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04/29/2003 04:31:19 PM · #1
I have an idea that I've been thinking about most all day and I think it's finally time I tell it to the members of this site to see what y'all think.

I don't know if anyone else has brought this up, but I think that an online photography classroom as a part of DPC would be a great idea. This thought came to me after I recieved some WONDERFUL feedback after posting a picture in the forums just recently. I was working on getting better focus and DOF in my pictures.

Especially in my area, quality digital photography classes in the community are limited and costly. There are SO many talented photographers on this site that make excellent "teachers" to those of us who need help with the technical aspects of photography. This is my thought....

1.) Just like a normal classroom, the DPC classroom would have specific homework assignments and lessons on a certain aspect of photography. The "teacher" would assign a specific assignment...something that forces the student to concentrate on a specific camera setting, a lighting technique, or composition form. For instance, one subject could be the focus and DOF issue that I was personally working on this week. The students would have, lets say a week, to work on their assignments and then turn them into the teacher. During the week, students could discuss the assignment amoung themselves online and exchange information, ideas, and ways to improve each other's assignments. Then, when we turn in our assignments, we would get a "grade" and in depth critique on our picture in how we were able to attain the subject of the assignment.

2.) A current photography in DPC could be nominated to become a teacher. Perhaps those that have posted in the "tips and tricks" section would be good choices. Those teachers would allow students to attempt what they taught in a more formal matter and grade the student on how well it was attempted.

3.) If, lets say, 10-20 photographers were chosen and agreed to be teachers, they would take turns being the DPC Teacher for the week. He/she would make the assignment for his/her students and then grade the assignments at the end of the week. The teacher would be available that week to answer questions and provide feedback and suggestions. Afterwards, they would not have to oversee another class for a couple of months or so.

4.) The pictures that the "students" submit would not be voted on by other members of DPC like the challenges are, but they could be viewed by them and comments could be made.

5.) This classroom would only be open to paying members of DPC. Those that take a vested interest end up being more serious and will work harder on obtaining a "good grade". I would even be willing to pay an extra fee for being a student, the added funds going to either the teacher or to the site for the added space needed for such a service.

So, after reading this, what does everyone think? Do you think it would be a helpful tool and add to the DPC website? ...or would it be overkill to what is already being offered. If you think that this IS a good idea, feel free to change or add to the criteria of the classroom idea.

Thanks for reading and possibly considering the idea. I'll be anxious to find out what you think.

Connie
04/29/2003 04:41:35 PM · #2
Connie,

This sounds like a great idea. I'd definitely be interested in it too. Learning is the main reson I joined this site. I think it would be a huge benefit to all who participate.

04/29/2003 04:42:57 PM · #3
I also like this idea a lot. I also would be more than happy to pay for more in-depth help and critisism.
04/29/2003 04:43:51 PM · #4
I think that that would be a fun idea. Have some sort of homework, a lesson, quotes, ect. From different subjects of photography. It would be nice, since I can't take the photo classes here at my college since I'm a digital photographer. Just some sort of extra learning and teaching would be greatly beneficial to me.

Message edited by author 2003-04-29 16:44:11.
04/29/2003 04:46:33 PM · #5
I think the current format works well for LOTS of reasons.

1. Members have 2 challenges per week to shoot and 400+ shots to vote for as it is. In addition to CC, forum posting and actual having lives - this doesn't leave a lot of time to either a) prep a lesson, b) take part in a 3rd challenge, and c) grade the shots from 20-50 members.

2. Who will be the teachers? There's a reason those other courses charge a lot - the teachers get paid for their time. While it is great that we get help on the forums, nobody is obliged this way.

3. Not all students could be teachers. What am I going to teach Setz, Gordon or Crabappl3? What do the 20 teachers get out of teaching their 50 charges? If everyone was responsible for one lesson, so thus 20 teachers teach 19 students (each other), that'd be ok - but then those who didn't have something super valuable to contribute would be left out. I don't think many would be willing to pay more - as we could go to other sites and get REALLY fantastic professional teachers for only a bit more.

M
04/29/2003 04:48:27 PM · #6
Sounds great to me as well. Count me in! I've learned so much here on DPC, and I feel there is so much more to learn.
04/29/2003 05:16:15 PM · #7
I haven't given this much thought, yet. I tend to agree with Mavrik, however, he was misled by the strictness of the 'class rules' that larson put up in the first place. One could imagine a kind of loose 'classroom' where at the beginning of the week a theme is set (Critique club? Moderators?), and where members may both submit and comment in a kind of loose, non-obliging way. This is not very much different from the normal forums that are going on, except this one would be labeled 'classroom' and would be reserved just for this purpose.
04/29/2003 05:37:47 PM · #8
I am interested too in having smth structured to work on a particular aspect of photography. When John Setzler posted his tutorial on DOF I was inspired to do some macro work experimenting with aperture bracketing to test how the background went progressively blurry. Theoretically I knew all that, but now I would just dial the correct aperture because I know exactly what I am doing. It's just practice... I would love to participate in classrooms about lighting techniques, calculating hyperfocal and nearfocal distances, shooting backlit subjects, eliminating and emphasizing reflections from the glass, getting the water blurry, etc.

Good idea. Let's do it, please...
04/29/2003 05:43:04 PM · #9
This dovetails quite well with the 'workshops' idea that I tried to get started last month. I have four written, ready to go but have been waiting on some time to get everything in place and get some assistance from Drew in getting it up on the site.

Rough idea was a 2 or 3 page theme/ technique/ principle with examples, and then a 2week/1month type time period for people to submit 2 or 3 of their best efforts on that theme to a shared portfolio.

There would also be a forum to discuss the current assignment/ get help/ feedback/ share tips/ progress etc. Strictly non-competitive. I finished writing my thesis yesterday so might have some more time to work on getting things going.

Message edited by author 2003-04-29 17:43:38.
04/29/2003 06:58:08 PM · #10
Originally posted by Gordon:

This dovetails quite well with the 'workshops' idea that I tried to get started last month.

That's exactly what sprung to mind when I started reading this thread.
Glad to hear that it's still in the works.
04/29/2003 07:13:25 PM · #11
Gordon....thank-you, thank-you, thank-you. I'm so glad that you made your post. I knew in the back of my mind that someone out there probably was actually working on something like this. What you have in progress sounds like what I have been thinking today.

I think Mavrik got the wrong impression of what I was writing. I know that my post was quite long and some people don't like to take time to read thourghly a long post. But, for the teachers, what I mean't was that 10 or so of the good, experienced photographers could volunteer to lead a class/workshop for one or more weeks to help those who want to learn more about a specific type of photography or technique (like the things Galina mentioned). Yes, we can practice on our own what they write in the "tips and tricks" section, but in a more intense and constructed environment, we can get better input on how we did in our practice. Does that make sense?

Yes, there is a reason why people who teach professionally charge the amounts they do to teach students who sign up for their classes. Yes, that's fine, but it's not available in rural areas, like where I live. There was a class once that I looked into, but all it was really was showing how people can take snapshots and send them in email to family and friends. There wasn't any in depth technical digital photography instruction. I think you all know there is a difference between digital and film, especially when you add post-processing techniques.

Some people like to volunteer their time and experience in teaching what they know for the pure pleasure of it...whether it be showing off how much you know or knowing others could benefit from it. I'm willing to pay extra for the added instruction from these people because I highly respect their work, but I don't think money should be the primary reason why you share your knowledge.

Gordon, I hope that you'll be able to get your idea up and running sometime soon. I will be thrilled to participate in your workshops.

Connie
04/29/2003 07:28:19 PM · #12
I would also be happy to participate in a project like this. I think there are a lot of opportunities for me to learn by doing as well. I also look forward to participating in anything that Gordon posts...

04/29/2003 09:18:42 PM · #13
I'm not exactly sure what the costs are. I know people on another site that have taken this and are very pleased with it. New York Institute of Photography has an online course for traditional photography as well as digital. You can find out more here at their website.
04/29/2003 09:40:48 PM · #14
I think that this is an excellent idea. I was speaking to a friend of mine who is a photographer and he told me that when he was studying, his teacher set a piece of art, by well known artists and they had to use the same style of lighting which the painting portrayed, this to me sounds like a great way to learn. Hope that your idea works out!
04/30/2003 12:55:56 AM · #15
Originally posted by CLarson557:

I think Mavrik got the wrong impression of what I was writing. I know that my post was quite long and some people don't like to take time to read thourghly a long post.

I did read the whole post. I thought I was replying to most of it, too. I didn't think it was feasible, but if you can get people like Gordon and Setz and others, I'm all for it. Don't assume a disagreement means I didn't read though! :)

Originally posted by CLarson557:

Yes, there is a reason why people who teach professionally charge the amounts they do to teach students who sign up for their classes.

Some people like to volunteer their time and experience in teaching what they know for the pure pleasure of it...whether it be showing off how much you know or knowing others could benefit from it.

I think this goes with the idea from above - if you can get 10 to 15 people who are willing to do this, then great. I'm all for it. I was simply pointing out that it may be hard to do. I seem to be wrong by the response! :)

I'm all for the idea - I think as posted it would be hard to do timewise. The IDEA of a learning environment for one particular aspect or other - heck, I'll be second in line behind you! :)

M
04/30/2003 04:31:14 AM · #16
Nice idea - though tricky. How do you select teachers? Do you limit classroom sizes? How does it work with the site?

Maybe it would be better if it were run through the site but not directly on it - I mean that the pupils and teacher could be got together through the forums, and then the submission of shots and the actual teaching could happen through e-mail, and then the final portfolio could be hosted here. Don't know how the site works, but I'd have thought limiting access to a forum, or even a forum thread, based on another category to be added to a users profile might be very tricky (like Drew and Langdon haven't enough to do!)

Payments etc.: I'm sure there are people who'd be willing to do this for free, given the generosity there is around here. An advantage to it being a paid for thing though is that it is more likely to ensure a committed set of pupils - I'm not talking about an expensive thing, maybe $10 or something (and I know that there are those who have no money, and those who have difficulty paying on-line etc.). We ran a small magazine at college, and whilst we wanted to distribute it for free (the college covered our costs), we were persuaded out of it on the basis that if you give something away people will just take it. If you charge (however little), people will have to make a decision to get it, and will take it more seriously.

Gordon - never saw your suggestion, but sounds like a good one.

Ed
04/30/2003 04:54:56 AM · #17
I am not a member yet, but I would prefer the classroom to be open to members to boost the sustainability and stickiness of this site. It may an additional incentive for people to join. A committed set of pupils? Take it seriously? Some may want to participate consistently, some only occassionally, on the technique that interest them... I really would not want to see a formal arrangement that would oppose a "teacher" to "students". As a peer review and forum site, DPChallenge works very well so that we can discuss each others work and teach each other, and share our knowledge generously.
04/30/2003 07:33:21 AM · #18
I am not currently a member, but if this type of service was offered to members, it could be enough to persuade me and a lot of others. I think that you could very well find this service over-subscribed by people unless you restritct it in this manner. If you still find it over-subscribed you could try still do it by using more than one teacher .i.e. One main teacher who briefs the other teachers and what the subject is, what they are looking for etc. Then each of the tutors has 5-10 pupils reporting back to them (reducing the strain on tutors and the teacher)with the Tutors reporting back to the teacher. If these do become regular classes then you should also shuffle pupils around, so they do not have the same tutor as per the last lesson, giving them new ideas and viewpoints.
04/30/2003 08:19:48 AM · #19
I think this is a really cool idea, maybe I can drop my classes...I seem to learn as much here as I do from them
04/30/2003 10:24:38 PM · #20
It does sound fun, but isn't it simply a more formalized version of what already occurs here? Weekly homework of at least 2 assignments (if you're a member), "grades"--but given by all, lessons in the form of tutorials, and some great examples to learn from and copy. I suppose it takes a little more personal work on our part, but as a teacher, this is the kind of enthusiasm for learning that we all crave!
04/30/2003 11:11:37 PM · #21
What about another site altogether named dpchallenge2? It could have a membership fee that is costlier than this site in order to limit the enrollment and to fairly compensate the "teachers"

I agree with Dsidwell, dpchallenge is a classroom as it is, with weekly homework, and lots of great photos from which to learn.
04/30/2003 11:20:24 PM · #22
What about a mentor program? Having one or two new newbie to the photo world with someone with experience.

Maybe having an assignment. Then submitting then getting feedback as to changing setting and re-shooting and re-evaluation.

Just a thought.
04/30/2003 11:47:48 PM · #23
Originally posted by dsidwell:

It does sound fun, but isn't it simply a more formalized version of what already occurs here? Weekly homework of at least 2 assignments (if you're a member), "grades"--but given by all, lessons in the form of tutorials, and some great examples to learn from and copy. I suppose it takes a little more personal work on our part, but as a teacher, this is the kind of enthusiasm for learning that we all crave!


The difference is in how much up front detail is given in the assignments, and the discussion that can go on while shooting. Not competative, more info, perhaps more learning and improvement ?
05/01/2003 11:30:35 AM · #24
I think that a linked, but separate site would be best (like DPC prints). The name 'DPClasses.com' seems still available. Payed subscription to DPC mandatory to enter, additional fees if one wants work to submit. Any member can enter the discussions and give critique or advice. 2 or 3 themes set by 'Board of trustees' to run for 1 month. Good system for retrieval of earlier threads necessary.
If one sums up this kind of basic requirements, what would the cost be? Could it be done without driving fees up too much?
05/01/2003 07:08:16 PM · #25
I just wanted to thank everyone that has posted on this thread. Gordon, I hope that you get your wish in getting workshops started. I'll be first in line to take part in whatever you end up with and are able to do.

Even though I know that I personally have improved on my photograhy, my average in the challenges hasn't improved very much. Therefore, I must still be missing something and I know that some instruction in a more organized matter would help...I were I wouldn't have to "compete"

Thanks again,
Connie
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