Understanding Your Grade

At a job interview, no one will ask you what grade you got in Graphic Design Principles 1.  However, your portfolio will reflect how well you learned, explored, and expanded upon the concepts covered in this course.

The Standard Rule: Meet the standard requirements (follow the instructions and complete the assignment) and earn a C. That is the default grade. To get an A, you must MAKE an A, which means making work above and beyond the standard requirements. There’s an interesting article about this in the NYTimes.

Grading Policy and Expectations
Grades will be awarded using the standard grading scale, but work produced in this course will be judged based upon a rubric that takes into consideration effort applied, technical understanding, and creative use of resources for the completion of various projects.

Grades will be based upon:

Participation & Dedicationis worth 20% of total grade.

Students are asked to consider this class and others like an audition or internship. Assume that your professor and especially your peers will be in a position to offer you a job or recommend you for a great opportunity in the not too distant future. How you present yourself in class and your dedication to your work will help you achieve your career goals.

Respect for your fellow students and the professor is demonstrated by:

  • Class preparedness (completing projects on time, bringing materials to class, checking class site for instructions)
  • Volunteering answers, asking questions, and helping other students
  • Paying attention during class demonstrations
  • Following project instructions and taking notes
  • Participating in critiques, presentations, and discussions (in person and online)
  • Arriving on time and staying for the full time period

If during class you are observed taking a phone call, checking email, texting, facebook or the like, or working on other projects, the full 20% will be deducted from your grade. No warnings or second chances will be given.

Each student will present his/her work for critique for weekly review using design vocabulary.  The critique is a neutral dialog. Students will present their work and discuss the strengths and weaknesses, expressing what works and what doesn’t work in relation to the assignment guidelines. Peer responses will be given. No personal likes or dislikes are discussed without specific reference to design terminology.

Peer Presentations:
Students in groups of three may present an assigned and researched principle or element. For example: one group may research and present Balance. In preparation, students will use library resources, books, magazines, online references such as ArtStor and write and present a formal lecture on the topic to the class.

Projects & Experiments are worth 70% of the total grade.

There will be between 5-8 major Projects and several weekly in-class and take-home Experiments. Only projects that strictly adhere to documented instructions and are presented in a clean, professional manner will be accepted for credit. Projects will be collected or critiqued at the beginning of each class.

Each student will document their work on the class blog and should demonstrate the Design Process Phases 1-4:

Phase 1: Discover: Inspiration and Exploration
Phase 2: Define: Experimentation, Iteration and Feedback
Phase 3: Develop: Refined expression of Form, Skill, Craft and Voice
Phase 4: Deliver: Professional verbal, written, and visual presentation; critical reflection


Research & Documentation are worth 10% of  your grade.

The artist or designer’s Creative Process involves 1) experiencing the world (ideas, objects, people, nature), 2) interpreting this experience, 3) expressing/sharing it with others, and then… 4) sustaining the process.

Blog posts will be used for documenting and sharing your design process throughout the course and your ePortfolio will be used to present your final finished work. Posts documenting your research, inspirations, experiments, thumbnails, field trips, final work, assessments, and peer critiques will serve as a record of the effort and dedication you demonstrate throughout the semester.

The blog posts will:

  • Help you to develop and sustain your own creative process through careful observation, documentation, presentation and assessment of each project.
  • Organize all the information from the class.
  • Display your individual projects in a clear, appropriate manner
  • Serve as a record of your learning achievements from which to expand and develop in future courses.
  • Interact with your peers in a relaxed, but professional manner.
  • Gain experience using standard design vocabulary terms to express your ideas
  • Develop online communication and information literacy skills using WordPress and OpenLab.

Attendance is required for all classes.  If a student misses a class session, it is the student’s responsibility to contact the professor or a peer and make up any work missed PRIOR to the next class meeting. Excuses are unnecessary and irrelevant.

  • Two lates equal one absence. A student is considered late if s/he arrives after attendance has been taken. If s/he arrives after attendance has been taken and is marked absent, it is the responsibility of the student to notify the teacher.
  • After two absences your final grade will drop one full grade for every absence. If you miss more than two classes there is a strong possibility that you will receive a failing grade for the semester. This policy is in accordance with the school attendance policy. Check your student handbook (page 14) for details.

If a student finds they will not be able to present or hand in a project on the scheduled day, it is their responsibility to notify the instructor PRIOR to the due date and request alternate arrangements. Points will be deducted for late projects and missed critiques.

Academic Integrity and Expectations
You are responsible for reading, understanding and abiding by the NYC College of Technology Student Handbook, “Student Rights & Responsibilities,” section “Academic Integrity Standards.” Academic dishonesty of any type, including cheating and plagiarism is unacceptable. “Cheating” is misrepresenting another student’s efforts/work as your own. “Plagiarism” is the representation of another person’s work, words or concepts as your own.

Required Online Resources

Course Website
Students will refer to this website [ profspevack.com/designcolor ] for all course content and projects. It is the student’s responsibility to check the site before each class meeting for instructions.

The OpenLab
We will be using the OpenLab [ openlab.citytech.cuny.edu ] for online discussions and blogging and final ePortfolio work. If you have not used the OpenLab before, please make sure you create an account and sign on at least once during the first week of class to familiarize yourself. If you have questions, please ask!

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