In this CAS activity, I participated in an online photography course. The name of the course was “Beginner Digital Photography” and it was offered by Alison Courses. The course had 2 modules, namely “Module 1: Working with your camera” and “Module 2: Introduction to Photoshop and Lightroom for Photographers” which contained nine and eleven chapters respectively. Clicking a picture through a dslr camera requires more than good sense of background, light and autofocus. It required learning the various modes and functions of the camera and other skills like light sensitivity, number and speed of subjects, etc. My goal was to learn about the basic settings of my dslr camera and become a better photographer.
Reflection of Learning Outcomes:
Learning Outcome 1 (Identify own strengths and develop areas for growth)
Identifying my strengths and weaknesses was very easy in this activity (as compared to first aid online course activity) because the area of interest is limited by technical knowledge and skills of using the camera. My strengths were clicking the pictures in auto mode, changing exposure/brightness and basic knowledge about editing and exporting media files. My weakness was manual focus and lack of knowledge about the name of each button/dial, types of lenses and other key terms like aperture, shutter speed and ISO (I learnt some of these weaknesses after the course).
One instance where overcoming my weakness benefitted me was learning about manual focus. This is something that is very useful for clicking good pictures. It allows you to take control of the camera and decide the subject accordingly. This is something one cannot do in auto mode because the camera, no matter how advanced or expensive, doesn’t have the capability to read your mind.
Learning Outcome 2 (Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process)
I faced several challenges while doing this CAS activity. The information being taught was technical and I had to be attentive. Since this was my first artistic online course, I didn’t know what to expect. It was challenging because I was very used to being taught something in the way a school teacher explains it. Getting showered by information with no time for doubts and additional explanation took time to get a hang of. I often had to pause or reverse the videos. Not only understanding but memorizing so many terms and functions at once was also overwhelming for me.
I used two techniques to overcome this challenge. To gain clarity in practical information, for example changing aperture, ISO and shutter speed or using any tools or any photoshop, I tried to perform the steps side by side with my camera/PC so I could easily understand and learn them. For other information like function and pros/cons of different types of lens, I took notes in the space provided by the website itself (I couldn’t refer to them in the final assessment, they were just for written memory).
I have developed many photography skills in this activity. I have gained a lot of knowledge on internal and external photography factors and how they can be changed or modified for clicking better pictures. Learning these skills has made me more confident as a twenty first century teenager. In our society, not just teens but people of all age click a lot of pictures for either social media or just memory. In my opinion, being comfortable with advanced camera modes is not just a personal achievement for myself but also a required and respected social skill.
Learning Outcome 4 (Show commitment to and perseverance in CAS experiences)
The course was lengthy and demanded time and a lot of attention. Making time while doing my other school activities was difficult and required commitment. In total, the course took me 7 days to complete and in average I completed 45 mins to 1 hour worth of chapters (note-taking and physical practice excluded) each day. I incorporated this course into my daily routine through schedule making. I had to be strict with my self-management skills and commit to doing the required amount of chapters daily. The time I had to dedicate to the course was out of my comfort-zone as I already had a pretty busy and mentally tedious schedule. Commitment and perseverance were very crucial for this activity. I completed the course effectively by sticking to the schedule and doing the work with patience and attention.
The IB learner profiles I have developed through this activity are knowledgeable, reflective and balanced. As I mentioned before, my knowledge about digital photography has significantly improved. Throughout the course and especially during the course assessment I had to constructively reflect on all my learning in order to pass the course. For making time and committing to the course, I had to balance my time and schedule without significantly limiting my attention to academics and other activities.
I can connect this course to IBDP subject physics (I haven’t opted for this subject in my Diploma Programme). One of the chapters in the course explained the physics of light intensity, the speed of the subject and depth of field in order to decide the perfect ISO, shutter speed and aperture. There were many physics related terms used in some chapters and my knowledge of physics from MYP helped me understand these concepts more clearly.
In conclusion, this course has been my gateway to understand what a non academic online course looks like. Not only has this course improved my relationship with the camera and photo-editing softwares, but it has also prepared me for participating in other online courses. With the pandemic, most of the teaching is now done through online mediums and the skills and knowledge I have gained and developed from this course will definitely help me in the future.