Teaching in Full Swing

UG photo class.jpg

     I'm currently co-teaching classes in print journalism and broadcast journalism. I've been given the task of placing myself in between the two courses to coordinate the multimedia production assignments to fit both course schedules. All of the grad students in the program are required to take both classes so I need to make sure the assignments that I create make sense and also don't over burden their already busy schedule.  It's been quite a challenge. A lot of the students still work part time in the media industry so it's a balancing act for some of them. As with any graduate program, the students vary in age and experience.

     I've been able to follow the usual sequence of skills that I expose them to. I started with basic audio collection and editing a few weeks ago and now we're into photography. We'll be tackling video by the end of the semester. A lot of the challenges have been in technical side of things. I've had to regroup a couple of times based on the pace at which the students have been absorbing the materials. The IT guys, Benson, has been very helpful but there are limitations based on the the quality of equipment here. I've brought over a lot of gear to donate to the school but implementing them in the curriculum and creating a checkout system and policy has been a challenge. Also, I wasn't able to get certain accessories because of my limited budget so I'm making due. I'll probably end up picking up some random things over Christmas break when I come back to the states for a couple of weeks.

     Anyhow, last week we had a lesson on photography. It was a fun day but a lot of work. There are 34 students and only 8 cameras so I had to split them up into three groups so that made for a long day. Once we got going some of them really got into it. I purchased the some Nikon P7100 cameras which is the same camera we use to teach with back in Oregon. They worked like a charm, so I've been really pleased with them.

     It seems that every time I teach basic photography to a different group there's always variations in how I cover the material. I like to think I'm adapting to the students, but I'm not sure if that's always the case. Somehow I manage to cover the right material by the end of class. Of course having a keynote presentation always helps. One thing I've noticed is that I teach them how to take a bad picture first and then show them how to fix the problem. It's worked quite well but time will tell if they've absorbed everything like I want them to. Their photo assignment is due next week so I have my fingers crossed.

     If I teach them well, I usually get comments like "I don't look at pictures the same anymore" or "you've ruined my ability to enjoy movies because I start analyzing all of the shots" Of course this is temporary as time passes you start to learn to enjoy things for what they are. Anyhow, here are some picture of me teaching in our seminar room along with some nice shots of some of my students photographed by their peers.

     The students have been very welcoming like most people in Ghana. There's the random tardiness that comes with the territory but I've been working with that as much as possible. For the most part they have a good sense of humor and are hard working. I'm still getting to know them, which will take some time. For the most part, they are very engaged and the class is very dynamic. hopefully I'll be able to remember their names by the end of the year. I'm terrible with names.