Sunday, February 14, 2016

Visual Literacy

The Museum of Modern Art is conducting a free on line course about understanding and talking about photographs, Seeing Through Photographs.  The six session course uses the well-developed Coursera on line learning platform.  Even highly skilled photographers often encounter difficulties in bridging the gap between vision and language.  It seems like this course has a lot of potential, both for creators and consumers of photographic imagery.  There is also the possibility that the quality of on line conversations about photography on blogs and web sites might be significantly elevated if enough people join in this learning opportunity.  There is an article about the new MOMA course at the PetaPixel site.


Jim Grey said...

Thanks for this! I'm going to take the course.

Mike said...

I'll look forward to seeing what you think of it.
I've done a couple Coursera courses on economics and linguistics which were very well put together with video lectures, interviews, readings, forums, and helpful quiz exercises. I'm not expecting that the MoMA course will be up to those university-based efforts, but I think it can still be worthwhile. The effort the student invests is usually the biggest factor, I think.

Mike said...

I've completed the first three weekly lessons. I've read only the required items and completed the quizzes. It is a disappointing course in comparison to others I have taken on Coursera. The course seems to have been put together by someone with little or no experience with on line teaching and learning. It really seems like an institution of such importance to photography should have been able to assemble a team with some expertise in on line learning as well as familiarity with the subject.
The readings and video presentations seem rather randomly selected. The discussion forums are completely unorganized and unmoderated. The idea that anyone would be willing to pay a fee for a certificate of completion for the course seems unlikely.
The complete list of required and optional readings is pretty extensive, and it might be a basis for achieving some familiarity with the history of photography. It does not seem like the structure and content of the course would be of much help to someone wanting to develop critical and expressive writing skills.

Mike said...

An alternative to the MoMA course is available in the NO CAPTION NEEDED blog and book. I was reminded of this by the Feb.19 post which comments on some of the top pictures in the massive 2016 World Press Photo Awards competition. Robert Hariman and John Louis Lucaites consistently provide insightful commentary on the use and meaning of photography in journalism.