j187 | IIM

Intro to Interactive Media

JOMC 187

Introduction to Interactive Multimedia

Section 1 with Steven King:

  • Tuesday and Thursday 1-2:50pm
  • Carroll Hall, Room 60
  • Instructor: Steven King
  • Email: steven.king@unc.edu
  • Office: Carroll Hall, Room 77
  • Office hours: 1-3 p.m. Wednesday, or by appointment
  • Course website: http://steventking.com/j187

Section 2 with Julia Elman

  • Monday and Wednesday 7-8:50pm
  • Carroll Hall, Room 58
  • Instructor: Karen McIntyre
  • Email: kmcintyre@unc.edu
  • Office: Carroll Hall, Room 382
  • Office hours: 12-1 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, or by appointment
  • Course website: http://steventking.com/j187

Multimedia authoring tools provide communicators with some of the most powerful and effective storytelling options available. Understanding these tools is essential for anyone who plans a successful career in the media industry. However, the ability to resourcefully and proficiently use these tools is an even greater asset. The goal of this class, therefore, is to help you gain knowledge of both these aspects. You will examine and understand the value of website design in the journalism industry and develop the skills to execute your ideas.

Course Description

This course will introduce you to basic journalistic multimedia design and production concepts and train you in web development. Producing effective multimedia projects requires extensive and detailed skill sets. This class will teach skills such as:

  • Expertise in website layout using HTML, CSS, a web editing program and a content management system
  • The effective use of data, photography, graphics, artwork, audio, video and the written word
  • Solid, ethical journalistic decision-making.

This class provides the first steps to help you become an effective multimedia producer.


Much of the most applicable information for web design and development is available online. Therefore, I will regularly post supplemental reading and tutorials for this course online. Additionally, there are two books we will read – one I will provide and the other you need to buy.

The one required text that I will provide is:

  • The Principles of Beautiful Web Design by Jason Beaird

The one required text that needs to be purchased is:

  • HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites by Jon Duckett

Software and Training

Some software programs are required for this course, including Adobe Illustrator. All of the programs you need will be available on the lab computers. If you wish to have Adobe Illustrator on your personal computer, it can be purchased through the UNC Ram Shop online or in store. Contact: (919)962-2422 or ramshop@email.unc.edu. Software programs are nonrefundable, so be sure you are buying what you want. Earlier versions of Illustrator (CS3, CS4, CS5) are acceptable for use in this course.

Although I will provide you with some free online tutorials, I highly recommend purchasing a subscription to www.lynda.com for additional help. Lynda.com is a software training and tutorial video library. Lynda.com can be purchased at https://www.lynda.com/home/Registration/ ConsumerRegistrationStep1.aspx?bnr=topbeamember_newsite.


This course is demanding, and skills will be taught in each session that you will need to proceed with your assignments. Missing a class will leave you behind, particularly during the summer, when a lot of information is crammed into a short period of time. Therefore, attendance is required, participation is expected, and deadlines are absolute. Students are allowed NO unexcused absences. Each absence will result in a 3% deduction in your final grade. Each student is allowed one excused absence. Excused absences may include natural disasters, a death in the family, sickness, or approved official games for UNC athletes. They do not include non-emergency medical appointments or non-required academic events. If you must miss a class for any reason, talk to me individually ahead of time. If you miss a class, it is your responsibility to talk a classmate or me to get caught up. Additionally, I expect you to arrive to class on time. Arriving more than 20 minutes late or leaving more than 20 minutes early (with the exception of open lab days) will count as an absence if you fail to provide me with a valid reason before class.

Class Time and Expectations

Most class sessions will consist of lecture/demonstration and lab time, which is used to work on the current assignment. Students should plan on spending a generous amount of additional lab time outside of class to complete the assignments. I expect you to come to every class on time, interact with your classmates and me, and work hard inside and outside of lab. I do not find it respectful to check your cell phone or browse non-course related websites during class. If I see you doing these things, you will lose participation points, and respect.


There will be four main projects during this course. The first one will challenge you to design a website using Adobe Illustrator and employing sound design techniques that we will discuss in class. The second project will expand on the first by asking you to both design and develop a website using HTML and CSS. The third will challenge you to create your own personal portfolio website using WordPress. The final project will be an online magazine/publication with a completely custom design and WordPress theme. Additional information about all of these projects will be provided during class.

In-class exercises and quizzes
In-class exercises will cover the reading assignments and material pertaining to the particular week’s lessons. You also will have a couple unannounced quizzes on reading assignments and class discussion. If you keep up with the reading assignments and pay attention in class, the quizzes should be easy to complete.

Website critique
You will be asked to critique and lead a discussion about a professional multimedia project of your choosing for the class. More specifics about the requirements this presentation and accompanying paper will be provided during class.


Your success in this course will be determined by participation as well as completion and effort on assignments. There will be a handful of small assignments and three main projects throughout the semester. In general, late projects are unacceptable. You will loose one letter grade per day day late. In unusual circumstances (medical, death, serious illness), I will accept projects late, but not without a penalty, and only if you reach out to me before the assignment is due with a legitimate reason for its tardiness.

There are basic expectations that any supervisor or project manager would have for a project undertaken by a multimedia design specialist. All of your assignments must meet the following minimum basic standards to be considered for a grade of “B” or better. The project must be:

  • Completed according to the assignment specifications.
  • Completed on time.
  • Free of typographical, grammatical and mechanical errors.
  • Completed so as to evidence a clear grasp of multimedia production standards and design concepts.

When appropriate, your multimedia work also will be evaluated for news value, presentation, editing decisions, architecture of information presentation, aesthetic design choices, and creativity and innovation.

The graded assignments will be:

  • Participation – 50 points (refer to “Class Time and Expectations” section)
  • Quizzes and assignments – 10-20 points each
  • Website critique – 100 points
  • Three large projects – 100 points each
  • Final projects – 400 points each

I will use the following grading scale to calculate grades, and I will round up.
94% and higher: A
90-93: A-
87-89: B+
84-86: B
80-83: B-
77-79: C+
74-76: C
70-73: C-
67-69: D+
64-66: D
60-63: D-
59% or below: F

Academic Honesty

The Honor Code and the Campus Code, embodying the ideals of academic honesty, integrity and responsible citizenship, have for more than 100 years governed the performance of all academic work and student conduct at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Acceptance by a student of enrollment in the University presupposes a commitment to the principles embodied in those codes and a respect for this most significant University tradition. All academic work should be done with the high level of honestly and integrity this university demands. You can access more information about the UNC Honor Code at studentconduct.unc.edu. If you have any questions about plagiarism when it comes to Web site coding, please ask.

Values and Competencies of this Course

  • Understand concepts and apply theories in the use and presentation of images and information;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of professional ethical principles and work ethically in pursuit of truth, accuracy, fairness and diversity;
  • Think critically, creatively and independently;
  • Apply tools and technologies appropriate for the communications professions in which they work.

Tentative Course Schedule (subject to change)

Week 1
Introduction to class
Design Basics

Week 2

Week 3
Illustrator Design

Week 4
Illustrator Design

Website Design in Illustrator

Week 5

Week 6

Week 7
Responsive Design and Bootstrap
More CSS

Week 8

Website design and development

Week 8
Intro to WordPress

Week 9

Week 10

Wordpress Portfolio

Week 11
Wordpress Themeing

Week 12
Wordpress Themeing

Week 13

Week 14
PROJECT 4 Due last day of class.