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Visual Literacy Courses


A Visual Literacy course provides students with multiple visual communication opportunities, enabling students to interpret, use, appreciate, and create images and video using both conventional and 21st-century media in ways that advance thinking, decision-making, communication, and learning (enGauge, 2002). Unlike a visual instruction course ("studio art or craft") in which the class is largely devoted to visual production, a Visual Literacy course recognizes the contribution of Visual Literacy as a way of knowing and understanding course content. A Visual Literacy course links students' visual literacy with learning about the discipline in which the course is taught, engaging in asking and answering questions in the field of study, and becoming more active participants in academic discourse.

KU Faculty: CLICK HERE to download the Approval Forms for Visual Literacy Courses


  1. Visual Literacy assignments will be an integral part of the course.
          • Students should practice forms of visualization and visual analysis typical of the discipline in which the course is taught.
          • Such assignments should be designed to develop and increase content knowledge.
  1. There will be at least two Visual Literacy assignments that require creating a visual response and/or analyzing a visual artifact, and such assignments should be distributed throughout the course.
          • A Visual Literacy assignment should be discipline specific.
          • Examples of such assignments include, but are not limited to, creating and/or analyzing:
                • charts, diagrams, or maps
                • illustrations, posters, exhibits, or visual presentations
                • models or prototypes
                • drawings, paintings, or sculptures
                • photos or videos
  1. There will be opportunities for revision and resubmission.
          • At least one Visual Literacy assignment should be structured and sequenced so that students will be able to improve their Visual Literacy skills through practice and revision.
          • Drafts may be viewed and critiqued by both the instructor and peers; however the instructor should be responsible for providing the most substantive feedback.
          • Feedback and revision should involve more than just pointing out surface errors.
  1. Visual Literacy assignments will constitute a significant portion of the course grade and content. At least 50% of the course grade and content should be based on such assignments.
  2. Instructors will provide instruction on how to use Visual Literacy principles effectively, efficiently, and ethically to complete the assignments. For example, an instructor may teach directed lessons on features of the medium, provide instruction on evaluative procedures, or explain the ethical/legal aspects of using the medium as related to the discipline in which the course is taught.

KU Faculty: Click HERE to download the Approval Form for Visual Literacy courses.