Now that you’ve set up your course blog and selected a topic for your multimedia projects, we’re officially starting Unit 1! This week everyone will work through the same set of Photoshop tutorials to learn some tools and techniques, then next week you’ll be able to apply those skills to your own unique project.
Beginning this week, you will need access to Adobe Creative Cloud software. Students in Pullman can choose to use campus labs rather than purchasing the software (see the recently posted Open Lab Hours page), but all students who need or prefer to use their own computers will need to choose a software subscription. The options for this are explained on the Software & Technical Requirements chapter from Week 1, but it can be a bit confusing since Adobe offers numerous subscription options. I made this quick video to show you where to go for the two options that work well for this course:
Please note that Adobe has changed the order that the options appear on their website since I made this video, so make sure to read the text!
Everyone can also download a free 7-day trial of Photoshop, which gives you some additional time to figure out which subscription plan is best for you. Download each program from this Adobe Downloads page (which is also linked in the left menu on course website). Note that downloading Photoshop can take quite a while, especially depending on your internet speed or other installation issues with your computer. If you have any questions, please ask.
Hopefully you read the Week 1 chapter on web publishing, so you know that the WordPress dashboard where you edit content is called the back end, and the published blog that other people can see is called the front end.
WordPress offers lots of options to switch from the back end to the front end and back, plus preview modes for content that you haven’t published yet. It can get confusing pretty quickly. I recommend using two browser tabs every time you use WordPress — one for the back end, and one for the front end. That way you can efficiently click between the two without ending up in a view you didn’t want.
This the second orientation week before we jump into the four main content units of COM210. During this week, you’ll be choosing a course topic, publishing your first blog post, and learning about U.S. copyright law. Read the Topic Introduction Post assignment early this week so you have some time to think about your topic before committing to it.
Understanding copyright law can be tricky, because there is a lot of misinformation out there, and because some of the law doesn’t immediately seem like common sense. For example, did you know you may not have the legal right to use a photo of yourself? And that it’s illegal to download a photo from Facebook to use on your blog, even if you give credit to where it came from? In some ways, these copyright infractions are sort of like driving 5 mph over the speed limit — it’s common and most of the time no one gets hurt, but it is still illegal.
In this course, all assignments need to follow all copyright laws. If you have any questions about copyright this week, or as you begin to work on your projects, make sure to ask so you don’t include any material illegally!
First, a quick reminder that it’s WSU policy that all course communication must be sent to your WSU email address. (If you send me email from a different account, I won’t ignore it, it just may not appear in my inbox immediately.)
Unfortunately, the WSU email system has been plagued by spam for the past couple of semesters. They are mostly similar phishing attempts, meaning the emails include a link that will try to trick you into entering your login information. Often these messages pretend to be from WSU, informing you that your email is at capacity or that urgent action is necessary to prevent your account from being shut down.
Legitimate emails from WSU will never include links that say things like “CLICK HERE” without showing you the link. Professors have been urged to do this as well, which is why I include full URLs in class emails.
Visit security.wsu.edu/phishing for other information and examples. If you’re ever unsure about an email you can report it to email@example.com, especially if you have accidentally clicked on any links.
At the end of previous semesters, we asked students what advice they’d give to students just starting out in COM210. Here’s what they had to say about procrastination, creativity, assignments and more:
“It’s more work than you expect.”
“Be prepared to put a lot of time and effort if you want at least a B.”
“Know that it isn’t easy like everyone says it is. Carve out chunks of time to do the tutorials.”