CIS 73.21 Syllabus
Section 1367


Welcome to CIS 73.21 - Introductory Photoshop. During the first 8 weeks, we will explore the basics of Photoshop, including selection, layers, painting, image sources and copyright, and resolution. The second 8 weeks will cover simple automations, image repair, correcting image color and tone, a few fun filters, and a brief introduction to type. This is the entry course to what will eventually be five semesters of Photoshop instruction. Some of you may learn all you need from just this course. Others may become so fascinated with Photoshop that you will continue on to take all five courses.

About Your Instructor

Alisandra Brewer, CIS Adjunct Instructor

Voice Mail: 707-477-1008 (checked 1-2 times per week)

Email: (checked almost daily)

I've been teaching in the CIS Department at SRJC since 1996, during which time I've taught several courses, including Macintosh, PageMaker, InDesign, WordPerfect and, once, Lotus 123. But, mostly I teach Adobe Photoshop. I am Adobe Certified in PS versions 5, 6, 7, CS, and CS2.
As my alter-ego, I am a full-time employee at Sonoma State University in Instructional Technology Services as an IT Consultant. Long words that just say that I'm a professional computer geek. I'm a Macintosh SysAdmin and Computer Lab Manager.

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

Hardware / Software

You may use the CIS lab in either Petaluma or Santa Rosa during regularly scheduled lab hours, or work at your own computer.

If you choose to work at your own computer, you may purchase software at academic prices from the SRJC bookstore in Santa Rosa. Other sources for student software and books are, Creation Engine, and

Check hardware and software requirements before buying software. (Photoshop does not run well or at all on older computers.) Adobe Photoshop CS2 (also known as Photoshop 9) is required. Don't even think about using versions prior to CS2!

Once you install your software, be sure to go to the Adobe web site and download and install the 1.02 updater for Bridge, a file management application that accompanies Photoshop. If you don't install the new version of Bridge, you may experience frequent crashes and slowdowns.

Online requirements:
Whether working from home or in one of the SRJC labs, 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: Adobe Photoshop CS2 Classroom in a Book. We call this text the CIB. You can get it from the bookstore, or order it from the online bookstore of your choice (ISBN: 0321321847) and SRJC Photoshop Class Notes CD-ROM.

Using the Class Web site

My materials will be available from my website:

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. The forum is not password protected and is live to the open Internet. When you send a message, it is highly visible. Please use be courteous to your classmates and use appropriate email etiquette in your posts.

Grades 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. 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 often 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. This link will not work in the CIS labs, because you cannot send email directly from a web page. Remember, you can always open your email program and contact me at

Class Communication

Don't hide from the class. 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, etc. I will also communicate with you via the gradebook page feedback if you have submitted things incorrectly.

You can choose to post to the class discussion forum when trying to find the answer to a problem, or you can email me directly. I check my email very often and try to answer emails within a day or two. 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 to open up dialogues about Photoshop and the lessons.


Your weekly reading comes from 2 sources:

  1. Each week there will be a chapter of CD-ROM notes to read, and guided exercises to follow to help you learn Photoshop. They are in Adobe Acrobat format, so you will need Adobe Reader, or Adobe Acrobat to open the file. If you need Adobe Reader, you can download it for free at: The notes CD contains (hopefully) all the graphics files you will need to follow along with its examples and guided exercises.
  2. The class text is Adobe Photoshop CS2 Classroom in a Book from Adobe Press. Many weeks you will be reading and doing a project from a chapter in the text. Where the text refers to ImageReady, ignore it. ImageReady is another application that comes with Photoshop that is used for creating web graphics.

Working with the Classroom in a Book

The Classroom in a Book comes with a CD (not the notes CD) that works on both Macs and PCs. Each week you should copy to your hard drive the folder of files for the Lesson you will be working on from the CD. The CD contains only the class materials, and not the Photoshop application.

If you open up the Lesson files straight from the CD, you might get confused when you want to Save. You will get an error message telling you that you cannot save. This is because Photoshop, remembering where you opened your files from, will by default be set to save to the same place. You cannot save files to a CD; it is a locked media. If you forgot to copy your files to your hard drive and started working, go to the File menu, choose Save As and in the Save As dialog box, browse to somewhere on your hard drive in order to save.

Submitting Homework

Drop boxes are special locations where you submit your graphics 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 at 11:59 pm on Mondays, no exceptions.

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

  1. Make the file in Photoshop. This gives it a PSD extension.
  2. Use the Save for Web dialog box to name it as instructed in that week's lecture, and change it to JPEG format for fast transmission. Here's how to set the correct settings in the Save for Web dialog box:
    • In Save for Web, click on the Image Size tab
    • Determine whether the height or width is larger (in pixels)
    • Enter 600 for the larger dimension
    • Click the Apply button - this sets the dimensions to 600x600 or smaller
    • Adjust the JPG quality slider to get the file size as close to 100k as possible (check the file size in the lower-left corner of the window)

    Submitted homework files shall not be larger than 600 x 600 pixels and no more than 100 kb, unless I tell you otherwise.

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

You must submit files to the drop boxes. If you have problems with the drop boxes, email me.


Each week you will have at least one assignment to turn in. Typically, you will have one week to complete assignments.

Assignments are due on the following Monday at 11:59 pm. After that, work will be considered late and you will lose 10% of the assigned points for each week it is turned in late. I won't accept any assignments more than 2 weeks late, unless you've made previous arrangements with me. Quizzes close the Monday after they are assigned. You will need a really good excuse to get me to open a quiz back up for you.

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 disappear for three weeks, you run the risk that you will be dropped from the class. If you experience technical problems that keep you from turning in assignments, email me if you are able, or call my voice mail.

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 (P 42-46 of CIB).
  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 I answer it publicly, then everyone can benefit.
  3. Email me. Put XXXX HELP (where XXXX is the section number) in the subject line so that I know you have an important question that is keeping you from completing your assignment. Since I have many students who will be emailing me this semester, the correct subject line tells me to answer you quickly.
  4. Come see me in person. My lab hours are 7-9pm on Thursday nights (right after class) and office hours are 4:30 to 5 in the CIS Office area, and online (phone, email and our forum) on Thursdays from noon to noon-thirty. I can also make special arrangements if those times don't work.

Quizzes and Exams

There are some online quizzes designed to test whether you understood the central issues of the week's subject. Around the middle of the semester there will be a midterm exam and the last week of class there will be a final exam. Both the quizzes and exams are given via Web pages. After completing the quiz or exam, you will get a message telling you your score.

You may use your books and notes when taking a quiz or exam, but you will have a limited numbered of minutes in which to take the exams. The time limit for all quizzes and exams is one minute per question. You will not be warned when you approach the time limit - you must keep track of the time you're taking.

The midterm and final exams 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.


Your final grade will be based on the following:

Item Points
9 quizzes 62
20 assignments 240
1 midterm exam 30
1 final exam 80
1 final project 30
all work completed 50
Total points possible 482

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 all assignments, the midterm exam, final exam, and final project to pass the class. 50 points are given for all work completed. These points are critical to passing this course, so I will repeat: ALL work MUST be completed to pass this course!

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.

Credit-No Credit
You may take this class credit/no-credit. You must decide before the deadline, and add the option online with TLC or file the Credit/No Credit form with Admissions and Records. With a grade of C or better, you will get Credit. Once you decide to go for CR/NC, you cannot change back to a grade. Also, if you are going for one of the certificates offered by the JC, make sure you check the rules about classes taken for CR/NC.

© 2006 SRJC Computer & Information Sciences Department
Updated 20 August, 2006
Santa Rosa Junior College, Santa Rosa, CA USA