What should a college provide?

27 Jan 2008
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Llanfair Caereinion, Nr Welshpool
United Kingdom
I am lucky I can afford to buy extras at 58 one would hope one would. However other students are not so lucky and at 16 many are struggling to meet the bills.
The course is AS level i.e. the same as they would have done had they remained in school and it is seen as an easy option being an art subject and it titled “Digital Photography”.
It is expected most students will have their own camera and other than to say camera phones are not accepted little has been declared as to its quality. So the students could use a compact and then use one of the 4 x D-SLR's owned by college for exercises which the compact can't cope with. It is also expected that the students have some form of removable storage medium to keep their work on. This could be a re-writeable CD or DVD so no great expense. In the same way as students provide paper and pens.

However as the course progressed the lecturer starts to add things. First a display folder for ones work and black card for mounting OK not huge expense at around £10. Then he says we need mounting cards for our work. These are the type that with right cutters one could cut from one sheet costing around a £1 but pre-cut these cost £2.50 each and the student needs 8 to present their work. Then add £1 for each 8 x 10 print out and 50p for use of lectures spray glue and masking tape and an extra backing card as the paper used in printer is so poor quality they need support. So these 16 year old students are asked to pay £32 each to buy the materials needed for the exam. I would accept that there should be some limits set to materials used for other than exam so students should not expect to get photos mounted to take home. But this is required for exam.

Although in University one is now expected to pay for all sorts this is a college of further education and it is only a level 3 exam designed of 16 year old students. I wonder if the lecturer is either unaware of what the college should provide or is lining his own pocket. I would guess he also teaches non vocational classes where mature students are required to buy all materials they use and has not realised the difference between vocational and non vocational classes?

However there must be many more on this forum who are also in education so I wonder what other colleges charge full time students. Do remember full time as day release students would of course pay for all materials or their firm will.

For me the £32 is not a problem and I will pay without quibble but not the same for 16 year old students.
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You have to realise Eric, that nothing is free in this world anymore.
Over the length of this course, you reckon it will cost the students £32 ?
That's less than a pound a week in real terms. Surely thye can save for the naterials they need to complete the course?

I was a student once, back in the mid 70's (4 yr teacher training course) and had to find the money for books, materials, etc etc. It was a struggle and I had to drop out of the course 3/4 of the way through, due to lack of funds.
£32 for materials is nothing these days mate.
My point was although these students are doing the course in college they are of school age and really the same charges as apply at school should apply.

Most courses I have done have very carefully detailed what the student is expected to provide and what will be provided by the training establishment in some cases even meals are included in the course price.

However there was nothing to alert the student as to what the materials would cost. D-SLR camera around £300+ Photoshop CS4 student copy £125+ and really need a home PC so another £300+ and their parents pay out all this up front.

Then after course starts they find even more added to it. I know I can go to local art supplier and buy a sheet of card (mounting board) for around £5 which would do for all their pictures and likely they will need to learn to cut board if they take it any further so why not start in AS level.

Instead the lecturer insists they buy pre-cut board from him and has forbid them from going else where for it as it will not all match once exam is complete and the images are displayed on college wall.

In the real world they would buy the board either ready cut or to cut them selves to fit a picture frame and one would not use a random board only. And using card behind most photos would make them too thick to fit frame. So the whole method is rather pointless.

To my mind either the students should cut their own boards and this would be part of course or mounting should not be required!
Instead the lecturer insists they buy pre-cut board from him and has forbid them from going else where for it as it will not all match once exam is complete and the images are displayed on college wall.
I'd suggest complaining in writing to the college administration. Making students provide thier own materials is one thing but a lecturer forcing his students to buy from him is WAY over the line IMO.
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This was my feelings. I don't think he is lining his pocket more looking after a low budget. But although looks good I am sure not required for exam.

Priced card today large card big enough to cut all needs for couple of students was £4. And good quality wood frames were under a £5er. Think I may try a few words to lecturer first.

The problem is the more the student can get away with buying ready made the easier the exam.

Sorry to say not a level playing field. I go out with my D-SLR complete with telephoto and close up lens in my car to local world heritage site when mist is just right and take a group of images which I can then test with my own software to see what the finished image will look like.

How ever the 16 year old has no car so no way to get to heritage site and is lucky to own a compact plus no way to practice with software so have no way to produce the same results as me. So the presentation is so important to them and not sure if to say anything helps or hinders.

Images like this
need one to have good equipment including tripod, camera able to take RAW bracket images and good software to process it. I think it unlikely although they are better than me that they have the resources to take that type of image. So should I just shut up and allow them to improve their images with good quality mounts?
On talking to the lecturer he has now said there is no need to buy his mounts but those who do not conform will not have their work displayed at end of year.

It seems he also has a problem with the single ink jet printer set-up since it is required that students print out their own work. With 20+ students all needing at least 4 prints and likely all will want to print in the last hour or so of the exam the printer will need to print (allowing for students to insert and remove their memory stick and put in their own paper) a sheet every 30 seconds.

The printer takes around 2 to 3 minuets a sheet and is clearly not up to the job. It has been pointed out to the lecturer the course is "Digital Photography" and to display the pictures in a digital format does not require printing. So the whole idea of printing may be abandoned anyway! What is unclear is exactly what the examination board requires. So we all are now waiting for an answer.
If he is insisting on print-outs, sounds like the lecturer is still learning digital photography himself!

A lot of university courses these days have online submission, where coursework can be submitted via a private website or e-mail. Surely if he wants hardcopies they could at least let you submit your work digitally, and print it out in slower time (i.e. the hours after the exam).

On a side note, has anyone met someone who bought a D-SLR camera and read the manual? :LOL: I've played with a couple, then I ask the owner how to do something basic and they don't know... they just point and shoot as they would with a £50 compact camera :LOL:
Well I do refer to manual but reading from cover to cover I suppose I did once. There are so many options it becomes impossible to remember them all.

Three weeks ago all in the class went to try their hand at high dynamic range so how doe's one set camera?

1) Need to select bracketing with 2 stops over and under and select 3 or 5 shots.
2) Aperture needs to be same for all three shots so Av is selected.
3) Focus also needs to stay the same so AF.S is selected.

Now with a mixture of Canon, Nikon and my Pentax plus a number of compacts try getting a class to set just those three settings.

Oh and yes some cameras can't take RAW so what bracketing is required for Jpeg? Likely 1.5 stops.

If there were any high end cameras then may be 3 to 4 stops would be in order although don't think any students in my class are likely to have a Hasselblad!

The poor guy (lecturer) was trying to explain relationship between aperture and speed. Most of it seemed to be falling on stony ground. He was trying to explain aperture priority v speed priority and was surprised when I said how my Pentax had aperture and speed priority and camera adjusts the sensitivity of the CCD that seemed to completely baffle rest of class. Of course until the digital age that was an impossible concept.

Once one moves onto the software even the lecturer gets caught out. I knew one could combine images to improve depth of field but lecturer did not know Photoshop CS4 could do this and I hadn't got the instructional video to hand.

And so many ways to get to same point. But back in 1980's when I got my first SLR I was upgrading from a camera where I needed a hand held light meter and was so impressed with the aperture priority meter built into the camera. However I lost the ability to keep buildings straight. The old plate camera had adjustments on the bellows to lift lens up and down and side to side so buildings had parallel sides. Now of course we can do all that with software. Gone are the days of frosted glass plate and cover over ones head to adjust the camera first. I was lucky mine took a massive 12 exposure cassette. Using plates must have been real pain? And when one thinks what 12 exposures cost there was no way you wanted to waste one. It was 1970's before I had first colour camera. It was my pride and joy. And by 1981 the 110 compact was all the rage and my collages laughed at me with massive SLR which was about half the size of one I use now.

Having lived through the paper and slide age I was surprised that the exam board still wanted paper. Last exam I took was on a computer tick the box and within 15 minutes of end of exam I was given results although certificate took longer.

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