EDTECH 506: Graphic Design for Learning

3 Credit Online Course

Instructor Information

Patrick LowenthalPatrick R. Lowenthal, Ph.D.
Office Hours: by appointment
Phone: (208) 426-2416
E-mail: patricklowenthal@boisestate.edu*
Web: http://www.patricklowenthal.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/plowenthal

*Email is the best way to reach me. If I haven't responded within 48 hours, please email me again.

Course Description

Apply learning theory, principles of visual literacy, and graphic design techniques for instructional media development. Select and combine visual and text representations to effectively communicate instructional information.

Course Outcomes

After completing this course you will be able to:

  1. Apply principles of visual literacy to the graphic design for learning.
  2. Select and apply principles of graphic design when developing instructional materials and presentations.
  3. Select appropriate combinations of graphic and image representations to supplement text-based instruction.
  4. Develop instructional content that integrates multiple instructional messages to achieve identified learning goals.
  5. Use image editing software (e.g., Adobe Photoshop) to create and modify images for digital and print formats.

Course Location and Login Information

This is an online course delivered in Moodle (http://edtech.mrooms.org/). The Moodle login page explains how to login to Moodle. Contact Moodle Support at moodlesupport@boisestate.edu if you have problems accessing Moodle. If you have forgotten your password, click the link below the login box, "lost password?" and you will be able to reset it. When you login to Moodle, look for a link to EDTECH 506-4201: Graphic Design for Learning (SP18).

Course Materials

You do not have to purchase a textbook for this course. Readings will be posted in Moodle each week from a variety of different textbooks, book chapters, and journal articles. However, if you prefer to have a hard copy, most of the readings come from the following two textbooks:

Thumb nail of Linda Lohr's text "Creating graphics for learning and performance"

Lohr, L. L. (2007). Creating graphics for learning and performance: Lessons in visual literacy. Prentice Hall Press.





Thumb nail of Golombisky and Hagen's text, White space is not your enemy

Golombisky, K., & Hagen, R. (2010). White space is not your enemy: A beginner's guide to communicating visually through graphic, web & multimedia design (1st ed.). Taylor & Francis.
Note: There are not major changes between the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd editions of this text.


You need access to graphic editing software this semester. You are encouraged to learn and use the industry leading tools Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. If you don't already have access to Adobe Creative Cloud, you can purchase a subscription for $19.99 a month. However, you can also use free tools like GIMP if you prefer.

Attendance & Communication

You should plan to spend 9 -12 hours a week on this course. Each week you should login to the course shell at least three different days each week and check your Boise State email 5 days a week.


Asynchronous Discussions: There will be full class and small group discussions in this course. You will also spend time critiquing and providing feedback on the work of your peers. Your participation in the asynchronous discussions and peer feedback will determine your participation grade this semester (which will be graded during the last week of class).


Synchronous Discussions: We will meet for Happy Hour a few times this semester. Happy Hour is a time to meet to talk about the course, problems you might be having, or anything else that is on your mind. These meetings are optional, but you are encouraged to attend and you can earn points for attendance. I will log off if nobody shows up during the first fifteen minutes. Additional synchronous sessions can be added throughout the semester as needed as well. I realize that these times might not work for everybody. I will record each Happy Hour and post it in the course. One-on-one meetings can always be scheduled to talk about anything in the course.

Internet Connectivity

You need an up-to-date computer with an Internet connection in this course.

Course Assignments, Assessments, & Grades

Overview of Assignments

Detailed information about each assignment is posted in Moodle.

  Graded Assignments Points
1 Personal Introduction Image (MODULE 2) 10
2 Design Challenge #1 (MODULE 3) 40
3 Design Challenge #2 (MODULE 4) 40
4 Design Challenge #3 (MODULE 5) 40
5 Design Challenge #4 (MODULE 6) 40
6 Design Challenge #5 (MODULE 7) 40
7 Instructional Comic (MODULE 8) 100
8 Pecha Kucha (MODULE 9) 100
9 Job Aid (MODULE 10) 100
10 Infographic (MODULE 11) 100
11 Instructional image of choice (MODULE 12) 100
12 Peer Reviews of Previous Images & Revisions (MODULE 13) 40
13 First Draft of Final Project & Peer Review of Final Projects (MODULE 14) 100
14 Final Project: Instruction with a Visual & Creative Twist (MODULE 15) 100
  Participation (MODULES 1-14) 50
  Extra Credit Design Journal (MODULES 4-13) 20
Total Points 1000

AECT Standards

Course assignments are aligned to the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) Standards, 2012 version. Assignments are listed by number (based on the assignments list above) in the following table under the standard they are aligned to.

  Standard 1 Content Knowledge Standard 2 Content Pedagogy Standard 3 Learning Environments Standard 4 Professional Knowledge & Skills Standard 5 Research
Creating 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14    2, 3, 4, 5  
Using 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14    2, 3, 4, 5  
Accessing/Evaluating 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14    12, 13, 14  
Diversity of Learners       13  
Collaborative Practice          
Reflection on Practice 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14 13, 14 12, 13, 14  
Theoretical Foundations 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14     7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14

Grades and Feedback

Final grades are based on the following scale.

Grade Points Required
A 940 - 1,000
A- 900 - 939
B+ 870 - 899
B 840 - 869
B- 800 - 839
C+ 770 - 799
C 740 - 769
C- 700 - 739
D 600 - 699
F 0 - 599


Grading Cycle: All assignments are graded together as a group to maintain a higher level of consistency. Grading begins on the first day after a due date and is typically completed before the next due date. You may track your progress through Grades in Moodle. You can redo any individual assignment to pick up additional points as long as the updated assignment is resubmitted within two weeks of when it was graded and before the last day of instruction listed on the Boise State Academic Calendar. Assignments turned in over a week late are not able to be redone and submitted for additional points.


Feedback: I provide feedback on major assignments but not always on minor assignments. You will also receive feedback from your peers. Additional feedback can be provided as needed and requested.

Late Work

Due Dates: Assignments, unless stated otherwise, are due every Monday by 11:59pm Mountain time.

Point Deduction for Late Work: There is a 24 hour grace period. Assignments that are more than 24 hours late may be deducted up to a half letter grade for each day additional day that they are late. All late work must be turned in by the first day of the last module in the course in order to be graded and eligible for any points.

Emergency Pass: If you have a major event such as a death in the family, illness, hospitalization, or you are out of town, you may turn in one assignment under the emergency pass. This assignment may be up to one week late and still qualify for full credit. After the one week extension has passed, the assignment will be considered late and deducted points for each day it is late. Contact the instructor immediately if you need to use an emergency pass.

Your Responsibility with Late Work: If you are going to turn an assignment in late for any reason, please e-mail the instructor on or before the scheduled due date. Send a follow-up email, once the assignment is complete, to let the instructor know it is ready to grade. This is how the late work penalty is calculated. Failure to notify the instructor could lead to a grade of zero.

Reasonable Accommodations

Students with disabilities needing accommodations to fully participate in this class should contact the Educational Access Center (EAC). All accommodations must be approved through the EAC prior to being implemented. To learn more about the accommodation process, visit the EAC’s website at https://eac.boisestate.edu/.

The Educational Access Center is located on the first floor of the Lincoln Parking Garage, on the corner of Lincoln Ave. and University Dr. at Boise State University. They are available Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Mountain Time.

Phone: 208.426.1583
Email: eacinfo@boisestate.edu
Website: https://eac.boisestate.edu


EDTECH courses involves online delivery and for some courses public display of assignments on websites or social media spaces. In the online course, your name, email address, and Moodle profile may be visible to others who have logged into Moodle. You are advised to familiarize yourself with privacy settings on Moodle or social media sites associated with the course. Privacy settings can sometimes be adjusted to restrict certain types of information. Please contact your instructor if you have questions or concerns.

Academic Honesty

Students are expected to create original work for each assignment. Students must follow the Boise State Student Code of Conduct as well as observe U.S. copyright laws in this course. In the event of academic dishonesty, a complaint is filed with the Boise State Student Conduct Office with supporting documentation. This complaint remains on file and actions may be taken against the student (e.g., loss or credit, grade reduction, expulsion, etc.).

Policy for Incompletes

Incompletes are not guaranteed. However, when they are given, incompletes adhere to Boise State University guidelines as follows:

Instructors can enter a grade of I—for incomplete—if both of the following conditions are present:

In order to receive an incomplete, you and your instructor must agree to a contract stipulating the work you must do and the time in which it must be completed for you to receive a grade in the class. The terms of this contract are viewable on my.BoiseState under Your Student Center To Do List. [ NOTE: Assuming the order conditions are met, I tend to give at most 3 weeks additional time to complete the course and typically students taking an incomplete are unable to earn an "A" in the course due to a combination of late penalties and the inability to complete certain assignments (e.g., peer reviews). ] The contract time varies as set by the instructor but may not exceed one year. If no grade other than incomplete has been assigned one year after the original incomplete, the grade of F will automatically be assigned. The grade of F may not be changed without approval of the University Appeals Committee. You may not remove the incomplete from your transcript by re-enrolling in the class during another semester. A grade of incomplete is excluded from GPA calculations until you receive a final grade in the course.

Tentative Course Schedule

Detailed information about assignments is posted in Moodle. The instructor reserves the right to make changes to the schedule as needed.

Major Activities


MODULE 1: Introduction to Visual Design (8/20 - 8/26; Assignments due 8/27)

  • Identify graphic editor & tutorials

  • Practice using graphic editor

  • Complete Bio in Google doc

  • Golombisky -- Ch1: What is design? (7 pages)

  • Lohr -- Ch1: Visual Literacy for Educators and Performance Support Specialists (25 pages)

  • Reynolds -- Ch1: Design Matters (23 pages)

MODULE 2: Visuals & Learning (8/27 - 9/2; Assignments due 9/3)

  • Create a Personal Image

  • Practice using graphic editor

  • Lohr -- Ch3: Visuals and learning (26 pages)

  • Clark -- Ch1: The power of visuals (10 pages)

  • Clark -- Ch2: Three views of instructional visuals (12 pages)

  • Clark -- Ch4: Graphics and learning (14 pages)

  • Clark -- Ch3: Applying the Multimedia Principle: Use Words and Graphics Rather Than Words Alone (25 pages)

MODULE 3: ACE (9/3 - 9/9; Assignments due 9/10)

  • Design Challenge #1

  • Lohr -- Ch4: ACE (25 pages)

MODULE 4: CARP (9/10 - 9/16; Assignments due 9/17)

  • Design Challenge #2

  • Happy Hour #1 Jan. 31st @4:30pm

  • Lohr -- Ch8: CARP (16 pages)

  • Golombisky -- Ch 5: Mini art school (14 pages)

MODULE 5: Typography (9/17 - 9/23; Assignments due 9/24)

  • Design Challenge #3

  • Lohr -- Ch9: Typography (14 pages)

  • Golombisky -- Ch8: Type (26 pages)

MODULE 6: Shape (9/24 - 9/30; Assignments due 10/1)

  • Design Challenge #4

  • Lohr -- Ch10 Shape (14 pages)

MODULE 7: Selection (10/1 - 10/7; Assignments due 10/8)

  • Design Challenge #5

  • Lohr -- Ch5 Selection (20 pages)

MODULE 8: Layout (10/8 - 10/14; Assignments due 10/15)

  • Create an Instructional Comic

  • Happy Hour #2 Feb. 28th @ 5pm

  • Golombisky -- Ch4 Layout sins (12 pages)

  • Golombisky -- Ch6 What is a grid? (12 pages)

  • Golombisky -- Ch7 Layout (16 pages)

  • McCloud -- Ch1 Making Comics (55 pages)

MODULE 9: Integration (10/15 - 10/21; Assignments due 10/22)

  • Create / Present a Pecha Kucha

  • Lohr -- Ch7: Integration (34 pages)

  • Lowenthal -- Situational qualities exhibited by exceptional presenters (13 pages)

  • Lowenthal -- Improving the design of PowerPoint presentations (5 pages)

MODULE 10: Job Aids (10/22 - 10/28; Assignments due 10/29)

  • Create a job aid

  • Rossett -- Job aids and performance support (19 pages)

  • Rossett -- Formats of job aids (23 pages)

  • Rossett -- Steps for developing job aids (21 pages)

MODULE 11: Infographics (10/29 - 11/4; Assignments due 11/5)

  • Create an infographic
  • Golombisky -- Ch11: Infographics (14 pages)

  • Dunlap and Lowenthal -- Getting graphic about infographics (17 pages)

  • Krum -- Ch1: Science of Infographics (30 pages)

MODULE 12: Color (11/5 - 11/11; Assignments due 11/12)

  • Create an instructional image of choice
  • Happy Hour #3 April 4th @5:30pm
  • Lohr -- Ch11: Color (23 pages)

  • Golombisky -- Ch9: Color Basics (20 pages)

MODULE 13: Peer Review Previous Projects (11/12 - 11/18; Assignments due 11/19)

  • Peer Review Previous Projects

  • Revise Projects

no assigned reading

THANKSGIVING BREAK (11/19 - 11/25)

MODULE 14: Final Project Peer Review (11/26 - 12/2; Assignments due 12/3)

  • Peer Review Final Projects

no assigned reading

MODULE 15: Pulling it All Together (12/3 - 12/9; Assignments due 12/10)

  • Revise and turn in final Project: Instruction with a Visual & Creative Twist

no assigned reading

*The main reading for each module are listed in this table. You can find a PDF of the reading in the corresponding module. Additional reading and videos will be listed in each module in Moodle.


Conceptual Framework

College of Education - The Professional Educator: Boise State University strives to develop knowledgeable educators who integrate complex roles and dispositions in the service of diverse communities of learners. Believing that all children, adolescents, and adults can learn, educators dedicate themselves to supporting that learning. Using effective approaches that promote high levels of student achievement, educators create environments that prepare learners to be citizens who contribute to a complex world. Educators serve learners as reflective practitioners, scholars and artists, problem solvers, and partners.

Department of Educational Technology Mission

The Department of Educational Technology is a diverse and international network of scholars, professional educators and candidates who: