This Christmas saw the digital camera continue its meteoric rise to becoming one of the most popular and accessible gadgets in the UK. With tens of thousands of people receiving digital cameras in their stockings last week, the art of capturing, manipulating and even sharing images has never been more popular.
With this in mind, and building upon our increasing fascination with online social communities such as MySpace, Facebook and Flickr, The Open University has launched an innovative new course – Digital Photography: Creating and Sharing Better Images.
Aimed at enhancing the digital camera user’s skills, the course will appeal to everyone, regardless of their abilities and motivations to create better images. Keen amateur photographers will have the opportunity to become part of an active online social network, developing their fluency in digital photography, while those just discovering digital photography will be able to compare notes with others in the same situation and discover new techniques.
Visually-focused, with text kept to an absolute minimum, the course will develop students’ technical, visual, artistic and creative skills and is an inventive mix of practice, learning, sharing and reflection.
The course aims to teach students the key principles of capturing digital images and manipulating these with Adobe Photoshop Elements 5, whilst equipping them with the basic skills to navigate technological developments in digital photography. They’ll learn how to critically evaluate their own and others’ work in the spirit of continuous technical and artistic improvement and will be encouraged to experiment with the principles of digital photography and imaging as part of a supportive online community.
Commenting on the new course, Stephen Peake, course chair, said: “2006 saw social networking sites come to the fore and, with this, an increasing desire for peer-to-peer review – more and more people want to create and share and have their work appraised by others; this is clearly demonstrated in the rise of blogging and the incredible popularity of sites such as Flickr.
"This innovative new course will not only ensure people get the absolute best from their digital cameras and their own creative minds, but will also enable them to experiment with online photo album technology whilst introducing them to a community of literally millions of like-minded individuals all over the world.”
The course is taught entirely online and is assessed with two assignments (there is no examination): an electronic computer-marked assignment (eCMA) which is completed online a few weeks into the course and one end-of-course assessment (ECA) which must be submitted electronically. It can be counted towards most OU degrees at bachelor level or can simply be taken as a stand-alone experience.
What’s more, the course has been recognised by The Royal Photographic Society as suitable preparatory work and a foundation for a Licentiateship Distinction (LRPS) in still photography. This means students who complete the course can submit their portfolio of ten images to an RPS panel to be judged. If they pass and decide to proceed with membership to the Society, students can then use the letters LRPS after their name. It is envisaged that 10 to 20 per cent of students completing the course will have reached a standard high enough to be considered for membership of the Society.
The first Digital Photography: Creating and Sharing Better Images course starts in May 2007 and the deadline for registration is 17 April 2007.