Expansion of the Online Learning Tools for Photography Students
Fellows: Christy Karpinski and Krista Wortendyke
Our overall goal has been to increase our students’ understanding of the department’s technical and visual core learning objectives by not only expanding on our Exposure Toolkit and adding additional resources, but also by creating a stand- alone website linked to the department’s site to house our expansions. This website has been designed not just for Columbia students, but also for a global audience interested in learning photography skills.
With the creation of a website called the “Photo Lounge”, we aimed to continue to aide our students in learning both in the classroom and from home. The site includes the Exposure Toolkit, a showcase of student work, a comprehensive list of photographers searchable by style and subject matter, online quizzes for Foundations classes, a glossary of common photography terms, links to key departmental resources and social media and video tutorials.
Using Google Analytics we have been able to determine that our site was visited by 1200 unique visitors with most visits in early to mid-september and then again late october into early november. This seems to coincide with the beginning of the semester when the tools would be used in class and shown to students and with midterms where students would be looking up photographers for projects and presentations.
From the analytics we can also see that visitors are coming from all over the world, the majority from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom but also from Australia, Mexico, Italy, France and China. We have about 75 visits from the Austin Independent School District which is interesting. There were bout 60 visits using Columbia’s server which may mean students are accessing the site from off campus more than on campus.
At the end of the Fall 2011 semester we will be conducting an email survey to get feedback from students and faculty about the usage of the site. We will use this information to find ways to increase and promote the site. In the Spring 2012 semester we will do a usability test to see how we can improve the layout or design of the site for easier use.
Currently our site is hosted on a work.colum.edu location. We hope to find it a permanent server location and get the url “www.cccphotolounge.com”. The site will continue to be redirected to the url by putting “photolounge” after colum.edu/ in a browser.
We have plans to continue to add tools to the site eventually including sections for digital classes and more.