Free online course on scientific image making

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Free online course on scientific image making

MIT’s Felice Frankel has put together a
fantastic free online course called Making Science and Engineering Pictures.
The great thing about it is it’s practical: actual image making using things
like smartphones and flatbed scanners.

There will be a little bit of pontificating sprinkled about the course, however. Some of it from me… I’ll be participating in a live Q&A webcast from the MIT campus on Tues 21 July 2015 at 3pm EDT.

Why am I participating? Because image making is a key part of the scientific process. Take this cover story as an example. (Image below.) Because this lab had the technical expertise to document their research using high speed photography, they not only landed the cover of Nature, but also better communicated their findings to a variety of audiences.

Here is the course  description from the EdX site:

Learn from an award-winning master
photographer how to create stunning images of science and engineering.

In this six-week course, you will learn
the basics of photography and gain intriguing new perspectives on the visual
world. The course will include video tutorials, accompanied by photography
assignments. Learners will upload their images to small, online working groups
for discussion and review. You will discover how subtle changes in lighting,
composition, and background contribute to creating more compelling images that
help communicate science visually. The course also includes interviews with
noteable image makers and art directors.

While previous experience with a camera will be helpful, it is not essential.
In order to complete the course assignments, you will need access to a
single-lens reflex camera (a camera that can accept interchangeable lenses), a
105 macro lens, a flatbed scanner, and a smartphone or tablet with camera.
Learners without access to this equipment can still benefit from the course
concepts. However, full participation in the image making assignments will
create more meaningful hands-on experience.

What you’ll learn:

How to see your images from new and varied perspectives

Methods and techniques that improve the quality of your images

Visual critical thinking skills

How to use a range of image making devices (scanners, cameras, smart phones,

How to enhance grant and journal submissions with powerful images

How to evaluate what makes an effective image


-Kelly Krause

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