Photographic Sciences Capstone Class – Fall 2016

Teaching continues to be a fascinating challenge and something I derive great joy from. For more than 3o years, I have continued to try new things in my classes with the ultimate goal of pushing students to grow and discover who they are, and where they want to go in life. I believe in experiential learning and create classroom activities that foster curiosity about the world of photography and technology and science.

This semester (August 2016) I am teaching a new course, PHPS 401. I have spent the last few weeks developing the course’s syllabus and my mission. I think it will be fun and a lot of work for me and them  :).

Course overview 
This course is the first of a two-course sequence designed for students who will begin to work on a major year- long project. The subject of the project may relate to any aspect from the photographic sciences curriculum however it does not have to be limited to traditional subjects such as photomicrography, image testing and quality, ophthalmic imaging, or color management or measurement.

In this course, students will conceive and design a long-term project or experiment, including researching the subject, writing a proposal that shares a complete description of the work, discussed the goals of the project, shares the production timeline, project resources, and funding sources (if necessary). Students will thoroughly research the subject before starting the work needed to construct and refine the project’s proposal. The program’s faculty and invited guests will share ideas and their research achievements in the class to assist students in selecting a mentor. Drawing from the program’s faculty, they will identify and propose the selection of a faculty advisor needed to build the project for the Capstone II PHPS-402 taught in the spring.

The fall class will focus on self-directed goal setting, writing, project planning, and sharing in-progress reports of work in the form of casual but professional presentations.

The first assignment  was to write a 200 or less biography using the first person voice. I am hoping in all the classroom exercises students will become more aware of themselves and the skills that they can bring to their career and communities they live. We will take only one step at a time on this journey of identifying personality traits and ways to describe strengths and skills.

Another new assignment will provide a small research component but more importantly provide a public speaking opportunity. Each member of the class will share “a picture of the week”. This exercise has been added to improve confidence in front of peers, to perform some low level but interesting research about imaging and image makers, and to simply enjoy photography.

I came up with the idea after reading about Adam Summers work. Summers is  a professor of biology who has embarked on a life long project to make CT scans of all the world’s fishes.

Summers is quite well known for another body of work that he has been creating for decades where he clears the soft tissue from the skeletons of the fish and then stains and counterstains. His images are nothing short of remarkable. They are such a blend of science that can become something else.

Share below is an example of Professor Summer’s extraordinary scientific photographs.

This image of the butterfly ray (Gymnura crebripunctata) helped scientists study the joints in its wings. Photograph by Adam Summers

To learn more about Dr Summers, you can follow this link. 




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