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Description:

This course familiarizes students with Macromedia Flash. Topics to be covered include fundamental programming concepts (variables, variable types, code re-use, commenting code, and basic control structures) in addition to the fundamentals of the flash environment (animation or “tweening”, vector graphics, use of sound and video). More advanced programming topics (such as object oriented programming, classes, and inheritance) are touched on but not in depth. The course also covers principles of interface design, measurement as it applies to embedded items, and requires the writing of an instructional design document. None of these topics are covered in depth since we have other courses that accomplish this, but they are discussed in the context of development. Students finishing this course will have at least one completed fully
functional Flash project for their portfolios demonstrating a strong knowledge of the tool and a good foundation in the ActionScript language as the tool and the language apply to instructional design.

Course Objectives:

  • By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  • create vector graphics using flash
  • create animations within flash
  • integrate media files (sound, graphics, video) with flash
  • export flash files to the web and for use with the stand-alone flash projector
  • use the ActionScript programming language (including writing custom functions and event handlers)
  • use basic programming constructs and principles (including variables and if/else control structures)
  • apply sound design principles to create effective learning resources

Textbook:

There are no required texts for this class (but don’t get too excited, see below).

Recommended Texts:

None in terms of Flash, I’ve consistently had far better luck finding help online than from a book.

Technical Requirements:

Option A: Flash CS3 [Computer software]. (2007). Adobe. ($249 student/teacher version through Adobe website)

Option B: Creative Suite 3 Web Standard [Computer software]. (2007) Adobe. ($399 student/teacher version through Adobe website) Has Flash, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and Contribute. There are several flavors of the Creative Suite as well, including packages that include Photoshop and Illustrator. You’ll have to weigh your options. Computer Solutions on the USU campus has a version advertised but it doesn’t seem to
include Flash so be careful.

Option C: Download a free 30-day trial from http://www.adobe.com

Note the prices above are not necessarily a sales pitch for computer solutions or the Adobe
website. You can also get used copies of some of this stuff on Ebay, but in general you’ll have a
hard time beating the student rate.

Requirements:

Completion of the work plan (20%)
Completion of the final project documentation (30%)
Completion of the final project (30%)
Completion of assignments (20%)

You will be responsible on your own for keeping up in this class, although there is some flexibility in pacing (e.g. you can work ahead) you will need to stay current with the class deadlines. There will also be opportunities for assistance. Those who do not take the available opportunities to contact me early on, either for an assignment or for the final project and then want help when a deadline looms will not earn much sympathy. Also, I highly recommend you take advantage of the draft opportunities for the Work Plan. This is for two reasons: 1) It helps me assess whether or not your project is manageable, one of the most difficult things for you to do is decide what you can do as a culminating project while you are still learning a new development environment. Let me help. 2) The quality of your final project is directly related to the quality of your work plan. Thus even though it’s only 20% of your final grade, it impacts another 60%. Do yourself a favor and do the work up front.

Assignment submissions will be made online through links to the class website and are due as indicated in the respective rubrics, before midnight on the date posted on the schedule below.

Evaluation Criteria:

Each separate assignment will have specified and supplied evaluation criteria. Throughout all assignments, however, timeliness will be crucial. In a "real" development environment, meeting the final project deadline requires that all interim deadlines be met. Missing even the smallest interim deadline can have a cascading effect that ultimately makes meeting the project deadline impossible. Therefore, in this project-based course, meeting assignment deadlines will be part of the evaluation criteria. Unless otherwise noted, your mark will be lowered by 10% for each 24-hour period in which an assignment is late. The same policy applies to all phases of the final project.

Group Work:

It is rare for development to occur in a vacuum; therefore group work is highly encouraged for the final project. This will force you to plan ahead for how you will structure your project and agree on some common conventions. Groups can be as small as two and as large as three people. I realize that some of you work full time and have busy schedules which make group work difficult (which is why this is optional) but you will benefit the most by working in teams. If you do your final project as a group, you will be responsible for a brief (one paragraph) report on the contributions made by each team member (including yourself). Note groups hand in all of the materials related to the final project (work plan, final project, project documentation) as a group, in addition one of the assignments (dealing with embedded items) is also submitted as a group, the rest of the assignments need to be completed individually.

Grading Scale:

A 94% ≤ x < 100%
A- 90% ≤ x < 94%
B+ 87% ≤ x < 90%
B 84% ≤ x < 87%
B- 80% ≤ x < 84%
C+ 77% ≤ x < 80%
C 74% ≤ x < 77%
C- 70% ≤ x < 74%
D+ 67% ≤ x < 70%
D 64% ≤ x < 67%
D- 60% ≤ x < 64%
F < 60%

Plagiarism:

Plagiarism includes knowingly "representing, by paraphrase or direct quotation, the published or unpublished work of another person as one's own in any academic exercise or activity without full and clear acknowledgment. It also includes the unacknowledged used of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials." The penalties for plagiarism are severe. They include warning or reprimand, grade adjustment, probation, suspension, expulsion, withholding of transcripts, denial or revocation of degrees, and referral to psychological counseling. I am fine with you borrowing materials for this class (and encourage it!), as long as you give the original author appropriate credit . In this class, that includes a wide range of materials. Including graphics, sounds, video, text, or even actionscript (code)! Do yourself a favor, when you pull in some outside material, log where you got it from so that you can include that reference in your documentation. Accidental plagiarism has the same end result as purposeful plagiarism—representing someone else’s work as your own.

Incomplete:

I have recently been taken to task for giving out incompletes, and will be adhering strictly to the above guidelines. To be even more specific I will not give out incompletes because:

  • You are taking too many credits this semester and don’t have time to finish.
  • You’ve opted to finish this class the next semester but don’t want to lose your tuition dollars (my apologies—I try to be sensitive to saving students money but I can’t do this anymore, withdraw and enroll next term).
  • You are concerned about handing in a quality final project with your remaining time. You know the deadlines now—there are no surprises in this class. If you’re really concerned then get started early.

Public Realm Disclaimer:

I tend to think that ideas exchanged between us may benefit the rest of the class. Unless you tell me otherwise, I’ll assume that questions or comments that you make are acceptable to pass on and may email them out or discuss them with the rest of the class.

Course Schedule:

This class will be taught exclusively online. In general lecture videos for a given week should be watched early which will leave you the rest of the week (including the weekend) to work on the associated assignment. Lecture videos are usually coupled with Powerpoint handouts, and downloadable files, all of which are available via the class website. These are designed to help you gain familiarity with the tool and obtain the skills necessary to complete the assignments. For almost all of the assignments there is an associated “spoiler” video that walks you through the process for completing the work. That said, you need to customize your assignments. Do not hand it a re-production of the lecture videos. Pick your own layout (unless one is provided for you), your own look for graphical elements and variable names. Given that this is a highly technical class, there will be additional opportunities for help in the form of scheduled office hours. This will involve you sending me your flash file, then me essentially putting my desktop up on a web page for you to view live, we’ll then talk via phone or by Skype. For Skype, we’ll have to arrange a time, it’s not a service I have running in the background, you can catch me most easily via gmail chat (banana.fish90@gmail.com). Note that if you are on-campus or willing to drive here, I am happy to arrange a time to talk about assignments and projects face to face outside of class time.

Lab Sessions/Lectures:

As noted above, Tuesdays are lectures. All of these are available online as well, but I only recommend viewing them this way for those who are very confident in their technical skills. Everyone else should plan on coming in and perhaps going back and viewing the lecture videos too.

I will also be available every Thursday during our class time (9am-10:15am) in the computer lab. Take advantage of this opportunity to come in and ask questions about the lecture videos or receive additional help on your assignments—or to just work on them knowing that if you have a quick question I’m right there.

Week Topic Activities/Assignments
1 Introduction to the course. Flash Basics, Personal introductions Video 1.1 Class Introduction
Video 1.2 Syllabus
Video 1.3 Flash Overview
Video 1.4 Interface Basics
  Optional FTF Lab Session
2 Drawing Tools, Animation (Tweens) Video 2.1 Graphics, Tweens, Naming Conventions
Video 2.2 Vectors (native) vs Rastors (.gif, .jpg, .png)
Video 2.3 Car Example
Video 2.4 Shape Tweens Example
Video 2.5 Playing Cards Example
Video a.1 (optional) Assignment 1 Spoiler
Work Plan (introduction and goals only) (due 5/22)
Assignment 1 (due 5/22)
  Optional FTF Lab Session
3 Advanced Drawing Tools, Lighting Effects, Shadows, Alpha & Gradient Transform Video 3.1 Advanced Drawing & Tweens
Video 3.2 Eight Ball (drawing)
Video 3.3 Eight Ball (lighting)
Video 3.4 Eight Ball (lighting tween)
Video 3.5 Eight Ball (shadow tween)
Video a.2: (optional) Assignment 2 Spoiler
Assignment 2 (due 5/29)
  Optional FTF Lab Session
4 Graphic Symbols, Nesting Symbols, Onion Skinning & Edit Multiple Frames, Motion Guides, Easement & Custom Easement Video 4.1 Advanced Animation & Graphic Symbols
Video 4.2 Car Example (graphic symbol)
Video 4.3 Playing Cards (nested symbols)
Video 4.4 Playground Ball (custom easement)
Video 4.5 Playground Ball (onion skinning)
Video 4.6 Playground Ball (motion guide)
Video a.3 (optional) Assignment 3 Spoiler Assignment 3 (due 6/5)
  Optional FTF Lab Session
5 Button Symbols, Actionscripting (including using functions, creating custom functions, and listeners). Video 5.1 Button Symbols, Actionscript, Functions
Video 5.2 Button Actionscript Walkthrough
Video 5.3 Simulating Windows (Buttons)
Video 5.4 Simulating Windows (Actionscript)
Video a.4 (optional) Assignment 4 Spoiler Assignment 4 (due 6/12)
Work Plan (add: client, scope, target audience, limitations, finished products, and timeline, revise introduction and goals)
(due 6/12)
  Optional FTF Lab Session
6 Movie Clip Symbols, Dot Syntax, Object Heirarchy and Pathing. Video 6.1 Movie Clips, Dot Syntax, Dynamic Text
Video 6.2 Car Example (repetitive motion)
Video 6.3 Car Example (combining motion)
Video 6.4 Playground Ball (combining motion)
Video 6.5 Happy/Sad Example (hierarchy, dot syntax)
Video a.5 (optional) Assignment 5 Spoiler Assignment 5 (due 6/16)
  Optional FTF Lab Session
7 Variables, Simple Control Structures (if/then/else), Comments, Debugging. Video 7.3 MLK Example (Dynamic Go Back Button, Debugging)
Video 7.4 MLK Example (Changing Button Alpha, Using Variables)
Video 7.5 MLK Example (Layer and Library Folders)
Video 7.6 Happy/Sad Example (Using If, Else If, Else)
Video a.6: (optional) Assignment 6 Spoiler
Video a.6.2: (optional) Assignment 6 Spoiler Part 2
Assignment 6 (due 6/26)
Work Plan (add: storyboards, revise all previous sections and prepare completed work plan for graded submission on 6/26).
  Optional FTF Lab Session
8 Drag and Drop, Nesting Control Structures, Dynamic Text Fields Video 8.1: Drag and Drop, Custom Functions
Video 8.2: Red Wine Example (one target, invalid response)
Video 8.3: Red Wine Example (one target, invalid, correct, incorrect)
Video 8.4: Red Wine Example (3 targets, invalid, correct, incorrect)
Video 8.5: Red Wine Example (custom functions)
Video a.7: (optional) Assignment 7 Spoiler
Video a.7.2: (optional) Assignment 7 Spoiler, Function Option
Assignment 7 (due 7/3)
  Optional FTF Lab Session
9 Embedded Items Video 9.1: Embedded Items
Assignment 8 (due 7/10)
  Optional FTF Lab Session
10 Sound and Video Video 10.1: Sound and Video
Video 10.2: MLK Example (button sound)
Video 10.3: MLK Example (sound transform)
Video 10.4: Encoding FLV Files
Video 10.5: MLK Example (video)
Assignment 9 (due 7/17)
  Optional FTF Lab Session
11 Optional FTF Lab Session: Final Project
Consultations
 
  Optional FTF Lab Session: Final Project
Consultations
 
12 Optional FTF Lab Session: Final Project
Consultations
 
  Optional FTF Lab Session: Final Project
Consultations
Submit final project and project documentation (including project front- end) (due 7/31).

 

Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . Walker, A., factadmin. (2008, June 11). Syllabus. Retrieved January 07, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: http://ocw.usu.edu/instructional-technology-learning-sciences/interactive-multimedia-production/syllabus.html. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License
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