[Bf-education] Re: Standard course material for blender

Luis Belerique luis.belerique at gmail.com
Wed Apr 12 11:13:31 CEST 2006

Hi everybody,

Glen, your proposal for remaking the Blender manual is great, a nice way to
keep it all clean.
I like specially the idea of a "Theory and Concepts" volume, it would be
awesome because it´s beyond a specific software, and i also think this would
atract even more people to Blender, once they figured the "why" and would
step in for the "how to do it" in Blender.

I was thinking how to translate these ideas to a standard course in Blender:
in each section there would be a theory section (linking to the apropriate
chapter in the apropriate volume) and a practice section (having several
exercises/tutorials or linking to relevant pages in the wiki).

About your ideas concerning the level of the course, in part i agree with
you, it´s better to teach them in detail the most important tools.
But the course i´m going to teach is 45 hours long and for this first course
in particular i can´t change the number of hours, and my idea was to
introduce people to Blender, making them used to the interface and learning
the most important features, and then, in a second level course go deeper in
detail with more demanding exercises.

For example, a person can learn how to use an armature with a couple of
bones and a cylinder, and in an advanced course, pushing it by making a
rigged character...

I can be wrong, after all i never taught Blender, that´s why your experience
is very important for me ;).
But you gave me some ideas, for example, teaching about lighting before
materials or focusing some more in modelling and less in the "special"
functions like softbodies or particles...

Just a question, Glen, how long is your workshop in Blender?

Thanks for the input!

Luís Belerique

On 4/11/06, Glen Moyes <metsys at icubenetwork.com> wrote:
> I've thought a lot about how we can better teach users how to use
> Blender and instructors on how to teach, and not have to rewrite
> everything when a new feature comes out. For those that are new, you
> might want to look at my proposal for restructuring the documentation:
> http://mediawiki.blender.org/index.php/User:Metsys/Reconstructing_the_Blender_Manual
> In short, we add a Theory volume; a page that describes that chapter in
> the users manual in plain English so they understand the concept behind
> a feature in Blender before they are taught how to do it in the software
> (the Manual volume).
> I've been teaching Blender workshops to college students for almost a
> year now, and I've found that it is best to spend an hour or so teaching
> the concepts first, and then teach how to do it in the software. They
> need to understand why they are doing something a certain way. Right now
> the documentation is just "how to do something in the software" and not
> so much the theory behind modeling (sketching, preparation, topology,
> edge loops, etc.). So if we simply add a link to a "theory and concepts"
> page for each chapter, then users can learn better, and teachers can use
> that information to teach. If we want to add another volume in a chapter
> for instructions on how instructors should teach a subject, like
> information on what methods you should use, and what concepts most
> students have troubles with, then we can add that.
> The idea is to make a universal manual with enough information for
> people completely new to 3D, existing users, power users, and
> instructors to get the information they want. All the pages will be in
> there, but depending on the purpose of your visit to the Blender Wiki,
> when you go through a chapter, you just don't read the other pages that
> are linked to if you are not interested in it. A power user will just
> read the Manual volume on a chapter, just to refresh their memory. A new
> user will read the Theory and Manual volumes, and possibly the Text
> Tutorial and Video Tutorial volumes if it still doesn't sink in.
> Instructors will read the Teaching, Theory and Manual volumes. So, users
> decide what sections they need to read. That way if a feature changes,
> you only rewrite the Manual volume, because none of the other volumes
> (Teaching, Theory) will have information on how a function works.
> I hope that makes sense. I'll probably do a full write up with pictures
> and stuff to better get the point across, but this is a solution to the
> problem, and won't require anyone to complete rewrite anything, just add
> a link to the other volumes that talk about that same chapter.
> As far as the "level of the course," as in beginner or advanced, I don't
> really think there should be a difference in the way you teach a
> subject, or how much detail you get into. If you are going to teach
> modeling, teach them all the modeling tools. The difference between a
> beginner and advanced modeler is in how well they understand good
> topology. But I would consider some things to be advanced features, like
> particle effects, soft bodies, fluid simulation, etc. That is why I
> don't teach those kinds of features in my workshops anymore. I'll teach
> them modeling until they know everything that a pro Blender user would
> know about the software, and then move on. Take it slow and steady. I
> wouldn't just go over basics of modeling, then just go over basics of
> animation, and then just go over basics of ... and then go back to
> teaching modeling again to fill in all the things you missed that are
> essential to know if someone wants to be a good modeler.
> - Glen Moyes
> Luis Belerique wrote:
> >
> > Hello Gerhard,
> >
> > I agree that we should use text of the user´s manual, after all the best
> way
> > to keep it standard os using the official documentation, but shouldn´t
> we
> > adapt it somewhat to the level of the course?
> > I'm saying this because i'm thinking of actually making two courses, the
> > basic and a more advanced one in the future, but you probably are
> thinking
> > the same way...
> >
> > I think i understand your question, but i don´t know another way than
> the
> > hard way, that is, when the user manual is updated, "putting" the new
> info
> > manually and adapt it in the course material.
> > I suppose you're referring to this, no?
> >
> >
> >
> > On 4/9/06, Gerhard Just Olsen <cinmay at onlineblendereducation.com> wrote:
> >
> >> Cooperating with the blender user manual.
> >>
> >> How can we best cooperate the effort of creating the standard course
> >> material
> >> with the blender user manual?
> >>
> >> I'm currently working on the introduction to the course and I was
> thinking
> >> that we can reuse a lot if not all of the text from the blender user
> >> manual
> >> introduction.
> >> What is the best way of doing this without creating duplicate
> information
> >> that
> >> is hard to maintain?
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