January 3, 2011

NYIP Unit One, Lesson One

I got my first box of lessons for the NYIP course - Unit 1 contained:
  1. 5 audio-lesson CDs
  2. 4 lesson books, 30 - 70 pages each, beautifully illustrated, easy to read print
  3. 1 DVD for Live Action Training
  4. 1 66-page booklet on Freelance Opportunities
  5. 1 CD on Freelance Opportunities and the Business of Photography
  6. 1 large slipcase (black cardboard box) for storing all your printed lessons neatly on a bookshelf 
  7. 1 matching, smaller slipcase for storing the CDs and DVDs
  8. Envelope for submitting projects, with photo log sheet
  9. 1 CD entitled NYI Insider Guides - How to Enter and Win Contests
  10. 1 gray card (at least a $5-$10 retail value)
I didn't keep track of what I got when so I'm not sure if # 9 and # 10 came in the Unit 1 box or one of the other packets I've received, but the main thing is, I got them.  I'm supposed to get my next box in about 30 days, but since I've paid for them I can request that they be sent sooner.

I started Lesson 1 on 1/1/11 which seemed fitting.  It took me a while to figure out what I was supposed to do first, but later I found the instructions in the Welcome Letter that came in the box.  So Lesson 1 - read everything carefully.

First, you listen to the CDs.  I was afraid the audio would put me to sleep, but they are quite interesting so far.  There were moments when my mind wandered off by itself, but these were short and infrequent and their voices were NOT monotonous.   There were a few times when one or the other of the ladies didn't seem close enough to the microphone.

Lesson 1 begins with the director and two of the instructors introducing the course and themselves.  It was very much a conversation, not a lecture, and while the introductions may have been longer than absolutely necessary, they did give me a good sense of their perspective and experiences with photography. 

The format of the lesson (and apparently all lessons) is that after the instructors talk awhile, you read a few pages from the lesson booklet then go back to the audio for another conversation then read a little book and so on and so on.  There was an interesting exercise in the middle of the lesson to help you begin to learn to look at photographs as a professional photographer would and to help you begin to recognize photographic opportunities.   Lesson 1 was covered in 1 3/4 CDs and took at least 3 hours (spread over 2 days). 

So far I'm pleased.  I wish that the different lessons were all on their own CDs, but that's a small inconvenience and would probably add to the cost of the course.   The other lessons in Unit 1 appear shorter - at least as far as the audio goes.  There may be more reading and exercises so the total time may be greater (or shorter).

The instructors did occasionally use a technical term in discussing the pictures, but they would stop and acknowledge that the student might not be familiar with the term so they would briefly explain it, adding that future lessons would be more detailed and promising that we'd have a better understanding of the technical terms by the end of the course.  I find this introduction of the terms in context helpful.

I took notes as they talked as I find this helps me concentrate on what is being said.  I rarely had problems keeping up with the conversation while writing, but I did have to scribble fast enough that I probably can't read some of the notes later.  That wasn't the intent of my note-taking for this course.  I bring this up because for the last web-based course I took, the instructor recommended taking notes, but then talked so fast that I had to "re-wind" over and over to catch what she was saying and had to pause frequently to write the notes legibly.  By the way, that software training course cost $500 (paid for by my company, thank goodness!), was completed in less than a month, had only summarized written material which I had to print at my own cost, and was just a detailed overview of the software, not an in-depth course that gave me enough information and practice to feel comfortable using the product.

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