Thursday, 17 July 2014

from PhD to grade 1

I survived the first week and a half of my on-line graphic design course - survived being the key word here, because it was very fraught. Although I was excited to get going I stalled early on - getting used to on-line learning systems, negotiating the course structure - not to mention having to go right back to square one and start a drawing unit at beginner level. I had to suffer the indignity of redoing one exercise because my 'blind contour' drawings were too accurate, which meant I must have been peeking! Add to that the trauma of losing our internet connection towards the end of the week which meant I was unable to log on at will and watch videos at home. I have been going to the local TAFE every day this week so I can keep working. Through some clever 'hotspotting' via my partner's phone, I uploaded the first submission with 1 minute 46 seconds to spare last Sunday (which just happened to be my birthday). Phew! Our connection was only re-established yesterday after 6 days - how did we ever live without the internet?

I am very relieved I opted for part time (2 units) which is supposed to amount to 10 hours a week study, however the 4-6 hours a week for video tutorials in one unit alone only covers watching them. It's not enough time to take substantive notes and apply the knowledge. Although we don't need to submit anything for 4 weeks I can't see the point in passively watching videos - the information goes in and straight out - so I am taking notes and doing the exercises along with the cyber-tutor. I feel I may be at a slight disadvantage because younger minds will retain information more readily and I will probably have to work harder in the beginning. I am hoping my knowledge of design elements and principles will give me a huge advantage later on when I have learnt the software and can begin to enjoy creating some nice work.

The design software is one thing, but I have been drawing for 40 years. I could have got recognition for prior learning, but that is almost as much work as doing the entire unit. I also think it is good to get back to the core of things, and being humbled is very good for one's ego. The mission last week was simply to get through the material. My performance was adequate but I am reminding myself that although I have a PhD, and possibly the most to 'lose' here, this is not a competition and there is always much to be gained no matter where you sit on the academic ladder. Design is a new area for me so I am happy to be guided by what I think are very good tutors at the design school. I have placed myself in their capable hands.

The drawing above is the final in a series of exercises for the first week - a simple line drawing of a still-life.