5.4.20 Updated Syllabus

Spring 2020 Syllabus

Course Description: Introduction to art, emphasizing visual literacy in an historical context. Major works of art and architecture, drawn from a wide range of world cultures and periods from ancient times to the present, will be explored.

Course Goals and Learning Outcomes, according to Brooklyn College

  • Students will learn to analyze works of art critically from both an historical and an interpretative point of view; in addition, they will gain an understanding of the importance of cultural diversity through exposure to the arts of many different times and places.
  • Students will have extensive practice in articulating aesthetic judgments effectively in spoken and written form.
  • Students will learn how to draw upon the cultural riches of New York City to enhance their learning within and outside the classroom.
  • Identify unique characteristics of several artistic traditions, and recognize and analyze the differences among the major periods, artists, genres, and theories of art.
  • Use terms of art historical analysis correctly and be able to apply them to unfamiliar works.

Grade Breakdown

Attendance: 5%

Participation: 5%

Quizzes: 20% (10% each)

Paper 1: 15%

Paper 2: 20%

Midterm: 15%

Final: 20%


A+ 97-100

A 93-96

A- 90-92

B+ 87-89

B 83-86

B- 80-82

C+ 77-79

C 73-76

C- 70-72

D+ 67-69

D 63-66

D- 60-62

F 0-59, or plagiarism

Attendance and Participation: You are expected to attend every lecture and to arrive on time. The content of readings and lectures will not overlap, so missing class or skipping readings will make it extremely difficult to do well on assignments. Readings are due the day of the class session they are listed with. Active participation in class is expected. This means asking questions, completing in-class assignments, participating in discussion, and taking notes. In-class exercises, such as practice quizzes, may or may not be announced. These are not formally graded but completing them will contribute to your participation grade. There will be no make-ups for missed in-class assignments.

There will be a sign-in sheet at the front of class every day. Please remember to sign-in! I understand that you cannot plan for everything; if you’re not going to be in class, please try to let me know in advance.

Quizzes: Quizzes will be 15 minutes long and consist of a short comparison between two works of art. This is the same format as the comparison section of the midterm and final exam (see below for more detail). Your job will be to compare and contrast the two works in 1-2 paragraphs. This is an opportunity for you to practice comparison with lower stakes than on the midterm and final.

Exams: Exams will take place in class. You may not use a laptop to complete an exam. If you require any accommodations, please see the Brooklyn College Disability and Accommodation policy below. Exams will consist of IDs, comparisons, and essays. We will discuss the midterm and final more as they approach.

The final exam is scheduled by Brooklyn College. There will be NO make-up exam. Please make end of semester plans accordingly.

Papers: For Paper 1, you will need to write a 2-3 page formal analysis paper describing a work of art that you visit in person. For Paper 2, you will expand your formal analysis paper into a 3-4 page paper about your chosen work of art. We will discuss the papers in class, and assignment sheets with detailed information will be posted to the course website.

Plagiarism Statement, according to Brooklyn College:

The faculty and administration of Brooklyn College support an environment free from cheating and plagiarism. Each student is responsible for being aware of what constitutes cheating and plagiarism and for avoiding both. The complete text of the CUNY Academic Integrity Policy and the Brooklyn College procedure for policy implementation can be found at If a faculty member suspects a violation of academic integrity and, upon investigation, confirms that violation, or if the student admits the violation, the faculty member MUST report the violation.

Plagiarism will NOT be tolerated in this class. Please come to office hours or make an appointment if you have any questions about plagiarism or need help citing sources.

Class Policies

Eating: You may bring food to class. Please be respectful of your fellow classmates and do not bring food that is overly messy or fragrant. If food in the class becomes distracting, this policy may change. Coffee, water, tea, etc… are welcome.

Computers and Phones: If you plan to use your laptop in class, please sit in the first or second row. I expect that you will be taking notes. If it becomes clear that students are using computers recreationally, laptops and tablets will be banned from the classroom. Phones are not allowed. PowerPoints will be posted to the course website, so there is no need to take pictures of slides in class. Please do not record lectures. If you are using your phone repeatedly and disruptively, it will negatively affect your participation grade. If this becomes a recurring problem, you may be asked to leave the classroom for the remainder of the lecture.

Extra Credit: I will post five extra credit comparisons throughout the semester according to the schedule below. You can use these to practice formal analysis and comparison writing. Write one page comparing the two works. If you hand in three of these and show improvement, it can raise your overall grade by 1/3 of a grade. If you’re at a C+, your grade would be raised to a B-, up to a B+. In no circumstance will completing these lower your grade.

Disability Policy, as per Brooklyn College: In order to receive disability-related academic accommodations students must first be registered with the Center for Student Disability Services. Students who have a documented disability or suspect they may have a disability are invited to set up an appointment with the Director of the Center for Student Disability Services, Ms. Valerie Stewart-Lovell at (718) 951-5538. If you have already registered with the Center for Student Disability Services, please provide your professor with the course accommodation form and discuss your specific accommodation with him/her.

Student Bereavement Policy: Students who experience the death of a loved one must contact the Division of Student Affairs, 2113 Boylan Hall, if they wish to implement either the Standard Bereavement Procedure or the Leave of Absence Bereavement Procedure (see below). The Division of Student Affairs has the right to request a document that verifies the death (e.g., a funeral program or death notice).

Typically, this death involves that of a family member, in parallel to the bereavement policy for faculty and staff. However, it is up to the discretion of the Division of Student Affairs to determine if a death outside of the immediate family warrants implementation of the student bereavement policy.

Nonattendance because of religious beliefs: According to New York State Education Law, students will not be penalized for missing class because of religious beliefs. Please see the Undergraduate Bulletin for more information.

PLEASE NOTE:  I reserve the right to change this syllabus throughout the semester. Please check the course website for updates.