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AHVS 121 Understanding Visual Communication (Why) Visual Literacy Matters (& Art History too) Works of art are mere things until we begin to carefully perceive and interpret them - then they become alive and enliven us as we reflect on, wonder about, and respond to them. (Terry Barrett) Winter 2019

AHVS 121 - people.finearts.uvic.caddudley/AHVS121... · AHVS 121 Understanding Visual Communication (Why) Visual Literacy Matters (& Art History too) Works of art are mere things

May 31, 2020



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  • AHVS 121Understanding Visual Communication

    (Why) Visual Literacy Matters (& Art History too)

    Works of art are mere things until we begin to carefully perceive and interpret them - then they become alive and enliven us as we reflect on,

    wonder about, and respond to them. (Terry Barrett)

    Winter 2019


    MWTh 3:30-4:20

    Learn to decode the information, overt and covert, in images as diverse as this poster & the Mona Lisa. Develop your eyes & your analytical skills while experiencing & exploring your visual world.

    CRN Semester Time


    COURSE DESCRIPTIONThis course is designed to help you develop your visual literacy.

    It is also a consideration of the discipline of art history - what it is, what it does and why it is significant to you.

    The class is thematic and concept-based, rather than content-based. This means it prioritizes ideas and issues, not memorization or ‘fact-assembly’.

    Please note that this is a survey class (think of it as a sampling of different periods and ideas).

    This course will emphasize different approaches to art and art history for which we will use specific geographical and chronological examples; remember these ideas and issues are applicable to other cultures, times and types of visual expression.


    Because this course is based on discourse and the sharing of ideas and concepts attendance is heavily weighted.


    iClicker version 2 c$40-52 - must be brought to each class you may also choose to use the app version but be aware that it also has a cost & that no additional time can be provided for potential connection/server issues during class. I will enable app usage, but cannot provide tech support (see the Computer Help Desk). The physical clicker has been the most reliable option in the past.

    IMPORTANT: send me an email with your iClicker registration number!

    FASP membership $12 - for 2 assignments FASP cheapest option Art Gallery of Greater Victoria


    8 (of 10 posted) written response papers / gallery reviews 80%

    10% each; rubric is included in this outline

    Assignment #10 is MANDATORY; all others are student’s choice

    Top 7 marks will be included in grade with that of Assign#10. No rewrites.

    All papers not submitted will be given 0; no N grades for individual assignments or course

    Engagement & Contribution (aka Attendance & Participation in class & tutorial) 20%

    Lecture attendance & participation is based only on cumulative total of clicker responses.

    Tutorial attendance & participation based on class engagement & clicker responses.

    KEEP COPIES OF YOUR EMAILS You are responsible for keeping track of how many assignments you have submitted.


  • SCHEDULESubject to Adjustment

  • ASSISTANCEThe schedule is busy. Stay on track as best you can. If you fall behind, see your TA as soon as possible! Your TAs & I are here to help you, if you run into difficulty let us know. That is what our office hours are for.

    If you want further help with assignment structure & style, the Writing Centre is available:

    If your difficulties are personal (from time management to crisis response), Counselling Services also has many programs to help you:

    Students with diverse learning styles and needs are welcome in this course. In particular, if you have a disability/health consideration that may require accommodations, please feel free to approach me and/or the Centre for Accessible Learning (CAL) as soon as possible. CAL 
staff are available by appointment to assess specific needs, provide referrals and arrange appropriate accommodations. The sooner you let us know your needs the quicker we can assist you in achieving your learning goals in this course.

    NOTE: there are NO EXAMS. Writing assignments OVERLAP. Deadlines are minimum 10 days - which gives you time to engage, reflect and write; stay on track.


    To see any image or visual presentation with attention to formal qualities (colour, line, composition etc) AND read it with a sense of context (spatial, cultural, historical) & the interdisciplinary nature of the field of study.

    To analyze the results of that reading for meaning within the framework of associated issues (power, technology, social practice)

    To communicate orally the process of that reading and the significance of the results of that reading both within the cultural framework and as relating to themselves in particular

    To communicate in clear and effective writing the process of that reading and the significance of the results of that reading both within the cultural framework and as relating to themselves in particular

    To learn to regularly practice the act of writing (to write draft yuck)

    To develop more effective writing in response to assignment feedback

    To insert their own voice and ‘located-ness’ into their writing

    To learn to structure their arguments & developing the significance of the points they make

  • Why does “visual reading” matter?

    (Reading) art has tangible & intangible aspects

    How do we read art in relation to our

    (multiple) social contexts? How does one read the tangible aspects of art?

    How does one read the intangible aspects of art?

    How do we negotiate the interdisciplinary contexts?

    Who does (or should) control art

    (& viewership)

    Formal Qualities

    Spatial Contexts

    Historical Contexts


    Cultural Contexts

    Economics etc

    The BasicsThe

    Bigger ??s






  • ASSIGNMENTSMost of your evaluation is based upon frequent writing (min. 750 words each) marked for completion, thoroughness, and critical thought. Consider the course materials and questions carefully, and develop your answers as analytically as you can. All assignments are marked out of 10.

    Assignments are designed to be personal responses to questions or issues encountered in the lectures and tutorials. Often you will also be directed to specific art /collections / architecture to consider.

    You are expected to be familiar with any readings and the class material (lecture and discussion) from both lecture and tutorials - TAKE NOTES in whatever way works best for you. Every discipline requires correct use of terminology and concepts, so you will be expected to use appropriate vocabulary. If you miss a class, please get the notes from another student. Read them. If you have further questions see your TA, for yet further clarification, see me.

    Assignments will be posted in the Materials section of the course website - NOT on CourseSpaces Course Materials can be found HERE or by following the links from the AHVS Current Students webpage

    Responsibility for access rests with the student. These assignments will be posted by Thursday of the given week and are due 11 days later by email unless otherwise specified (e.g. Assignment 10). You may submit assignments earlier. Late assignments will be accepted but will be penalized.

    Because of the nature of the assignments you are encouraged to discuss the issues and questions with your classmates, however, the written work you submit must be your own original material - so it is strongly suggested that you do your writing separately.


    Submit your writing to me by email at: Please use a separate email for each assignment, and separate emails for any other discussion you wish to have with me.

    Subject line of email message MUST read: AHVS Assignment # Attachment (assignment) name MUST read: YourNameAssignment# (as per assignment sheet) for example: DennineDAssign4

    Marks will be deducted for incorrectly titled assignments. Please also put your name somewhere in the text of your assignment. Title pages are unnecessary and will not be included in the word count.

    Unfortunately Microsoft Word is still industry standard. Please submit assignments as .doc or .docx. You may use your preferred software to write, and then convert the submitted version. Staff in any of the computer labs on campus can help with conversion issues. It may be necessary for you to change formats due to individual conversion issues. Please note that PDF versions may/might not have feedback included.

    Assignments MUST be submitted as attachments. NO LINKS. If you are using Google Docs or SkyDrive, download the copy to your desktop and then attach it to the email.

    The email your assignment is sent from is the address it will be returned to. Make sure UVic has your email on file. All batch communication will be sent via UVic’s system.

    NOTE: all of these submission requirements have been worked out over several years so as to be able to provide private, returnable feedback, the ability to count and track assignments, and to streamline workflow. Technical upgrading is beyond our control. It may be necessary to revisit these requirements in which case an updated process will be provided.

  • CLASS STRUCTUREQ: Why does this class have response papers & clicker questions rather than reports and exams?

    A: It’s based on an approach called Constructivism. Image shows example definitions from a Twitter #edchat.


    LECTURE: Instructor: Dr. Dennine Dudley Time: Monday & Thursday 3:30-4:20 Room: Elliot Building Room 167

    CONTACT: Email: Office: Fine Arts Building 121 Department phone: 250-721-7942 Office Hours: Monday 1:00-3:00 (or by appointment)

    TUTORIAL: TA: ____________________________ Time: _Wednesday_________________ Room: _________________________

    CONTACT: Email: ________________ Office: Fine Arts Building 136 Office phone: 250-721-6306 Office Hour: ___________________________


    Images are presented in class as falling under the educational use/fair use permissions of Canadian copyright legislation.

    Please consider all materials presented in this course as stamped with the fair dealing statement.

    Slideshows will not be posted.

    Other sources, for reviewing select images, may be suggested.


    Cheating or plagiarism will result in an automatic grade of F. A second event will have more severe penalties, as per University Policy on Academic Integrity (see the university calendar). Instructor reserves the right to use plagiarism detection practices, including digital search systems and style comparison for overuse of editorial ghostwriting.

    No make-up assignments will be given for either missed papers or poor results. Extensions on some assignments may be granted for documented cases that meet university criteria (see the university calendar); approval of course instructor also required. If a deferral is under consideration, please consult with the instructor.

    We want everyone to feel safe at the university. Please be mindful. Hostility or abusive behaviour towards faculty, staff or students will not be tolerated. Appropriate backup assistance will be sought.

    A+ 90-100%, A 85-89%, A- 80-84%, B+ 77-79%, B 73-76%, B- 70-72%, C+ 65-69%, C 60-64%, D 50-59%, F below 50%


    Preston’s Law: Be Excellent To Each Other

    The Doctor’s Precept: I’ve Never Met Anyone Who Wasn’t Important

    McKinley’s Stance: There’s No Such Thing As Absolute Objectivity

    Enlightened Empiricism: Not All Opinions Are Equal - Facts Matter

    Matisse’s Axiom: Creativity Takes Courage

    Dahl’s Counsel: Above All Watch With Glittering Eyes The Whole World

    Guiding Principle: The Eyes Are Useless When The Mind Is Blind


    uch PerfectA+Element D C B A

    Relevanceof concept

    No attempt is made to establish why the

    concept/point matters: RELEVANCE

    Little attempt made to establish why the concept


    More attempts made to establish why the concept


    Significance of concept/idea is clarified and


    Personal connection

    Paper reads as if it could have been written by


    Paper reads in artificial language; largely 3rd

    person: VOICE

    MechanicsNumerous mistakes of grammar and syntax.

    Meaning is lost.GRAMMAR/STYLE

    Numerous mistakes of grammar and syntax. Meaning is unclear.


    Enough mistakes in grammar and style to hinder overall clarity.

    A few mistakes in grammar & style hinder meaning at sentence level.

    Very few mistakes in grammar and style.

    Paper is in natural, formal voice making >1 concrete connection of

    issue & experience

    Paper provides clear examples of connections

    between concepts & personal views/experience

    StructurePaper written in report


    Primarily descriptive, minimal analysis,

    considered thoughtfulness

    More developed attempt to provide context for

    arguments, supporting evidence; sentence level.

    Progressive and coherent argument at paragraph

    and/or paper level.

    ComplexityPaper fails to consider alternate positions/

    possibilities: MORE HERE

    Clarity of Purpose

    Paper acknowledges alternate positions but

    offers insufficient response to them

    Paper acknowledges alternate positions and

    provides counter arguments.

    Paper incorporates and evaluates alternate

    positions in logical and balanced discussion

    Critical Thought

    Paper is passive in reporting issues or ideas


    Paper shows some attempt to evaluate ideas

    and/or issues; makes assumptions.

    Paper provides analysis of ideas/concepts but fails to

    draw full inference

    Paper reflectively analyzes ideas/concepts &

    elaborates on significance of the reasoning

    Narrative or arguments are incomplete /disorganized.DOES NOT FOLLOW

    Is difficult to follow thought process/argument

    for more than a few sentences at a time.

    Paper communicates ideas and arguments in clear

    and precise fashion.

    Ideas and arguments are easy to follow,

    occasionally out of order or dropped ‘thread’


  • The following statement has been suggested by VPAC:

    A note to remind you to take care of yourself. Do your best to maintain a healthy lifestyle this semester by eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep and taking some time to relax. This will help you achieve your goals and cope with stress. All of us benefit from support during times of struggle. You are not alone.

    Counselling Services - Counselling Services can help you make the most of your university experience. They offer free professional, confidential, inclusive support to currently registered UVic students.

    Health Services - University Health Services (UHS) provides a full service primary health clinic for students, and coordinates healthy student and campus initiatives.

    Centre for Accessible Learning* - The CAL staff are available by appointment to assess specific needs, provide referrals and arrange appropriate accommodations The sooner you let us know your needs the quicker we can assist you in achieving your learning goals in this course.

    Elders' Voices - The Office of Indigenous Academic and Community Engagement (IACE) has the privilege of assembling a group of Elders from local communities to guide students, staff, faculty and administration in Indigenous ways of knowing and 
being. p


  • UVic takes sexualized violence seriously, and has raised the bar for what is considered acceptable behaviour. We encourage students to learn more about how the university defines sexualized violence and its overall approach by visiting If you or someone you know has been impacted by sexualized violence and needs information, advice, and/or support please contact the sexualized violence resource office in Equity and Human Rights (EQHR). Whether or not you have been directly impacted, if you want to take part in the important prevention work taking place on campus, you can also reach out:

    Where: Sexualized violence resource office in EQHR, Sedgewick C119 Phone: 250.721.8021


  • Please include the below information in your Course Outline regarding the CES (taken from the Learning and Teaching Centre’s Faculty Resources):

    “I value your feedback on this course. Towards the end of term you will have the opportunity to complete a confidential course experience survey (CES) regarding your learning experience. The survey is vital to providing feedback to me regarding the course and my teaching, as well as to help the department improve the overall program for students in the future. When it is time for you to complete the survey, you will receive an email inviting you to do so. If you do not receive an email invitation, you can go directly to You will need to use your UVic NetLink ID to access the survey, which can be done on your laptop, tablet or mobile device. I will remind you nearer the time but please be thinking about this important activity, especially the following three questions, during the course.

    -What strengths did your instructor demonstrate that helped you learn in this course?

    -Please provide specific suggestions as to how the instructor could have helped you learn more effectively.

    -Please provide specific suggestions as to how this course could be improved.”

    For more information the CES, please check the below link: