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Foundation Courses

Students in the MSc programs in Information Design & Communication (IDC) and Information & Instructional Design (IID) begin with these 3 foundation courses, which we offer each Fall and Spring semester.

IID students will take 1 additional Foundation Course: IDC 6135 Web Site Design.

Visit the Schedule of Classes to find out who is teaching each class in the current semester, then visit the Faculty and Staff Directory and click on the instructors' names for syllabi and assigned textbooks.


IDC 6001 Professional Practices of Communication

3 credit hours

Overview of technical writing and editing. Emphasis on drafting and editing many documents that reflect the variety of writing done in the field of professional communication. Both experienced and inexperienced writers will benefit from this course, which must be taken the first semester of enrollment in the master's program.

Course outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to

  • define the iterative process of writing and editing;
  • write various technical and business documents using the principles of English composition;
  • revise their work based on reader feedback; and
  • analyze the information needs of readers.

IDC 6002 Information Design

3 credit hours

Co- or Prerequisite: IDC 6001, IDC 6030

Study of the main design elements in information products with an emphasis on rhetorical and theoretical underpinnings for design decisions. Students work on designing and redesigning products in various media. Should be taken as soon as possible after admission.

Course outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to

  • analyze documents using gestalt and rhetorical principles;
  • create documents using gestalt and rhetorical principles;
  • collaboratively and effectively analyze and redesign documents in various contexts; and
  • effectively synthesize information from an external authority and present this synthesis effectively.

IDC 6030 Visual Design Strategy

3 credit hours

Co- or Prerequisite: IDC 6001

Application of fundamental priniples of graphic design to professional communication. Students without solid background in graphics and page layout applications are encouraged to take IDC 5002 before IDC 6030.

Course outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to

  • understand design principles and know how to apply them to graphs and print documents;
  • know how to create, scan, manipulate, edit, and appropriately use digital bitmapped images;
  • use design principles to competently and skillfully plan, design, lay out, and produce within a desktop publishing application graphs, one-page documents, spreads, and creative resumes; and
  • research issues relating to the application of design principles to technical communication.

IDC 6135 Web Site Design

3 credit hours

Prerequisites: IDC 6001, IDC 6030, and one of the following: IDC 6005, IDC 6180, IDC 6010, IDC 6040

Co- or Prerequisite: IDC 6002

Foundation Course for Information & Instructional Design (IID) students only. Information Design & Communication students may take this course as an Elective Course.

Advanced theoretical study and application of best practices for the design and delivery of information on the World Wide Web. Students learn the fundamentals of HTML, use of HTML authoring tools, Web content writing and editing, page layout, design of Web graphics and multimedia elements, and Web site architecture and content management. Students work individually and in teams to design and develop Web sites. Some classroom instruction is provided in basic HTML and XHTML coding, the composition of cascading style sheets, and the use of Dreamweaver. Course includes a theory and research component.

Course outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to

  • evaluate websites for their usability;
  • use design principles develop Web-based user interfaces; and
  • use industry-standard software to develop and publish a standards-compliant website.

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