Developer Resources‎ > ‎Example Course‎ > ‎Home‎ > ‎

Objectives and Syllabus Elements

Example Syllabus

Open Course Library Project


5 Credits

Example Syllabus Template

 This page contains sample syllabus elements that you might consider adding to your syllabus if you incorporate these materials into your course.


Contacting the Instructor: 

My commitment regarding our online communication: I check my course email twice a day during weekdays and once on weekends, and will usually respond to your message within 12 hours.

Expectations of Students Response: In fairness to everyone, I expect you to respond to emails within 24 hours.

My expectation of YOUR commitment to our online communication: First and foremost, you need to have an updated email address. Next, not surprisingly, I expect that you will be online frequently. Please check email at least every 48 hours, and every 24 hours during weeks that we have a major assignment due. Saying “I didn’t get your email”, or “Sorry, I haven’t been checking my email”, will not suffice as a reasonable excuse for any course-based situation. I have also been known to call students, so make sure there is current phone information on file with the college.


Course Description:

This is an exploration of visual art forms and their cultural connections for the student with little experience in the visual arts. The course includes a brief study of art history and in depth studies of the elements, media, and methods used in creative process and thought. Visual and performing arts are part of the Humanities: academic disciplines that study the human condition and, in addition to the arts, include languages, literature, law, history and religion.

This course will teach students to develop a five-step system for understanding visual art in all forms based on description, analysis, meaning, context and judgment.

Description: Explaining a work of art from an objective point of view; its physical attributes and formal construction.

Analysis: A detailed look at a work of art that combines physical attributes with subjective statements based on the viewer’s reaction to the work.

Context: Any historical, religious or environmental information that surrounds a particular work of art and which helps to understand the work’s meaning.

Meaning: A statement of the work’s content. A message or narrative expressed by the subject matter.

Judgment: A critical point of view about a work of art concerning its aesthetic or cultural value.

Course Topics and Themes

Module 1: Definitions, Artistic Roles and Visual Thinking.

Module 2: Process and Training.

Module 3: How Art Works: The Elements of Visual Language.

Module 4: How Art Works: The Principles of Visual Language.

Module 5: How Art Speaks: Finding Meaning.

Module 6: Two-dimensional Media.

Module 7: The Camera Arts

Module 8: Three-dimensional Media

Module 9: Architecture

Module 10: Our World

Module 11: Other Worlds


Students with Disabilities:

Anyone who feels they may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should arrange an appointment with me to discuss the course format and how it can be modified to meet your needs.  I rely on Disability Services for assistance in verifying the need for accommodations and developing accommodation strategies.  If you have not previously contacted Disability Services, I encourage you to do so.

You can contact the Center for Disability Services for more specific information, or to make an appointment with staff.

Instructional Delivery: This is a hybrid course design. We will meet in the classroom Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:00 to 9:50 a.m. and the remainder of the week online. The classroom will be a venue for instruction, topic and theme discussions, group work and assessments. Much if not all of the classroom content cannot be replicated in the online portion of the course, so your attendance in the classroom is extremely important.

 The online course content includes lectures, learning activities, discussion forums and assessments. The course content is divided into modules. Each module has three sections designed to help you learn about visual art from different levels and perspectives. Here is what this looks like:

The “Read About It” section contains all reading material, audio and graphic files. This is the section that is the foundation of your learning.

The “Write About It” section focuses on a higher order of learning; where you will take what you’ve read and begin to practice your knowledge through written discussion forum posts, worksheets and assignments. Some of these include active learning activities and collaborative work.

The “Do It” section focuses strictly on comprehension. Here is where you will take your quizzes and exams – not all modules have them.

Global Objectives:

Introduction to Art lets us explore the diversity inherent in the visual arts. Because of its universal manifestations, its visual language, artistic expression helps bridge the gap in understanding between world cultures and contributes to a realization of our common humanity, and will be reflected in the course content.



This course is designed to keep student costs as low as possible. To this end, all course content; lectures, image files, discussion forums, worksheets, assignments, quizzes and exams are found within the course itself in the modules under the ‘Lessons’ tab at the top of the course home page. These are available to you at no cost.

 In addition, the External Links provide access to web sites and other search indexes that provide additional resources for learning. You can find them by clicking the ‘Lessons’ tab, then ‘External Links’.


Please review ‘Contacting the Instructor’ and ‘Expectations of Students Response on the first page of this syllabus for information on communicating with me.

Other Helpful Resources:

If you need help, there are many different resources available to you. For questions about how to use Angel Learning click Angel How To’s from the menu on the college home page. There is also an Angel Help Desk prompt in the ‘Resources’ section on the course home page. If you need help with course content or are concerned about your grade, please contact me through the course email.  I’m very glad to help you, but it is your obligation to ask.

 In addition, there are college support services available both online and on campus. For a list of these services including advising, financial aid and tutoring please go to the college home page and click the ‘Current Students’ tab. If you are an international student, there is more specific information for you under the ‘International Student’ tab on the college home page.


Tech Support:

You can access college Technical Support for issues with connectivity, service and other computer problems through the Help Desk.

 This syllabus is as comprehensive as possible.  Any changes will be made in writing and announced on the course home page.  Students are responsible for keeping current and being aware of any changes.

Course Conduct:

Even though this course is in hybrid form, a significant portion of it is online. This online portion means communicating primarily through discussion forums, email or other text platforms. Because of this, it takes longer to communicate and all the gestures, facial expressions and body language that we use to interpret what someone else is saying are lost. With this in mind, please be aware of some common sense guidelines:

  • Most students (and instructors) have some strong opinions, and communicating them is a positive thing for the class, but you can post them without using offensive language.
  • Be courteous and show respect to the instructor and your fellow students.
  •  Review your posts and emails before you hit the ‘send’ button. Do a “self check” to make sure what you’ve typed will get your idea across in the best way. Watch grammar and spelling.
  • Usually less is more. Try to be concise and stick to the point. This keeps readers from losing your message in a sea of text. If you have a handful of points to make, it’s best to post them individually.

*Remember that I am here to help your learning in any way I can. Please contact me as soon as possible when you have questions.

Course Learning Objectives

The course learning objectives provide you with three levels of expected outcomes from this course. The three levels – college, course and individual module objectives are listed below. You can view how they correspond to each other by clicking “ART 100 Objectives” under the “Lessons” tab.

College Level Objectives

1. Engage and take responsibility as active learners Students will be involved in the learning process as they gain deeper levels of understanding of the subject matter. They will design, complete and analyze projects while developing group interaction and leadership skills.

2. Think critically Students will develop and practice analytical skills, problem-solving skills and quantitative reasoning skills. Using creativity and self-reflection, they will be able to engage in inquiry that produces well-reasoned, meaningful conclusions.

3. Communicate effectively Students will develop the organizational and research skills necessary to write and speak effectively. The students will demonstrate awareness of different audiences, styles, and approaches to oral and written communication.

4. Participate in diverse environments Students will gain the awareness of and sensitivity to diversity, including one’s own place as a global citizen. Students attain knowledge and understanding of the multiple expressions of diversity, and the skills to recognize, analyze and evaluate diverse issues and perspectives.

5. Utilize information literacy skills Students will develop and employ skills to recognize when information is needed and to locate, evaluate, effectively use and communicate information in its various forms.

6. Demonstrate computer and technology proficiency Students will use computers and technology as appropriate in their course of study.

Course Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course students will be able to:


College Level Objectives

1.  Interpret examples of visual art using a five step critical process:description, analysis, context, meaning and judgment.


2.  Identify and describe the elements and principles of art.


3. Utilize analytical skills to connect formal attributes of art with their meaning and expression.


4.  Explain in writing the role and effect of the visual arts in societies, history, and other world cultures.


5.  Articulate in writing the themes and issues that artists examine in their work.


6.  Identify the processes and materials involved in art production.


7. Utilize information to locate, evaluate, effectively use and communicate information about visual art in its various forms.


8.  Communicate effectively with others to understand and appreciate the variety of responses art provokes.


9. Participate in diverse learning environments including collaborative group projects and online forums to analyze and evaluate different artistic issues and perspectives.   



Module Level Objectives


Note: Numbers in parenthesis refer to the corresponding College and Course Learning Objectives numbers.


Upon successful completion of each numbered unit, a student will be able to:


Module 1: What Is Art? Common Ground


College Level Objectives

Course Learning Objectives

Understand the definition of ‘art’ within a cultural perspective



Explain the difference between ‘objective’ and ‘subjective’



Explain the roles art plays within different cultures



Define the term ‘subject matter’

(1, 3)


Define the categories ‘realistic’, ‘abstract’ and ‘non-objective’

(1, 3)


Recognize, evaluate and describe artistic styles

(2, 3, 5)


Understand the meaning of ‘aesthetics’ and its relationship to cultural conventions

(1, 2, 4)


Be familiar with issues of visual awareness

(1, 2)



Module 2: Who, Why, and How? Process and the Artist


College Level Objectives

Course Learning Objectives

Describe specific processes used by visual artists



Compare and contrast art as a social activity and a singular creative act



Be familiar with historical forms of artistic training



Understand the cultural ties to artistic process and training

(2, 4)



Module 3: How Art Works: The Visual Language: Artistic Elements


College Level Objectives

Course Learning Objectives

Define and describe the artistic elements and principles



Translate a realistic artwork into an abstract composition



Understand compositional constructs and their effectiveness in the artistic process



Compare and contrast artworks from disparate cultures using the language of art




Module 4: How Art Works: The Visual Language: Artistic Principles


College Level Objectives

Course Learning Objectives

Define and describe the artistic elements 



Translate a realistic artwork into an abstract composition



Understand compositional constructs and their effectiveness in the artistic process



Compare and contrast artworks from disparate cultures using the language of art 




Module 5: Meaning


College Level Objectives

Course Learning Objectives

Understand the meaning of form and content



Undertake comparative descriptions of form and content

(2, 3, 6)


Know the three levels of meaning in works of art



Identify the use of iconography in art

(2, 3)


Understand the term ‘context’ and it’s role in finding meaning in art

(1, 5)


Describe the role of the critic



Be familiar with the six critical perspectives

(1, 5)


Identify, research, integrate and explain visual information concerning artworks and specific meaning

(1, 2, 3, 4, 5,



Module 6: Media for Two-Dimensional Art


College Level Objectives

Course Learning Objectives

Identify and describe specific characteristics of two-dimensional mediums artist use

(1, 3, 5)


Investigate how time-based mediums affect issues of content

(1, 2, 5, 6)

(3, 5)

Explain and demonstrate how collage has a significant role in the development of modern art

(1, 3, 5)

(3, 7)

Understand how the advance of technology is reflected in the art historical record



Describe how cultural styles are influenced through the use of different artistic mediums

(3, 4)

(4, 6)


Module 7: The Camera Arts


College Level Objectives

Course Learning Objectives

Explain the effect photography has on traditional artistic media

(1, 2, 3) 

 (3, 6, 7)

Communicate how time-based mediums affect issues of content 


(3, 5, 8)

Compare and contrast different photographic processes



Recognize and explain issues of form and content in photographs

(2, 3)


Explain the three elements of photojournalism


(3, 5, 9)

Describe the effects photojournalism has on the news media 

(1, 3, 5)

 (5, 8, 9)


Module 8: Three Dimensional Media


College Level Objectives

Course Learning Objectives

Identify and describe specific characteristics of three-dimensional mediums artist use

(1, 2, 3)


Demonstrate how the advance of technology is reflected in three-dimensional media throughout the art historical record COLLEGE:

(1, 2, 4, 5, 6)

(1, 5, 6, 7)

Explain the effects installation and performance art has on artistic experience. COLLEGE:

(2, 3, 4, 6)

(2, 5, 7, 8, 9)

Compare and contrast three-dimensional artworks from different cultures

(2, 5)




Module 9: Architecture


College Level Objectives

Course Learning Objectives

Understand architecture’s significance to shelter and habitat

(1, 4)


Know the traditional and modern styles of architecture


(1, 6)

Explain architectural materials and structural systems

(1, 3)


Describe architecture as a reflection of culture

(3, 4, 5)


Demonstrate familiarity with symbolic uses of architecture

(1, 2, 3, 6)


Show awareness of new technologies and ‘green’ adaptations in architectural design

(1, 4, 6)



Module 10: Our World: Knowledge, Nature, The Body, Identity, Sexuality, Politics and Power


College Level Objectives

Course Learning Objectives




Describe how what we know is reflected in works of art

(2, 3)


Understand how artists use the natural world as vessel for human experience

(1, 2)





Explore how art is a medium for self identity

(2, 3, 4)


Be familiar with the limits to representation of the body



Consider the idea of primordial couples and ties to human procreation

(1, 4, 5)


Describe sexuality in art seen through different cultural perspectives

(1, 2, 4)


Identify issues of propaganda in art



Describe examples of art used to communicate political statements



Explain art’s use as a form of protest







Module 11: Other Worlds: The Spiritual, Death and Mortality, Fantasy


College Level Objectives

Course Learning Objectives

Identify art and ideas of the spirit

(1, 2, 4)


See costume and decoration as vehicles for spirituality



Understand art as an avenue for myth

(1, 4, 5)


Describe the role of art in ritual and ceremony

(2, 3, 4, 6)


Understand connections between art, magic and the idea of the fantastic

(1, 2, 4, 5)



Required Materials:


All required materials for the course are found in the modules under the ‘Lessons’ and ‘Resources’ tabs on the course homepage.



Minimum Technical Skills Required:


Here is what a student needs in order to take this digital content course:




·  Access to a computer (at home, on campus or at work) that you can use for extended periods of time.


·  Broadband internet access (cable modem, DSL or other high speed alternative).


·  Firefox 3.0 or higher or Internet Explorer 7 or later. Safari and Chrome are not compatible with Angel.


·  Permissions/ability to install plug-ins or class software (e.g. Adobe Reader or Flash).


·  Highly recommended: up-to-date anti-virus software


·  Highly recommended: review the System Check nugget on the Angel home page.




To succeed in an online or hybrid class, you should have the ability to:


·  Navigate web sites, including downloading and reading files from web sites.


·  Download and install software or plug-ins such as Adobe Reader or Flash.


·  Use email, including attaching and downloading documents/files from emails.


·  Save files in commonly used word processing formats (.doc, .docx, .rtf).


·  Copy and paste text, graphics and other items on a computer.


·  Save and retrieve documents and files on your computer.


·  Locate information on the internet using search engines.


·  Save and back up your work files to your computer’s hard drive and / or to a secondary repository source such as a flash drive or external hard drive. These devices usually connect to your computer through a USB port located on the back of your computer. Apple keyboards have a USB port on the back of them.





Written Assignments


Discussion Forum Posts:


What Is It?  Discussion Forums give us a place to collaborate, communicate and embark in shared learning. There are graded discussion forum posts that relate to the concepts we will study. Most forums ask for your ideas about and reactions to specific questions, articles or issues found within a module’s content. In addition, your replies to your fellow student’s posts are very important. As the instructor, I will also participate in the discussion forums taking on the role as a moderator and mentor. Unless otherwise noted, you ALWAYS respond to at least one other student’s post to gain full points.


Where Do I Find It? You will find Discussion Forum prompts on the Angel screen in each module’s content section.


How Do I Submit It? Click the ‘New Post’ tab to begin your Discussion Forum. To submit it, click ‘Save’ at the bottom of the comment box. You can also attach files (links, graphics or other resources) to your post.


How is it Graded? Discussion Forums are each worth a total of 20 points. Your grade is determined by both quantitative and qualitative criteria. Discussion forum grades are the result of both instructor overview and electronic quantitative data. For example: if the discussion forum’s directions call for an initial post and at least two replies to other student’s posts, and you post no replies (or no initial post) or only one reply, your grade will be lower. Generally, if your post and replies meet the minimum asked for in the directions, you will receive 15 points.  To receive the full 20 points you will need to offer specific information in thoughtful replies, suggest additional resources, include links or images to support your ideas, and reply to more posts than is asked for in the directions.


Most discussion forums ask you to comment on a specific idea or issue. If your post is vague in its response, or you do not comment at all in the course of your post, your total graded points will be lower.


In addition, if the directions ask for you to cite an example and include a link or image with your post, and you do not, your points will be lower.




What Is It? Worksheets are graded venues for written explanations, commentary and discussion by the individual student to questions posed in connection with a module’s content. Worksheets often ask you to provide a small amount of research to support your answers, and are generally shorter in length than formal assignments. All worksheets are to be typed as a word processing document and saved as a .doc, .docx or .rtf file.


Where Do I Find It? Each module includes a worksheet. Click ‘Worksheet’ in the “Do It” section of the module to view the instructions. NOTE: You can help support your answers by attaching additional files and images or insert supporting links as examples.


How Do I Submit It? When your worksheet is finished and attached as a document to the Worksheet comments box, click the ‘Submit’ tab below the comment box.


How Is It Graded? Each worksheet is worth a total of 20 points. Grading is dependant upon the quality and thoroughness of your answers to the question(s) and supported by links to additional information, images and resources. I’m looking for indications that you understand the concept, idea or issue provided in the worksheet instructions, and that you communicate your answer(s) in a way that gives evidence to your learning. Your instructor will provide individual feedback on all worksheet grades.




What Is It? Assignments are graded, in-depth written documents that allow you to expand your knowledge about a module’s content through research and interpretation of artistic issues and themes. Some assignments are collaborative in nature with the results presented as a group.



Where Do I Find It? Assignments can be found in the “Do It” sections in Modules 1, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 10.


How Do I Submit It? Similar to worksheets, your finished assignment can be uploaded to me by clicking the ‘Submit’ tab at the bottom of the assignment’s comment box. Remember to first attach your assignment document to the comments box. Do not type your assignment into the comments box.


How Is It Graded? Each assignment is worth a total of 100 points and graded with respect to the correctness and quality of the answers you provide. This includes the extent to which you follow the specific instructions of the assignment and respond fully to the issues, topics or themes presented. In addition, grades are partly determined by the additional information, images and linked resources used to support your answers. Collaborative assignments include follow-up questions about each group member’s participation level. These are answered anonymously. Your instructor will provide individual feedback on all assignment grades.




What Is It? You will have a series of open-book, open-notes, open-friend (that’s right!) quizzes throughout the course. These are quick-answer ways for you to check your comprehension and celebrate your knowledge of course terminology and concepts. All quizzes are graded, and are meant to be a formative account of where you are in your learning. Each quiz format contains questions with multiple-choice answers, short sentence answers and one essay question.


Where Do I Find It? Quizzes are all located in the “Do It” sections of many of the modules. Not all modules have quizzes.


How Do I Submit It? All quizzes are uploaded by clicking the ‘Submit’ tab at the bottom of the last page of the quiz.


How Is It Graded? Each quiz is worth a total of 50 points. Quizzes are created and graded through the use of ANGEL learning software. Your instructor will provide individual feedback on quiz scores.




What is it? Fill out a ‘self-check’ form before you submit each assignment. This helps to verify that you have covered all the important information and support materials each assignment asks for. It lets you review your document and make any changes needed.


Where Do I Find It? You’ll find a ‘self-check’ form in each module that contains an assignment.


How Do I Submit it? Attach the self-check form to the assignment you are turning in.


Final Essay:


What Is it?  Using the five-step process of description, analysis, context, meaning and judgment, you will write three paragraphs for each of two works of art provided. You will need to do some research for context, and website links to each work are provided to help you get started. This is a summative, graded exercise that gives you the opportunity to apply the issues of form, content and artistic process that you’ve learned in the class.


Where Do I Find It? Click ‘Final Essay’ in the “Do It” section of module 10.


How Do I Submit It? Attach your completed Final Essay document to the comments box then click ‘Submit’.


How Is It Graded? The final essay is worth a total of 100 points and is graded on the quality of the student’s responses to each of the five processes involved in assessing the two art works. These responses must be specific to the issues surrounding the images. Responses dealing in generalities receive a lower grade. You must write at least three paragraphs for each of two works of art. There must be clear evidence of research with all sources cited. In addition, the grade will be higher when you offer additional information about the art works: for example, how they relate to each other or to other works of art. I’m looking for a strong essay put forth that includes references to the major artistic issues and themes learned in the course, including the artistic elements and principles, description, analysis, context and meaning.


Extra Credit:

What Is It? You can earn more points by completing one or both of the Extra Credit subjects offered in Module 10. The first asks you to visit a museum or gallery and record your observations about works of art you see, using the five-step process learned in the course. In addition, it asks for more subjective comments about your experience. The second asks you to choose a work of art and provide a written description of the context in which the work was made and how that context has or hasn’t changed over time. You can also propose your own Extra Credit project. Email me with your idea, and together we will agree on the scope of your project and how many points will be awarded.

Where Do I Find It? Both extra credit choices are in the “Do It” section of module 11.

How Do I Submit It? Attach your completed Extra Credit document, along with any supporting articles, text, images or links, to the comments box. Click ‘Submit’.

Information Literacy Statement

All materials you use as resources for worksheets, assignments, essays and extra credit must be properly cited in your document using the MLA standard citation protocol. You can find information about this model at the MLA Formatting and Style Guide website. Additional face- to-face help is always available at the campus library. Ask about it at the front desk.


How Is It Graded? Each of the two extra credit projects presented in module 10 is worth a total of 25 points. A student’s proposed extra credit project points are determined in advance as a function of the scope of the proposed project. All projects are graded on the satisfactory completion of each project and the depth and breadth of the responses. Similar to grading worksheets and assignments, any additional information the student offers as evidence of additional research will result in a higher grade.


Academic Integrity and Plagiarism:

Academic Integrity is a key component of this course. Plagiarism, the use of content or sources without properly citing them, is not acceptable. As a consequence, the first instance of plagiarism will result in a zero for the assignment. Further incidents of plagiarism will result in a conference with the Dean of Student Learning or the Dean of Student Success, and may result in failing the course.

Remember:  Intent is not an issue--it doesn't matter whether or not you "meant to" plagiarize.

If you do not fully understand plagiarism, investigate the term on line or look it up in the dictionary.  You must be familiar with its definition and consequences.

Do not plagiarize. If you have any concerns about what might constitute plagiarism, or you feel that something in one of your assignments may be considered plagiarism, please contact me. 

Grading Policies:

Grades are determined by the quantitative and qualitative scores from content assessments, including finished worksheets, assignments, quizzes and the final essay. Please note; a student can turn in all their content work on time and still receive a “C” grade or below. The course develops your observational and critical thinking skills, and the ability to find, present and analyze information is very important.  So much of understanding art comes from using these skills.  I am looking to you to explain your thoughts and ideas in a way that gives the best evidence of your learning. There are a total of 1660 points in this course (not including the two extra credit choices).

I grade submitted materials as they are uploaded throughout the week. All submitted materials are posted to the grade book within 48 hours after their deadline. My feedback on graded materials is posted with the grade and readable only by the individual student. For privacy, replies to me should be directed through the course email.

Worksheets, Discussion Forums and Extra Credit are worth 20 points each. Quizzes are worth a total of 50 points each. Assignments and the Final Essay are worth 100 points each. Your final grade will be calculated from the total number of points you received out of the total available. The grade scale looks like this:

1660 – 1571  = A

1570 - 1481  = A-

1481 - 1391  = B+

1390 - 1301  = B

1300 – 1211 = B-

1210 - 1121 = C+

1120 – 1031 = C 

1030 – 941   = C-

940   - 851   = D+

850   - 761   = D

760   - 671   = D-

below   671   = F