I am very pleased with the feedback I received from Garry on Assignment 2. I put quite a bit of effort into the work and had taken time to do additional reading and incorporate it into my writing.
My tutor’s comments lead me to believe that I am on the right track and he had no major corrections to offer. Instead, his suggested additional readings are meant to help me tease out more nuances around structuralist and postmodern thinking which will be useful as tools for analysis and interpretation as I continue my work in the program. I have taken the time to read and reflect carefully on them and have written up my learning and thoughts below. I can see quite clearly how the readings help to clarify the ‘binary oppositions’ I had identified in the opening paragraphs of the novel I chose, and how the choice and presentation of the oppositions/pairs may be unequally weighted in terms of values or ideology. In addition, what appears to be straight “description,” whether in a work of written or visual documentation, is usually nothing of the kind. The technology employed (publishing or camera, for example) has its own embedded ‘codes’ that may not be explicit and many choices have been made in terms of viewpoint and ‘language.’ The able interpreter has to be aware of these influences and consider their impact on the creation and reception of the work.
I was also pleased to be able to make connections with some of the theory (particularly rhetoric and structuralism) that was familiar to me from my studies in literature and theology. I look forward to being able to pursue them further in the program, especially work done by Barthes and others in the area of visual rhetoric.
I find that I am gaining confidence in the OCA approach to education. It’s not yet completely second nature to do everything remotely—especially from Canada, rather than the UK—but the materials are good, the feedback is helpful and the chance to be more self-directed in my study is welcome. I am beginning to think about the choices for my second course in the program and, at this point, expect that I will opt to do the photography course (Photography 1: Expressing Your Vision) next rather than the one on writing (Writing 1: Writing Skills). There are a couple of reasons for this: 1) I’d like to get into something a little more visual next (although Module 4 of Creative Arts Today is on photography and will allow me to test my interest a bit); and 2) I’ve still not decided whether to follow the Creative Arts program (writing and photography) or the Photography program (photography alone). Studying CAT and then EYV in that order allows me to delay my decision about program direction until after I’ve been able to give the photography component a good shake.
All in all, I’m happy with the way things are shaping up and have begun work on Module 3. I would, nevertheless, like to pick up the pace and will look at ways to do this.