign. Further, students will receive ePub training to develop eBook design & publishing to iPad, Kindle, Nook, Android and other eReaders with Adobe InDesign and other tools.

At completion of the course, students should know and be able to demonstrate the following technical skills:

  • Understand the use of Adobe InDesign as a “container” to present “content” properly for successful delivery in various formats appropriate for multiple venues
  • Differentiate between pixel-based images and vector-based objects to be used as content
  • Prepare images, graphics, and other elements with sufficient resolution for printing or other environments
  • Use of various file formats and when is one preferred over another within an InDesign project
  • creating and using masks for cropping and other purposes (via various methods)
  • using the painting and editing tools to “draw” original graphics
  • adding and using layers to preserve separation of elements
  • drawing and using paths with the Pen tool(s)
  • converting from one image type and/or format to another
  • re-sizing and/or changing the resolution of an image
  • understanding and using spot colors
  • preparing images for color separation and/or print publication
  • optimizing images and graphics for use in PDF and ePub environments
  • saving or exporting images in formats for printing purposes or that are useable in other software

Most assignments will be submitted in electronic form.  However, as the semester develops, some may also be requested in hard copy form.  The hard copy version of your assignments must be mounted for presentation.  You will make presentations of your work to the class at various times throughout the semester. In case of technical difficulties, you should always keep backup copies of ALL your work using the suggested storage media.

ATTENDANCE is important to your success in this course. Therefore, the grades earned for this course will also reflect your attendance habits. A total of 30 points are allotted for attendance toward the total points possible to determine your grade - one point for each classroom period during the semester.  The amount may not seem significant each time, but the total is enough to shift your grade. Attendance will be recorded through a form passed around the class each time we meet.  IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO ENSURE THAT YOU SIGN THE ROLL EACH DAY.  If you don’t sign the attendance roll, you didn’t attend class that day.

WORKBOOK PROJECTS: There are eight (8) projects in the course workbook. Seven (7) of those projects will be turned in, each worth 15 points. Thus, the maximum possible for all workbook projects is 105 points. These projects are scheduled to encourage students to practice relevant technical skills being discussed during the concurrent instruction periods. (See the weekly course schedule for the specific project to be studied each week.)

All workbook projects will be due by 10:00 P.M. on the day(s) specified. To earn up to the full points for the projects, students must submit them on time. LATE PROJECTS WILL RECEIVE ONE-HALF CREDIT. PROJECTS MORE THAN SIX (6) DAYS LATE WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED! NO EXCEPTIONS.

ASSIGNMENTS: There are five (5) creative assignments with specific skills focus through the semester, each worth 75 points. The maximum possible for the comprehensive assignments is 300 points.  See the course calendar for assignment descriptions and due dates. These are intended to be original work and should reflect techniques learned in the course up to the time of each assignment. Specific attention will be given to how you incorporate new knowledge, creativity, and suggested techniques into your assignments. These assignments will also be evaluated on the design and artistic aspects of the project. The points for each assignment will be allocated based on the rubric developed and included for each assignment in this course.

FINAL PROJECT: There is one final MAJOR project for the course — a multi-page, multi-chapter book with original cover design(s) and original layout, which is worth 100 points. The scope of this final project will require you to develop and work on it throughout the semester. Specific attention will be given to how you conceptualize and develop the project. These assignments will also be evaluated on the design and artistic aspects of the project. The points for this final assignment will be allocated based on the rubric developed and included for each assignment in this course.

Assignments and the final project will be submitted electronically to a network server. Additionally, select assignments will also be printed and bound. Instruction will be given in class before the first assignment is due concerning how to access the submission web page and find the appropriate sub-directory to submit the assignments. Additionally, students will present their work to the class on pre-announced days. The class will participate by critiquing each others’ assignments in order to provide artistic feedback and help improve students’ design skills. It is important that you attend and participate on the peer-critique days to receive points for that part of your assignment score.

All assignments will be due by 10:00 P.M. on the day(s) specified. To earn up to the full points for each project, students must submit assignments on time and also present their work in class. POINTS WILL BE DEDUCTED FOR LATE ASSIGNMENTS. ASSIGNMENTS MORE THAN FOURTEEN (14) DAYS LATE WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED! NO EXCEPTIONS.


MID-TERM EXAM: A mid-term test will be given during week eight (8) of the semester. There are 50 points possible. No makeup exam will be available. If you miss the mid-term during the appointed date(s) and time, your grade will be severely and negatively affected.

To review for the mid-term test, check HERE for example questions and suggested areas you should know.

FINAL EXAM:  A final will be given during the scheduled time for this class period, in the week following the last day of classes for the semester. There are 100 points possible. DO NOT BE LATE!

To review for the final written test, check HERE for example questions and suggested areas you should study.

MISSED LESSONS, ASSIGNMENTS, AND TESTS: First and foremost, technical problems with computers or software will NOT be accepted as a reason for late coursework. Technology is not an excuse; it is a resource. Points will be deducted for late submissions. No projects from the workbook will be accepted more than six (6) days late. Assignments (not to be confused with workbook projects) will not be accepted if over fourteen (14) days late. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS POLICY, REGARDLESS OF THE EXCUSE! All lessons and assignments are given specific due dates during the semester. Tests will be administered at the times specified in this syllabus. If you cannot take a test at the scheduled time, due to an APPROVED conflict in priorities, you must contact the instructor and arrange to take the test early. The highest grades are typically earned by those who plan ahead, budget their resources, and deliver their work on time.

GRADING PHILOSOPHY: The design quality of your assignments is a significant factor in the points evaluation. Adherence to the technical specifications of the assignment will also be checked – document specifications, color modes, and misspelled words — those embarrassing typos (yes, it happens to everyone but professionals should be especially embarrassed) that you never see when proofing your own work — are the most-often ignored issues that will lose assignment points. Not responding to feedback from the instructor is also a red flag. If you hand in all assignments on time and score reasonably well on the tests, you will receive at least a “C” grade. A higher grade can be earned on the creative and design components you add to your assignments. I am looking for more than the minimum work required to meet the assignments. If you have questions about what is considered “A”-, “B”-, or “C”-level work for this course, read this page on establishing grading criteria. Additional information can be deduced from the published rubrics included for each assignment. If you have further questions, contact the instructor for clarification.

Points for course work are earned by turning in lessons, assignments, and taking tests on time. (See the weekly course and assignments schedule for the due dates.) Allocation of points for the five major components of course work are as follows:

Assignment Points
Attendance (1 point each class period)    30 points
Five Creative Projects (75 points each) 375 points
Final Creative Project 100 points
Mid-Term Exam 50 points
Final Exam 50 points
Total points possible 605 total


Letter grades will be earned based on the following percentages of the total points possible:


A 95% or higher
A- 90% to 94.99%
B+ 85% to 89.99%
B 80% to 84.99%
B- 75% to 79.99%
C+ 70% to 74.99%
C 65% to 69.99%
C- 60% to 64.99%
D+ 55% to 59.99%
D 50% to 54.99%
D- 45% to 49.99%
F 44.99% or lower


IMPORTANT: Letter grades below a “C-” in any course designated as part of the Visual Technologies program cannot be used toward obtaining a Certificate of Competency or abaccalaureate degree. For further information, contact Carol Stander (, advisor for the 4-year CIT baccalaureate degrees.


Last Updated 01.05.2017
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