CMN 448 | 25-05-2022

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CMN 448

Introduction to Visual Communication

1. Course Description

This course introduces students to the study of visual communication. Students will examine the ways visual images persuade us to act, think, and feel, and will also learn vocabulary, concepts, and histories related to visual meaning-making. Students will focus on the ways images, seeing, and being seen influence the ways we experience the world within professional and social contexts and how visual images and image-making manipulate and become manipulated by a surrounding visual culture.

Last Revised

May 25, 2022

CMN 601, FCD 601


CMN 601, FCD 601


CMN 200 or CMN 279. Note: This course is available only to Professional Communication and Creative Industries students


2. Course Objectives & Learning Outcomes

  • To demonstrate appropriate use of terminology and concepts to describe, discuss and analyze the meaning of visual images in a variety of contexts. 
  • To demonstrate an understanding of how visual images interact with and construct visual culture. 
  • To understand how participants both shape and are shaped by visual culture.
  • To design, create, and construct effective visual messages and objects for different audiences and across different media platforms.

3. Topics Covered

  1. Visual terms and concepts
  2. The history of the visual
  3. Concepts in visual communication and culture
  4. Multimodal design
  5. Visual design strategies and technologies


4. Teaching Method


In this course students will engage in class discussions, work on assignments, and examine visual communication media and issues.

Graded Assignments

Students will prepare at least two written assignments, one persuasive visual piece and/or one professionally-related, multimodal project. Additional in-class work may be assigned. The weighting of each assignment will be announced by the instructor.

Microcredentials/Badges + Level 2 Benchmark

Three workshops will be delivered online. The successful completion of workshops will result in three microcredentials/badges: Idea Generator, Document Designer, and Icon Designer. Together, the badges constitute the completion of the ProCom Level 2 tech-skills benchmark.

5. Course Materials


All required readings are available in the course D2L shell under “Content”. You are not required to purchase a textbook for this class. 

Assignments for this course will require you to develop and create various digital design elements, such as posters, logos, etc. You are encouraged to use your own devices (laptops, iPads, etc.) and software for these assignments. If you have any computing and/or equipment needs, please email

6. Policy

6.1 University Policies

Students are required to adhere to all applicable university policies found in their Online course shell in D2L and the Course Outline Policies.

6.2 Print and Digital Copying Guidelines:

Toronto Metropolitan University complies with Canada’s ​Copyright Act​ which protects both creators/owners and users of copyrighted materials. Students should familiarize themselves with ​TMU Copyright policies and procedures​, and contact the Copyright and Scholarly Engagement Librarian at ​ ​for questions, concerns and clarification of the copyright rules. 

6.3 is a plagiarism prevention and detection service to which Toronto Metropolitan University subscribes. It is a tool that helps instructors determine the similarity between student work and the work of other students who have submitted papers to the site (at any university), Internet sources, and a wide range of books, journals, and other publications. While it does not contain all possible sources, it gives instructors some assurance that students’ work is their own. No decisions are made by the service; it generates an “originality report,” which instructors must evaluate to judge whether something is plagiarized.

Students agree by taking this course that their written work will be subject to submission for textual similarity review to  All submitted papers will be included as source documents in the reference database solely for the purpose of comparing the similarity of such papers.  Use of the service is subject to the terms-of-use agreement posted on the website.  Students who do not want their work submitted to this plagiarism detection service must, by the end of the second week of class, consult with their instructor to make alternative arrangements. Even when an instructor has not indicated that a plagiarism detection service will be used, or when a student has opted out of the plagiarism detection service, if the instructor has reason to suspect that an individual piece of work has been plagiarized, the instructor is permitted to submit that work in a non-identifying way to any plagiarism detection service.

6.4 Email Communication

Toronto Metropolitan University requires that any official or formal email communication from students be sent from their official Toronto Metropolitan University electronic accounts. 

6.5 Video and Audio Recording

No video or audio recording is permitted in class without the express permission of the instructor.

7. Learning Management System

Toronto Metropolitan University supports Brightspace by D2L as its official Learning Management System. University Policies governing Brightspace have been documented at the Courses @ Toronto Metropolitan University Privacy and Security website.

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