GPH 205 Historical Foundations of Visual Technology

Dec Intersession 2017-2018
Class number: 26224
Section number: 522
Online Campus
Course homepage:


This course is a survey of the development, application and meaning of visual technologies in a wide range of world cultures from pre-history to the present. It traces the unique intersection of mathematics and physical culture that marks design science as it has been realized in a variety of human societies. The course includes works of art that emphasize mathematical, geometric and physical elements antecedent to contemporary graphic technology. This course carries Liberal Studies credit in the Understanding the Past learning domain. It belongs to the geographical category of "Intercontinental." Students may not take more than one Understanding the Past course in any given geographical category. The central Understanding the Past learning goal is to help you become literate about the past and the methods used to understand it. DePaul considers that this learning goal is achieved if you are able to demonstrate the following learning outcomes in your written work, exams, and/or contributions to discussions:

1. You have acquired knowledge of prehistoric or historical events, themes, and ideas

2. You can reason through analysis, evaluation, and/or synthesis of a range of primary and secondary source evidence

3. You understand that there are different perspectives on the past, whether those be historical or methodological in nature

4. You can express knowledge and reason effectively in written work.

This syllabus gives you an overall description of the course, required texts, prerequisites, grading scheme, and how the course is organized.


Two books are required at a total cost of as little as $10!

The Story of Art, any edition (E. H. Gombrich,). ISBN 0-7148-3247-2. Earlier editions may be used with the slight disadvantage that they have fewer color illustrations, but the lecture slides provide all art images in color.

The History of Visual Technology, 4th edition, by James Janossy (2016). This workbook is provided free as a .pdf download at the course web site. The workbook contains all materials for course assignments as well as study aids and assignment worksheets to help you do the assignments, all of which are submitted electronically.

The DePaul Loop bookstore customarily carries The Story of Art; a direct link to the web page for this books is provided in the course web pages. As a study aid, the course web pages also provides links to the slides on which lectures are based, in downloadable 3-up .pdf form suitable for electronic note-taking or printing. You may use any word processor you wish to complete the assignments in this course.


This course is divided into four modules named "units". Each unit requires readings and video viewing as indicated in the course e-book and the completion and submission of these two assignments:
* a written summary homework assignment supplied as a form which serves as an electronic "turnaround" document
* a hands-on project.
Thus a total of eight assignments exist in the course, as well as the reflective essay and conclusions work.Optional extra credit is possible in each of the units of the course and is also contained in the workbook.

Written homework and project work are graded by the instructor upon submission and written feedback and scores are given, after which students have the opportunity to revise and resubmit the work for re-grading and (possibly) higher score. This course does not make use of discussion boards; instead, frequent communication and dialog between the student and the instructor is encouraged in a "mentoring" capacity relying on the extensive feedback provided by the instructor as a starting point.

The homework and projects count for 60% of the course grade. A reflective written assignment (20%) and conclusions work (20%) accounts for the remainder of the course score in a range 0 to 100. The letter grade for the course is assigned from that course score using this scale:

93.6 and above = A
90-93.5 = A-
87.6-89.9 = B+
83.6-87.5 = B
80-83.5 = B-
77.6-79.9 = C+
73.6-77.5 = C
70-73.5 = C-
67.6-69.9 = D+
60-67.5 = D
less than 60 = F

The extensive individual feedback provided to each student on each item of written homework and project work, and the opportunity to revise and resubmit work, provide much more frequent and timely feedback than would a midterm exam--so there is no midterm exam in this course.

The end of the term is focused on the reflective essay and the conclusions work, which functions as a "take home" exam--so there is no scheduled final exam of a "test" nature in this course. Even the essay and conclusions work can be revised based on feedback from the instructor and resubmitted for re-grading, assuming that it is submitted at least five days before the "ultimate due date for work submission" posted for the class at the start of the term.

The ultimate due date for the submission of work to count toward the course grade is stated on the Confirmation of Participation form for the term, which students download from the course web site, complete by specifying their self-set schedule, and submit to the dedicated course e-mail address (also stated on the form). For this and any other work submission deadlines the full date specified is available to students since the deadline is always stated as 11:59 PM on that date.

A detailed course grade "transcript" with feedback is provided to each student at frequent intervals during the course. Grades are not "curved." Every student can earn an "A" or any other grade; you are not competing with anyone else in this course. Your grade results entirely from your own efforts judged objectively. Optional extra credit is available in each of the four units of the course.

This class is designed to take advantage of modern electronic technology and the web. All work is submitted electronically online. You need to do the reading assignments and video viewing for which links are provided in the course web pages since the written homework and projects are based on these.

Work for each unit is due on the date the student has committed to in their self-declared work submission schedule. Each student has a grace period of seven days (total) which the instructor applies as needed to avoid or minimize a late penalty. In addition, students can re-plan their declared work submission schedule until the withdrawal date for the term is reached. Official CDM policies regarding incompletes, grade/GPA effects of re-taking a course, and grade challenges are located at


The only prerequisite for this course is that you can access videos such as that using a desktop, laptop, smart cell phone, iPad, iPod, or other tablet computer. This course supports all of these devices. If you don't have convenient internet access on one of these types of devices you may not have what you need in terms of infrastructure to attempt a fully online course!

Online work replaces paper-based work

In keeping with the subject matter of the course the course is designed to take advantage of modern electronic technology, communications capabilities, and the web. All work is submitted electronically online. You need to do the reading assignments and video viewing for which links are provided on the course web site since the written homework and projects are based on these. Support is provided for Windows/PCs, Apple Macs, and any other computer providing a web browser with common features.

Individual coursework scheduling and instructor help

Online courses need not be constrained to have each student proceed at the same pace. In this course each students decides, within some simple guidelines, on the date they will commit to complete each of the first four units of the course. The schedule is declared using the Confirmation of Participation form you download from the course web site and complete and return. You can adjust this schedule as your own circumstances dictate during the first seven weeks of the term (10-week quarter) or first 3 weeks of the 5-week summer term or first half of the 3-week December intersession term.

The instructor is available for text and telephone access from 9 AM to 9 PM every day for assistance and mentoring, at (872) 205-0642. Students are encouraged to seek help when needed! If you don't reach me, leave a message and I will return your text or call.

Unit 1: Prehistory, the ancients, and Rome to 600 AD.
The Story of Art, introduction and chapters 1 through 5; Workbook chapter 1
Video viewings and assignments via links provided at the course web site.

Unit 2: The Middle Ages 600 AD to 1300 AD.
The Story of Art, chapters 6 through 11; Workbook chapter 2
Video viewings and assignments via links provided at the course web site.

Unit 3: Renaissance and Reformation 1300 AD to 1650 AD
The Story of Art, chapters 12 through 18; Workbook chapter 3
Video viewings and assignments via links provided at the course web site.

Unit 4: Baroque and beyond 1650 AD to 1900 AD;
The Story of Art, chapters 19 through 25; Workbook chapter 4
Video viewings and assignments via links provided at the course web site.

Reflective essay and conclusions work
The course workbook and web site provide complete information about the unique creative writing reflective essay assignment. The essay is designed to be developed all during term and finalized, along with the conclusions work, in the last part of the term.

For terms shorter than 10 weeks, such as 5-week summer terms and the 3-week December term, the above schedule is modified to spread the coursework over the available time in a proportionate way. In all cases however each student determines, within certain guidelines, the specific due dates that apply to them for the submission of the work of each unit, and declares those dates on the Confirmation of Participation form by which "attendance" is taken (one time) in this course.
The conclusions work functions as a take-home final and is posted in the last few days of the term.

School policies:

Changes to Syllabus

This syllabus is subject to change as necessary during the quarter. If a change occurs, it will be thoroughly addressed during class, posted under Announcements in D2L and sent via email.

Online Course Evaluations

Evaluations are a way for students to provide valuable feedback regarding their instructor and the course. Detailed feedback will enable the instructor to continuously tailor teaching methods and course content to meet the learning goals of the course and the academic needs of the students. They are a requirement of the course and are key to continue to provide you with the highest quality of teaching. The evaluations are anonymous; the instructor and administration do not track who entered what responses. A program is used to check if the student completed the evaluations, but the evaluation is completely separate from the student’s identity. Since 100% participation is our goal, students are sent periodic reminders over three weeks. Students do not receive reminders once they complete the evaluation. Students complete the evaluation online in CampusConnect.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

This course will be subject to the university's academic integrity policy. More information can be found at If you have any questions be sure to consult with your professor.

Academic Policies

All students are required to manage their class schedules each term in accordance with the deadlines for enrolling and withdrawing as indicated in the University Academic Calendar. Information on enrollment, withdrawal, grading and incompletes can be found at

Students with Disabilities

Students who feel they may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the instructor privately to discuss their specific needs. All discussions will remain confidential.
To ensure that you receive the most appropriate accommodation based on your needs, contact the instructor as early as possible in the quarter (preferably within the first week of class), and make sure that you have contacted the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) at:
Lewis Center 1420, 25 East Jackson Blvd.
Phone number: (312)362-8002
Fax: (312)362-6544
TTY: (773)325.7296