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Analysis of Learners and Context

July 27, 2007

I want to develop a course that addresses gaining advanced skills in image editing software (e.g. Photoshop). At the moment I teach in the Photography Department at the School of Art with senior students, and I am teaching a paper in Design Communication that teaches Page Layout Design to year 1 students and includes gaining basic skills in Adobe’s Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator.
The need that I am trying to fill is the lack of current resources in the Art School for teaching and learning Digital Image Editing, that may be specific to photographers, but I think that once developed, the resources will be usable across many courses in the School of Art and Design.

Whilst studying for the paper Designing for Flexible Learning Practice, I put together the following Learner and Graduate Profiles:

This information is only based on what I know of the students informally and is an educated guess.

I still need to find out who has access to the internet at home, and who has broadband. There also needs to be a more detailed discussion/analysis of what basic and intermediate skills are on the computer and with software. It would also be handy to know who have skills in Photoshop and who have skills in other image-editing packages and what students WANT to learn in the future. (although industry still demands knowledge of Photoshop…)

This has been really useful though in focusing my plan, and helping me work out what I need to find out next.

Current students enrolled in the BFA-Photography senior papers: (55% in BFA4 papers, 45% in BFA3)
95% are under 30 years old, and 84% of those are between 20 and 25. (i.e. most students come straight from school)
basic computer skills – all have basic skills, 70% have intermediate skills
Image-editing skills – all have basic image-editing skills, but only 10% have intermediate skills.
45% of students have access to a computer outside the school grounds, and of these 55% have a laptop they would be able to bring and use in school (incidentally, 45% of students with their own computer use an apple mac)


I regularly check The Big Idea website for industry jobs – this is a typical example of what employers are looking for in prospective employees:

Photographic/Digital Imaging Technician
Technical Abilities: The ideal candidate will have / be:
• Proficient in Photoshop CS or later
• Proficient in the operation of both Macs and PC’s
• Experience in colour and b/w printing in a client-focused environment
• The ability to “read or interpret an image” and make efficient decisions about colour and tonal corrections
• Able to recognise digital defects or unwanted artefacts in an image
• Scanning experience (maintenance experience a plus)
• IT skills – (Experience managing and maintaining Mac and PC network systems a real asset)

Looking at the Otago Polytechnic’s Vision statement, it is clear that as well as addressing our current students we must look also at people we are not yet attracting to study, so I want to ensure that my resources are as flexible as possible, which would include different ways of using them (i.e. self-paced study as well as using them with a teacher), and different ways of accessing them (online, on a CD-rom, hard copy).


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