Workbook FAQ

Preface: I created the workbook because my students were not learning much by just reading assignments in a technical book and attending lectures. For the most part, they were remembering only about 10% of the material they needed to know.

How have you incorporated the workbook into your classes?

My classes met either 3 hours, 2 times per week for 16 weeks or 10 hours per week for an 8 week summer session. The schedule on p. 35 of Workbook for Black and White Photography indicates the chapter we covered in each class. Sometimes each student would answer a question as I called their name for attendance. This usually took less than one hour and assured me that they were all familiar with the material and had an opportunity to ask questions.

Have you required students to answer all the questions?

Yes. The workbook covers the essential information and it’s important for students to answer all questions. Also when I saw the value of writing across the curriculum programs for students I reframed questions to be answered in writing instead of by true or false choices.

How have you graded the workbooks?

I required students to complete the workbook to pass. I used the workbook to pinpoint where students were having trouble (like the f/stop and speed equivalences). For the most part students were honest and did the work on their own. It seemed that they learned more by correcting their own book during the discussion. I would collect and look at their workbooks periodically and write a general comment like "good job" or "lots more to do."

Have students been required to finish each chapter in a certain amount of time?

I had the students turn in the workbook at mid-semester and at the end of the semester.  Teaching and parenting is a great balancing act of too many requirements and too few.

Have you given students tests based on the textbook?

Yes, I gave mid-semester and final tests based on the workbook.

Compared to true and false or multiple choice, many of the questions require thoughtful answers and I’ve found it difficult to decipher whether students are getting it, not to mention penmanship.

I wanted to help students to improve their reading and reasoning skills. Meeting with small groups to discuss their answers may also encourage them to help each other with difficult concepts.

Most important is that the key to learning to photograph is to practice ... practice making pictures and practice looking critically at pictures. The reason for assignments is to provide a concept for the students to have in mind while they are taking pictures. Assignments also reinforce what they are reading. But make sure that the class is fun for you and the students. Nobody likes drudgery!

I like to remind students of my favorite art quote by William Blake, “Without unceasing practice nothing can be done. Practice is art. If you leave off you are lost.”

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