College of Liberal Arts

Fall 2018

2D Digital Design

ART 161

CRN: 74639

Credits: 3

Prerequisites: none

Location: Online

Meeting time: There is no synchronous meeting time. However, students will be required to schedule at least 3 synchronous office hours with the instructor throughout the semester at their own convenience.


Madara Mason

Office Location: 131 Bunnell Building, UAF eLearning

Office Hours: I’m online 8-5 M-F, but you can almost always reach me

Telephone: 907-978-5097 (Text only. Identify yourself by name please! I’m often in meetings and need to schedule phone calls.)

E-mail and Google Hangoutl Address:


This course provides an introduction to basic design principles and digital skills necessary to move forward in making art. You will learn fundamental vocabulary and practical applications through readings, videos, curation, discussion, and numerous digital and analog exercises.

By exploring designers and artists of the past and present, you will learn methods of successful visual design. We will use Adobe Creative Cloud desktop and mobile apps in this course to practice numerous aspects of making art in the contemporary world.  You will expand your ability to not only recognize artistic and digital concepts, but your ability to use up-to-date digital techniques and discuss them with a cohort of your peers.

**You should be comfortable learning to use new software by jumping into the deep end, getting lost and confused, and figuring out how to swim by using YouTube, my help, other students in the course, and clicking anything and everything to figure out how things work. If you are intimidated by computers, please talk to me before taking this course or as soon as possible once you've signed up.


Students will learn basic design elements, aesthetics, and the organization of the picture plane through practical applications.


In this course, you will:


Textbook: none

Required Materials:

Recommended Materials:


This is an open course; the class contents and audio/video instruction are available on the open internet.

Being an artist is about getting into your studio every day, even when you’re not inspired. Do the work and hopefully the inspiration will show up every now and then. Learning an artform is about repetitive practice. I put you through a series of repetitive exercises of the semester that includes the following:


Students are required to check their email regularly! You’re responsible for knowing — and when appropriate, acting on — the contents of all university communications sent to your official UAF email account. If you want to receive university communications at a different email address, you need to forward email from your assigned UAF account to an email address of your choice. You can easily do this online at


Using your computer, you should be able to access the following for the entire semester:


The course schedule is available here via Google Calendar.

Generally, your assignments will follow this pattern each week:

  1. Learn using
  2. Discuss ideas in our Slack community.
  3. Demonstrate understanding of concepts via Pinterest
  4. Emulate other artists using Adobe Creative Cloud
  5. Create something of your own using Adobe Creative Cloud
  6. Submit all of your work via Google Classroom.


Students must:



I grade using letter grades rather than points to evaluate your work. I will give you clear guidelines for each assignment as well as clear feedback on each evaluation. Some aspects of art are objective (Can you create an .svg file? Does your drawing exemplify the concept of figure/ground reversal?) and some are subjective; in this case, subject to my expertise (Does your work show effort and “heart”? Have you conveyed something more than a simple recreation of everyday reality?). I’m a tough, but fair, evaluator and my ultimate goal is to help you grow as a student, not to give you participation trophies in the form of an easy A.

A = Work is completed on time, the quality and effort are exceptional, and the work is clearly meaningful to the student.

B = Work is completed on time, quality or effort exceeds minimum expectations

C = Work is completed on time and meets minimum expectations

D = Work is completed on time but fails to meet minimum expectations

F = Failure to complete work or complete it on time

Note: Your grades in Google Classroom will appear as points:

A = 4

B = 3

C = 2

D = 1

F = 0


25%   -   PINTEREST (collecting your own artwork for inspiration and evidence of understanding)

25%   -   ASSIGNMENTS (2 types due each week: “create” and “emulate”)

25%   -   DISCUSSION (in Slack)

25%   -   MIDTERM AND FINAL PORTFOLIOS (where you collect what you’ve learned and what you can do in one place)


For emails and Slack, I usually get back to you in less than an hour, but a maximum of 24 hours. For assignment feedback, that varies according to the assignment. If you feel you’re missing any feedback from me, please contact me immediately.


You can always see your raw scores in Google Classroom. Grade averages can be found in Blackboard.


Students should expect to spend 10-12 hours per week on this class, sometimes more and sometimes less. You’re expected to complete the weekly assignments by their due dates. I’m pretty flexible if you fall behind or if you have to turn things in late However, some of the assignments are labor intensive so if you fall too far behind, it will be next to impossible to catch up.

Generally, you can expect to spend your time in the following way.

  1. INSTRUCTION (things like lectures, readings, teacher-student conferences)
  2. PINTEREST (collecting your own artwork for inspiration and evidence of understanding)
  3. ASSIGNMENTS (actual projects and assessments)
  4. DISCUSSION (discussion, groups projects, blog commenting)


This is a college level course and although UAF welcomes and celebrates students of a wide range of ages and life experiences, a certain level of intellectual, emotional, and behavioral maturity is expected of students who participate in this course.

*Some of the video lecture materials I provide are not suitable for younger viewers. I’ve done my best to identify those videos.

Other things you can expect from the Art Department (including my course):


There are no nude models in this course.


This course does not involve any hazardous or dangerous materials. However, part of maintaining your own digital studio involves good ergonomics!


UAF’s Children on Campus Guidelines are available here:


As described by UAF, scholastic dishonesty constitutes a violation of the university rules and regulations and is punishable according to the procedures outlined by UAF. Scholastic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating on an exam, plagiarism, and collusion. Cheating includes providing answers to or taking answers from another student. Plagiarism includes use of another author’s words or arguments without attribution. Collusion includes unauthorized collaboration with another person in preparing written work for fulfillment of any course requirement. Scholastic dishonesty is punishable by removal from the course and a grade of “F.” For more information go to Student Code of Conduct. (


This course adheres to the UAF regarding the granting of NB Grades The NB grade is for use only in situations in which I have No Basis upon which to assign a grade.

I follow the University of Alaska Fairbanks Incomplete Grade Policy: “The letter “I” (Incomplete) is a temporary grade used to indicate that the student has satisfactorily completed (C or better) the majority of work in a course but for personal reasons beyond the student’s control, such as sickness, he has not been able to complete the course during the regular semester. Negligence or indifference are not acceptable reasons for an “I” grade.”


The Office of Information Technology (OIT) ( is an invaluable resource. They can help you set up your e-mail account, or help you connect your computer to the UAF internet. They can help you reset your password if you forget it and there are even some free software that you can download as a student. OIT also supports several computer labs on campus that are free to use for all UAF students.

SSS Student Support Services ( provides additional support for UAF students who meet one of the following criteria

The Writing Center ( is a service of the English Department which is there to assist you in all phases of the writing process. View the website for information about location and hours.

The Elmer E. Rasmuson Library ( is the largest library in the State of Alaska and provides equipment such as cameras and computers for check out as well as books and DVDs.

The Math and Stats Lab ( provides free tutoring.


The Office of Disability Services implements the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and ensures that UAF students have equal access to the campus and course materials. UAF is obligated to provide accommodation only to the known limitations of an otherwise qualified student who has a disability. Please identify yourself to UAF Disability Services by applying for accommodations. To be considered for UAF Disability Services accommodations, individuals must be enrolled for at least one credit as a UAF student. For more information contact Disability Services at, 474-5655 or by TTY at 474-1827.


University of Alaska Board of Regents have clearly stated in BOR Policy that discrimination, harassment and violence will not be tolerated on any campus of the University of Alaska. If you believe you are experiencing discrimination or any form of harassment including sexual harassment/misconduct/assault, you are encouraged to report that behavior. If you disclose sexual harassment or sexual violence to a faculty member or any university employee, they must notify the UAF Title IX Coordinator about the basic facts of the incident. Your choices for disclosure include:

  1. You may confidentially disclose and access confidential counseling by contacting the UAF Health & Counseling Center at 474-7043
  2. You may access support and file a Title IX report by contacting the UAF Title IX Coordinator at 474-7599
  3. You may file a criminal complaint by contacting the University Police Department at 474-7721

For more information about disclosure options for victims of sexual violence please see


The Resource and Advocacy Center at UAF provides advocacy and resources referral to students, staff and faculty survivors of power-based personal violence. The office is staffed by a confidential Advocacy Services Coordinator and volunteers. The center provides a confidential resource on campus for survivors. The coordinator is a full time staff member of the Interior Alaska Center for Non-Violent Living.

Location: Wood Center 130

Phone: 907.474.6360



The Resource and Advocacy Center and the Interior Alaska Center for Non-Violent Living provides confidential support to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence and can help with the following: