Get the most out of your self-paced course.

After each lesson, try to use the tools and skills on a simple project you have created. Solving a new problem with the tools helps put them into your long-term memory.

All lessons are due at the end of Dead Day, the day before Finals Week!

The courses take about 44 hours to complete, so put some timeline markers on your calendar to keep you on schedule. Please do not wait until the last few days to do your lessons; you will not retain much knowledge if you rush through the work.

Top Questions:



An overview of our Self-Paced software courses

Mac OS X students: visit this Syllabus

How to complete your Software Course

Begin by starting your web browser (preferably Firefox for Mac or Windows, or Internet Explorer for Windows) and log in to the SFCC Angel System.

In Angel, you will find a link to your course.

Within the course page you will find the LESSONS tab.

Within the LESSONS tab on Angel, you will find the Starting Instructions and Quizzes.

Practical Issues

Always store your project files in a secure place, for the whole quarter.

USB drives and portable hard drives are convenient ways to store working files. CD and DVD disks are a secure archive solution. You have 500 megabytes of storage in your Network Account. (On your Desktop it is the icon with your name and a dollar sign.) Your Network Account is safe and available from any machine connected to the campus network.

Most classes will use a textbook, which you may check out for use in the CBE lab. You don't need to purchase a book unless you will be working on your own computer and software.


Frequently Asked Questions

You can use these courses to become familiar with professional graphic design software tools. They are a great way to experience the many features of the programs, to use really nice computers, and get an idea what can be done with these powerful programs. As you work through these lessons, you will be guided through complex and realistic projects. Beginners will gain a working knowldge; experienced software users discover overlooked features and rediscover useful concepts.

To get the most value from these courses, try to use the skills on your own projects. Inventing a very simple test project will help store these software skills in your long-term memory.

Are the Self-paced courses “online”?

These courses require the students to have access to the software applications and the course textbook. Due to the cost of the necessary software, we do not promote these courses as online. If students have the software off-campus, they can do all the work online. The answer is, they can function as online courses.

What is the last day to turn in my files?

Your last day to turn in your files is the “Study Day”, the day after the last day of classes, prior to Finals Week.

What does “arranged” mean? Are there any mandatory class meetings?

The term “arranged” you see in the catalog refers to you arranging your own schedule. You work around your schedule; there are no required meetings. Your instructor is available during the weekdays if you need help, but you aren't required to work at any specific times.

My course from last quarter is still on Angel. Is this a mistake?

No, it is not a mistake. To allow students with incomplete grades to finish the course, it has to be active for all those enrolled in the previous quarter.

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What determines my grade?

You will receive a grade of 4.0 if the following criteria are met:

If you do not complete the above requirements, you will receive a Z grade. The Z grade does not affect your gradepoint, as if the course was never started.

If you have made substantial progress, but are unable to finish, you may request an incomplete grade from your instructor. An incomplete course may be finished the following quarter and you will not need to register for the course a second time.

Must I work in the lab, or can I work from home?

See the first FAQ, above. You can do the work in the lab. You will check out a textbook in the lab and login to your Angel account for instrucitons.

You can work outside the labs, if you have a computer, the software, and your own copy of the textbook. The disk included with the textbooks has lesson files but no actual software. Some software can be downloaded as a free short-term trial version.

How do I begin?

You will need to login to the Angel website and connect to your course. You will find instructions on using your student registration information to login.

For most courses you will be using a textbook. The textbooks can be checked out, with your student ID card, at the counter in the CBE lab. Courses without textbooks use instructions found in your Angel pages.

All coursework may bedone on the CBE lab's Macintosh or Windows computers.

In the SFCC Library

The Library has Adobe software on its stationary computers and on a limited number of Mac laptops. There are workbooks available for checkout.

Can I get started online?

Yes, see the answer above.

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Do I need to buy a textbook?

If you work in the lab, you can check out a textbook to use in the lab. If you own the software on your own computer, you can buy the textbook and work from home.

This Fall quarter the Adobe books have changed to the CS5 versions, and Mac OS course is using Snow Leopard.

FALL courses
GRDSN 156 & 164 Illustrator I & II Adobe Illustrator CS5: The Professional Portfolio Author: Against The Clock Team Against The Clock ISBN: 978-1-936201-04-4

GRDSN 158 & 166
PhotoShop I & II

Adobe Photoshop CS5: The Professional Portfolio Author: Against The Clock Team Against The Clock ISBN: 978-1-936201-02-0
GRDSN 162 Mac OS X Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard: Peachpit Press Learning Series Robin Williams Peachpit Press ISBN-10: 0-321-63538-8
ISBN-13: 978-0-321-63538-9
GRDSN 163 & 168
InDesign I & II
Adobe InDesign CS5: The Professional Portfolio Author: Erika Kendra Against The Clock SBN:  978-1-936201-03-7
GRDSN 167 Fireworks Uses the software Help files. No book is needed.    
GRDSN 171 & 173
Flash I & II
Adobe Flash CS5: The Professional Portfolio Author: Against The Clock Team Against The Clock, Inc. ISBN: 978-1-936201-05-1
GRDSN 172 & 174
Dreamweaver I & II
Adobe Dreamweaver CS5: The Professional Portfolio Author: Against The Clock Team Against The Clock, Inc. ISBN: 978-1-936201-06-8
After Effects
Adobe Classroom in a Book: After Effects CS5 Author: Adobe Team Adobe Inc. ISBN-13: 978-0-321-70449-8
ISBN-10: 0-321-70449-5

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Do I need my own computer and software?

No, you may use the equipment in the CBE lab, building 19, room 216. You can use your own equipment; these classes are a good way to "try before you buy" if a computer purchase is in your plans. The Adobe software is available in other campus labs, but you will need to purchase the textbook to work outside the CBE lab, or you work at home.

When are the labs open?

The labs are normally open Monday through Friday, 7:30am til 3:45pm..

What software is offered?

These courses are now available:

The Adobe course materials are written for the CS4 versions. Students using the newest CS5 versions may have a few problems, but are able to complete the work. Check with your instructor if you are using CS5 and need help.

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Is help available when I work in the labs?

Yes, instructors are available to help you.

Instructor lab schedules are also posted at the front counter in the lab.

Is the software available as a cheaper educational version?

The cheapest solution is the free 30-day trial version, see below.

The bookstore and internet sites sell the educational software at a substantial discount. The educational versions are nearly identical to the commercial and the final graphic files are created in standard formats. You are not supposed to use educational software for commercial work, but you can upgrade an educational version to the professional.

Can I do the course work using free Demo versions of software?

Yes, Adobe often offers a 30-day demo copy of the software. These versions allows you to save your working files, and can be a great way to work at home (for 30 days).

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How long does it take to complete a course?

The courses are designed to be done in 44 hours. Your results may vary.

What computer experience is required to take a course?

You should possess basic computer skills. Using a mouse, navigating through the computer environment, create folders, save files, copy files.

Our labs use mostly Macintosh computers. If you are accustomed to the Windows operating system, you may want to try out the Macintosh. Most Windows users can adapt to Macs quickly and painlessly by reading the "Switching from Windows" topics in the Mac Help files.

We have a basic Macintosh course if you are in need of Macintosh skills.

Can I do the work on the Windows version of the software?

Yes, if you have a Windows machine and the software, the programs work nearly the same on Windows or Macintosh, and the files will transfer between platforms.

There are Windows computers with Adobe Software in the CBE lab and the Library. There are limited numbers of textbooks in the Library.

Can I take more than one course per quarter?

Yes, there are no limits or prerequisites. You may wish to meet with the instructor before signing up for multiple courses.

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Can I enroll in the courses during the quarter?

Adding a course during the quarter requires you to obtain the instructor's signature on an ADD/DROP form. It is usually possible to add a course if you have enough time to successfully complete it.

Are the Self-Paced courses offered every quarter?

They are offered Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer quarters.

Where do I store my files?

You can use your student network storage area to store lessons, if you limit the total file sizes. You can also use your own storage device; USB drives, portable hard drives, network storage sites, or CD/DVD disks all work. You can even email lesson files to yourself if the files will are not too large for your email system.

What about USB storage devices?

A USB flash drive

They are a chip of flash memory in a little case with a USB plug on the end. They're called Flash Drives, USB Drives, Thumb Drives, etc. They have no moving parts (unlike the similar units called MicroDrives) and are quite dependable. When plugged in they look and act like a server or hard drive and are safe to work from.

Be sure to use the appropriate unmounting, ejecting or other disconnect procedure for the computer you are using before unplugging them. Data may be lost if you don't.

Rename your USB drive with your name or other unique term. It makes it easier to trace if you forget your USB drive in the computer.

The self-paced courses will not need large storage so you can buy the cheaper models. A good plan is to periodically copy the contents of the Flash Drive onto a CD or DVD disk and then clean off the unused files. and then clean off the unused files. The files you delete will remain in the Trash folder on the drive, taking up space, until you empty the trash. All the Macintosh computers will burn CD-R disks and DVD-Rs.

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I threw out my old files into the Trash but the Flash Drive still won't save new files???

When you throw files into the Trash, they are still there on your drive, taking up space, until you run the Empty Trash command (found in the Mac Desktop Finder pull-down menu).