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CS 70.11A Syllabus
Photoshop 1


Welcome to CS 70.11A - Photoshop 1. This class explores the basics of Photoshop, including selection, layers, painting, image sources and copyright, and resolution. In addition, the class discusses simple automations, image repair, correcting image color and tone, a few fun filters, and the creation of complex composite images.

This is the entry course to four semesters of Photoshop instruction. Hopefully, you will become so fascinated with Photoshop that you will continue on to take all four courses! If you complete all four courses, you will be eligible for the SRJC Photoshop certificate.

As a student in this class, it is your responsibility to read and understand completely everything that's on this syllabus. This includes, but is not limited to, the file submission instructions and late assignment policy. This course is being offered in a compressed format, which means you will need to be extra diligent in keeping up with the assignments.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate competency in identifying Photoshop interface elements.
  2. Construct simple documents utilizing selections, layers, and blending modes.
  3. Differentiate between simple graphic file formats and choose the appropriate usage for each.

About Your Instructor

Donald Laird, CS Department Chair
Office: Maggini Hall, room 2937

Office Hours:

  • Office Hours (best way to ask questions!): Mondays 6-8 pm in Maggini Hall on Santa Rosa JC campus; Wednesdays 5:00-6:30 pm online via my office hours chat room.

Email: (usually answered within a couple of business days). All email to me MUST have your section number somewhere in the subject line, or I will not read it.

Voice Mail: 707-524-1809 (checked rarely)

My name is Donald Laird. I've been teaching in the CS Department since 1993, during which time I've taught a wide range of courses. Over the last several years I've specialized in Photoshop and Social Media.

I have taught Intro, Intermediate, and Advanced Photoshop as well as our photo restoration class, Fixing Photoshop Images. I am Adobe Certified in all Photoshop versions from 5 to CC.

When I'm not teaching, I seem to have no trouble finding things to keep me busy:

Hardware / Software

If you choose to work at your own computer, you may subscribe to Photoshop CC 2015 directly from Adobe.

Check hardware and software requirements before buying software. (Photoshop does not run well or at all on older computers.) Adobe Photoshop CC 2014 or CC 2015 is required.

Online requirements:
You will need basic skills for navigating web sites and the ability to send and receive email. You must have an email account that you can check on a regular basis.


Required Text: Practical Photoshop CC 2015, Level 1. In order to help you save money, we have decided to make the textbook available in electronic, as well as print, format. This way, we were able to keep the price of the book low. To purchase the book, go to the Practical Photoshop Web site. Once there, find the version of the book that matches the class you will be taking, then choose from among the purchase options available.

Once you have the book, go ahead and download the book images - all of the images you'll need to follow along with the book and complete the book's exercises.

Using the Class Web site

Nearly every page of our course materials begins with this navigation bar.

SyllabusScheduleAssignmentsDiscussion ForumGradesEmail InstructorVideos

Syllabus takes you to the page that you are currently reading (the syllabus page). It describes the course requirements and provides recommendations for class success.

Schedule is the most important page in the class. Bookmark it and check it at least once a week to see what you should do. The Schedule Page summarizes your weekly assignments, with links to the relevant assignment details and quizzes. The weekly reading pulls out central concepts that are important to understand, and to illustrate things in more depth as needed.

Each of the links from the Schedule page is password protected, so that only members of our class can see them. You will have to type in your class user name and password to take a quiz, or submit an assignment to a class drop box.

NOTE: When working in any of the SRJC labs, you will not be allowed to print out any online materials. Print from home if you have a printer or use the college's pay to print facilities.

Assignments takes you to the page with the full instructions for each assignment you will need to complete.

Discussion Forum takes you to our class forum, where we can discuss Photoshop and other computer and career-related topics. When you send a message, it is highly visible. Please be courteous to your classmates and use appropriate email etiquette in your posts. Use the discussion forum as the primary location to ask each other questions when you run into Photoshop questions or issues. Please be sure you are posting in the correct forum for your section.

Grades takes you to a page on which you select your section, and are then taken to the gradebook for that section. The gradebook asks for your class user name and password and then displays your point score and my feedback for each assignment I have graded. I only grade once a week, so your grades will not automatically appear after you submit an assignment. I will send an email to the class each time I update the gradebook - if you haven't received a score on an assignment, or have received a zero score without any feedback, it's because I haven't graded it yet. If you receive anything less than full credit on an assignment, my feedback will be given at the very bottom of the page - be sure to scroll all the way down.

Be sure to scroll down to see everything - my feedback to you will be at the very bottom of the page. It will be a long list before the semester is over. Check your grades every time I let you know the grades have been updated to make sure that you have submitted all assignments and I have a record of them.

Email Instructor lets you send a quick email just to me. Remember, you can always open your email program and contact me at . I will do my best to answer your email within two working days. In order for me to read your email, you MUST put your section number in the subject line of your email.

Videos takes you to a page where I post links to videos of each class lecture. I highly recommend not just clicking on a link to a video, which will try to watch it in a browser window. Instead, right-click or control-click on a link and choose 'download' or 'save' from the menu that pops up. This will allow you to save the video to your computer, where you can watch it offline. It will also give you a progress indicator so you can see how long it will take to download the very large video files. To test your ability to view these videos, download this sample video and watch it - there's a secret word in it that you'll need for the first quiz.
All of the videos are posted in QuickTime format - you can download the player if you don't already have it installed.

Class Communication

It is important to read your email often. You need to check it at the very least once a week. I will be sending out email periodically as needed to clarify issues, point out book errors, let you know that grading is done, etc. I will communicate with you via the gradebook page feedback if you have submitted things wrong.

I check my email very often and try to answer emails within a couple of days. By using the class discussion forum, one of your classmates may be able to help you. I encourage everyone to use the class discussion forum.


Your weekly reading comes from the course textbook. The textbook contains information about all the image files you will need to follow along with its examples and guided exercises.

Submitting Homework

Drop boxes are special locations where you submit your assignment files. I have created one of these special locations for each assignment where you are to send me a file. The link for each assignment is with the assignment, on the assignment details page. All assignments are due on the date listed on the schedule page.

You will need to check in to the class before you can submit assignments, as all the quizzes and drop boxes are password-protected. You only have to check in once.

Sometimes when you submit work, or view a class project gallery, you will need to enter your user name and password more than once. (It's annoying, but necessary to preserve our online security.) I recommend you pick a short user name and password to make them faster to type. I will see your user name and password. If you have trouble with your password or accessing a page, email me and I will try to help you. Your user name and password are case-sensitive, which means that capitalization matters.

File Preparation and Submission

You _must_ follow these instructions when preparing assignment images to be turned in (unless you are told otherwise in an assignment's instructions):

  1. Make the file in Photoshop. This gives it a PSD extension.
  2. Within Photoshop, use the Save for Web dialog box to save the file:
    1. Change the file to JPEG format for fast transmission
    2. Determine whether the height or width is larger (in pixels)
    3. Enter 800 for the larger dimension inside the Image Size section
    4. Press tab to confirm the 800 pixel setting - this sets the dimensions to 800x800 or smaller
    5. Near the top of the dialog box, adjust the Quality slider to get the file size as close to 300k as possible (check the file size in the lower-left corner of the window)

      Submitted homework files must be 800 pixels on the longest side and as close to 300 kb as possible, unless you are told otherwise.

      The textbook recommends keeping files to 100k, but I want you to make your files as close to 300k as possible. If the image dimensions are correct, and you have the quality set to 100 but the file is below 300k, that's okay - I want them as close as possible.

      Certain assignments will require you to use different settings. I will make this clear for these assignments on the assignments page.

  3. Upload the JPEG--not the PSD--to the drop box for that assignment.

    Each assignment will have its own drop box.

    Assignments submitted to the wrong drop box WILL NOT BE GRADED. NO EXCEPTIONS!

    If you have problems with the drop boxes, contact me.


Assignments are due according to the posted schedule page. After the due dates, work will be considered late and you will lose 50% of the possible points. I won't accept any assignments more than 1 week late, unless you've made previous arrangements with me. Nothing will be accepted after the final exam deadline.

Quizzes will be accepted up to one week late as well, but will be subject to a 50% late penalty if not turned in by the assigned due date. The midterm and final exams will not be accepted late unless prior arrangements have been made.

If you do not turn in an assignment, be sure to email me to confirm that you are still active in the class. If you experience technical problems that keep you from turning in assignments, contact me.

Getting Help

Photoshop is a very complex program, and you will probably have some questions and problems. Try this strategy:

  1. Search for the answer in Photoshop Help.
  2. Post a message to the class discussion forum to see if anyone else is having the same problem, or knows the answer. Typically, several students have the same question and if it is answered publicly, then everyone can benefit.
  3. Email me. In order for me to read your email, you must include XXXX (where XXXX is the section number) in the subject line. If you have an important question that is keeping you from completing your assignment, also include the word HELP in the subject line. Since I have many students who will be emailing me this semester, the correct subject line tells me to answer you quickly. Do not use HELP for non-critical messages.
  4. Come see me in person. My office hours are listed at the top of this syllabus. I can also make special arrangements if those times don't work. Remember to always put your section number in the subject line of your email.

Quizzes and Exams

This class has:

  • frequent online quizzes (designed to test whether you understood the week's subject)
  • a midterm
  • a final exam
All quizzes and exams are given via Web pages. After submitting the quiz or exam, you will get a message telling you your score.

The time limit for each exam is one minute per question (for example, a 20-question test has a 20 minute time limit). You will not be warned when you approach the time limit - you must keep track of the time you're taking. I will not start enforcing the time limit until quiz 2 or 3, but please keep an eye on the time you take.

You may use your notes when taking a quiz or exam.

The quizzes, midterm, and final exam will be open for a limited period of days. If you need to miss an exam, make prior arrangements with me to reschedule, or you will receive a zero.

Do not load a quiz or exam more than once (the testing system reports to me if you load a quiz or exam more than once). I will subtract points from your final score on the quiz or exam if you load it more than once. This includes before, during, or after you have completed the quiz or exam. The only exception to this rule is if you have a technical problem during a quiz or exam (for example, if your computer crashes or your Internet connection goes down), then you may re-load the quiz or exam. If this happens, send me email immediately, letting me know what happened.


Percentage Grade
90 - 100% A
80 - 89% B
70 - 79% CR or C
60 - 69% NC or D
Below 60% NC or F

In addition to receiving at least 70%, you must complete the midterm exam, final exam, and final project to pass the class.

As I grade, I record my comments in your online grade book. NOTE: my comments will appear at the bottom of the gradebook page. If I have a problem with one of your assignments, I may ask you to re-submit it. You can keep track of your grades by clicking on the "Grades" button in the main navigation.

Pass-No Pass
You may take this class pass/no-pass. You must decide before the deadline, and add the option online or file the Pass/No Pass form with Admissions and Records. With a grade of C or better, you will Pass. Once you decide to go for P/NP, you cannot change back to a grade.

Student Conduct Guidelines

Students who register in SRJC classes are required to abide by the SRJC Student Conduct Standards. Violation of the Standards is basis for referral to the Vice President of Student Services or dismissal from class or from the College. For more information see: Collaborating on or copying of tests or homework in whole or in part will be considered an act of academic dishonesty and result in a grade of 0 for that test or assignment. I encourage students to share information and ideas, but not their work.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

If you need disability related accommodations for this class, such as a note taker, test taking services, special furniture, use of service animal, etc., please provide the Authorization for Academic Accommodations (AAA) letter from the Disability Resources Department (DRD) to me as soon as possible. You may also speak with me privately during office hours about your accommodations. If you have not received authorization from DRD, it is recommended that you contact them directly. (527-4278).