The photography site for sore eyes. With extra writing because I'm also a writer.
There are those on this course, not least the lecturers, who are not happy with its organisation.The Virtual Learning Environment for our photography MA is quite a funky little thing if you ignore all the broken links. You get all your assignment information, reading guides and timetables in one place, plus all the news from the students studying in China. And that’s part of the problem. The course is run by a British man called Dave Clarke who lives in Dalian where the course is run simultaneously with Bolton’s. Why is that? Well, I’ve only heard in whispers that it’s because Clark likes living there. Other than that, there’s no reason for the link. Problem is there has been several communication problems. This culminated in a rather heated debate in Bolton’s main lecture theatre on the Chadwick Campus last Thursday (March 15) because our most recent assignment, number 7, was totally cocked-up. There were two different tasks (see assignment 7 notes). It has become increasingly obvious over recent weeks that both Ian Beesley and his assistant Terry Speake are very disillusioned with the management issues between here and Dalian. They have tried to hide it from us, Ian even advising some students against emailing Clarke directly, but when half the seminar is spent ironing out confusion over course direction, frustrations come to the fore. One of the students even revealed he had considered turning down the invitation to join the course because of the feedback he got from other academics within the industry. ‘It’s getting better,’ said Ian, ‘last year was a nightmare, now it’s just a bad dream.’ Personally I couldn’t give a toss what problems they’re having between here and China. There are a few little problems but the course is run well in Bolton, perhaps it should be run entirely from Bolton. However, if the students in Bolton is being told or emailed one thing, while the VLE postings say something entirely different it is not good. The students carry out the wrong assignments, the lectures look clueless. I feel Ian is desperate not to antagonise Clarke, but how long he will diplomatically put up with these kinds of problems as a self-confessed tell-it-like-it-is man I don’t know. Should I be writing this now? Well, as a firm believer that blogs are nothing more than never read diaries, I don’t think it’ll make any difference. Nobody knows about this bog on my course. It is written as a diary which could possibly be read by a prospective student on the course. That’s the only value I see in it; showing what goes on. It could give them something to talk about when they meet Ian for their application interview. One thing I will say is I’m loving the course, I’m sure others will too. If Dave Clarke should read this, I don’t think he’ll have too much cause for complaint.* I’m sure he’s aware of the complaints already. We’ll see if I get pulled up about it. If I do I’ll say: ‘Freedom of speech, tell it like it is’. Much like Ian Beesley. *If you do complain, please me reference using the Harvard citation system.