For the last six weeks I have been developing an interactive learning module on the topic of exposure in digital photography called Understanding Exposure. I chose exposure as my topic because, as a photographer, it is something that I know a lot about and feel comfortable focusing on.
To begin this project I did a needs analysis which contained an overview of the problem background, purpose of the learning module, learning objectives, audience, and evaluations. I chose to focus on this particular topic because I have taken three different introductory photography courses in high school, VCT, and in the College of Fine Arts. In all three cases I noticed that students tended to struggle with understanding how to properly expose their images and they often fell back to relying on the automatic mode. Because of this trend, I decided to gear this learning module towards helping students understand how to properly expose their images. The intended audience includes anyone taking an introductory photography class either in high school or college, as well as anyone just looking to improve their skills. From this learning module students should be able to gain an understanding of:
- how a camera uses light to crate photographs
- how to evaluate if a photograph has been properly exposed
- light, aperture settings, shutter speeds, and ISO settings and their relationship to one another in creating good exposures
- how to create properly exposed images manually
If this module ends up being used in a class students can be evaluated in a couple different ways. They could be tested on the concepts after reviewing the module. They can also be given a more hands on assignment and evaluated on their submitted images.
After completing the needs analysis, I wrote an overview of the project plan which includes my research, an audience analysis, the scope of the learning module, the proposed learning objectives and outcomes, and completion benchmarks. Some of the sources I used in creating this learning module were Photography (10th ed.) by London, Stone, and Upton, Photography: A Practical Guide by McWhinnie and Andrews, Understanding Exposure by Peterson, and the websites http://www.digital-photography-school.com and http://www.freephotocourse.com. I also found a 10 minute tutorial on exposure basics that I included as an additional resource from http://www.freephotocourse.com and a camera simulation website at camerasim.com. The images on the site either came from Stock.XCHNG or were taken by me. In the future I plan to replace all of the images from Stock.XCHNG with images I shot myself.
As for the scope of the learning module, I decided that the learning module should provided students with a basic understanding of the importance of light in digital photography and how to set proper exposures manually. An emphasis is placed on the exposure triangle (ISO, aperture and shutter speed settings) and how the camera settings can vary depending on the lighting in a given situation. Information will be provided in a variety of formats (videos, text, diagrams, pictures and hands-on assignments) to benefit all learning styles. Learners will be presented with optional assignments that are situated in real-world contexts. This will provide learners with an opportunity to practice using the ISO, aperture and shutter speed settings in different situations to see firsthand what the results are.
The following week I looked at instructional and technical strategies that I could use in completing this project. This included the instructional design model or theory I would be following, the interactive segments, and the script/storyboard development. To complete the module I decided to follow the ADDIE model which includes 5 different phases of development: analyze, design, development, implementation, and evaluation. I also chose to provide content in a variety of formats to support the principles of Universal Design for Learning by including text, visuals, audio, video, and a simulation. The website is interactive in that users can navigate to whichever page they choose to go to. There is no set order they have to follow. They can also interact with the animations, slideshows, video and camera simulation. For the script/storyboard requirement I listed a site outline:
- Shutter Speed
- Equivalent Exposures
- Additional Resources
Next, I created a rough version of the learning module which was reviewed by my classmates in an alpha review. Using the feedback from the alpha review, I revised my learning module and resubmitted to my peers for a beta review. I am still waiting on feedback from my classmates for the beta review. However, once I have an idea of what to fix, I will revise my learning module one last time before I submit it for grading.
Overall, I thought that this project was a lot of hard work but also a lot of fun. In the past I have not enjoyed creating websites, but Weebly is very intuitive and easy to use because it has a drag-and-drop interface. I think that my learning module will make a great portfolio piece to show future employers, and I hope to find time to make additional learning modules on various introductory topics in photography next semester. The goal is to have a small series of learning modules such as Understanding Exposure, Understanding Light, Understanding Depth of Field, and so on. I am actually going to be a teaching assistant in VCT 2820 Introduction to Photography, so I will be able to take my observations and apply them to this learning module and additional learning modules. After doing this project I could see myself teaching face-to-face classes or online classes using learning modules I have created.