Welcome to Course 3! I hope you are well and have managed to enjoy some kind of break during the summer months. It has been a strange time to be a teacher as many of our usual Summer activities may not have been possible. Personally we have remained in Panama and are still in lock-down, nearly 6 months after the pandemic started. Whatever you did I hope that managed to get some down time away from a screen.

This is the course where we take a deep dive into all things visual. Over the next 6 weeks of this course we will aim to build understanding in the following key areas:

  • How to use the design and layout of information to influence effective communication
  • How different information mediums require different strategies when organizing information and communicating effectively
  • Using infographics and data visualizations to tell complex stories
  • How the audience and purpose behind your communication affect how and what you communicate

After all, we are all designers.

But how do we define visual literacy? According to Merriam-Webster, visual literacy is the “ability to recognize and understand ideas conveyed through visible actions or images.” visualliteracytoday.org explains that it is the “ability to read, write and create visual images. It is a concept that relates to art and design but it also has much wider applications. Visual literacy is about language, communication, and interaction. Visual media is a linguistic tool with which we communicate, exchange ideas and navigate our highly visual digital world.”

I really value this short video from Toledo Museum of Art who asked the attendees at the 47th International Visual Literacy Association were asked to define “visual literacy” in their own terms. It shares some different perspectives on what visual literacy is to them. What is it to you?

In week one our focal point will be ISTE Standard for Educators 6.d: Model and nurture creativity and creative expression to communicate ideas, knowledge or connections.

You will explore questions related to how you see visual media and your own design habits. You will also dig into some great resources explaining how design principles affect the way we perceive media.

There are lots of wonderful resources that can help to deepen our understanding about many of these principles. This article called “6 principles of visual hierarchy for designers” from 99designs does a really good job of explaining this both visually and with written word. Alternatively this infographic explains some of the numbers behind “How People Read Online”

One of my favorite concepts to consider when looking into design elements is the set of principles designers use called CARP. Contrast, Alignment, Repetition, and Proximity (not to be confused with CRAP). One of my favorite resources for learning more about CARP is the ebook created by Keri-Lee Beasley called “Design Secrest Revealed.”It’s a clear and visual explanation of each principle and a great way to develop an understanding of basic design concepts.

This weeks tasks:

  • Plan a redesign of your COETAIL blog to make it more aesthetically appealing and easier to navigate (assuming you have no limitations). Choose 1 change to make.
  • Write a reflective blog post explaining your choices and design considerations. Include images and before/after screenshots.
  • Comment on at least one COETAIL-ers post and add the URL to the grade sheet.
  • Don’t forget to check out the GET tab if you’re going for the dual certificate!