History of Still Photo

PHOT 530 Online • Mt. San Jacinto College

Michelle Pacansky-Brock

This is a late-start fully online course that begins on October 17, 2022.

Please view this 2-minute video to get started.

Welcome! I'm Michelle Pacansky-Brock and I will be your online instructor for the History of Still Photography. Please take 2-minutes to view my video and learn a little about me. And then explore the rest of this page to get prepared for week one.

I'll see you online!


Pronouns: she/her/hers
You are welcome to call me Michelle or Professor Pacansky-Brock.

How This Course Works

  • This is an 8-week, late start fully online course that begins on October 17, 2022.

  • This class does not meet in Zoom. Your learning will be conducted asynchronously (which means "not live") in Canvas.

  • There is no required textbook. All of your required readings will be included in our course modules in Canvas.

  • You will learn in a community with your peers. This is not a self-paced course. You will interact with your peers throughout each of our weekly modules.

  • MSJC Official Check In. By Wednesday of Week 1, you will need to complete the official check-in to remain enrolled in our course. To do so, log-in to our course in Canvas and complete the Getting to Know You Survey. This will signal your intent to stay enrolled.

  • This class is organized into one-week modules that open each Tuesday morning.

  • Each module contains readings and videos, a study guide, a quiz, and collaborative activities including voice discussions and image-curation assignments in VoiceThread.

If you're on a computer right now, pick up your phone and scan this QR code to go to this site. Then bookmark it on your homescreen for easy access. More pages will be published after or course begins.

My Commitment to You

I recognize that this is an especially stressful time to be a student. COVID-19 has added significant stress and trauma to all of our lives, some more than others. While racial injustice is not new in our country, it is more visible. Our lives feel heavier and, in turn, you are coping with a lot more than you might even realize. These stressors may affect your ability to process information and manage your learning. Give yourself grace as you try your best. I will be flexible throughout this course to support you towards your academic success. I believe in you and I'm in this with you!

View this video to hear advice my past students have left for you.

My Teaching Philosophy

I believe everyone is capable of learning and the differences each person brings into a course enrich the learning of the group. Each person learns at a unique rhythm, which is precisely why I love online classes! Unlike a live classroom, asynchronous (delayed) online environments, like ours, provide you with the luxury of thinking and reflecting before you engage. They create a seat at the table for everyone. They also enable us to use the world as our classroom. I design my courses to showcase and celebrate the diversity of the members of our learning community and to encourage each of student to connect our course content to their own life.

Our Pact

What you can expect from me:

  1. I will treat you with dignity and respect and be flexible to support your individual needs.

  2. I will provide you with a clear, organized course that is designed to ensure you meet our course outcomes in a meaningful manner.

  3. I will provide a variety of assignments to ensure your learning needs are met.

  4. I will be actively present in your learning.

  5. I will provide a supportive and safe environment for you to share and discuss ideas with your peers.

  6. I will reach out to you when I sense that you need support.

  7. I won't be perfect. I am human and will make mistakes at times. I will view mistakes as an opportunity to learn and grow.

  8. Is there anything else you would like to add to this list? If so, you will have the opportunity to make a suggestion in our Orientation module.

What I will expect from you:

  1. You will treat me and your peers with dignity and respect.

  2. You will strive to be an active participant in this course and aim to meet due dates.

  3. You will maintain an open line of communication with me so I understand how to support you.

  4. You will contact me if you have a concern with meeting a due date.

  5. You will strive to regularly contribute to collaborative activities to ensure other members of the community have ample opportunity to read/listen, reflect, and respond to your ideas.

  6. You will do your best to have patience with technology. There will be hiccups, expect them. We will get through them together.

  7. You will give yourself grace. Expect to make mistakes. You are human and mistakes are part of learning and growing.

  8. Is there anything else you would like to add to this list? If so, you will have the opportunity to make a suggestion in our Orientation module.

Equity Statement

Everyone is welcome here and everyone can learn and do well in this class. I have done my best to remove the guesswork from your learning and make it memorable for you. I will invite you to share your own histories and experiences with photography and build upon that knowledge.

In this class, all of us will share about our lives (including me). Through this sharing, we will build trust with one another and learn from our differences. This is a brave space. We are not here to be perfect. We will make mistakes. We are here to learn.

Week 1 Success Kit

Online courses move quickly and getting off to a good start is the best way to prepare yourself for success. Read this page carefully and you'll have all you need to start this course on the right foot.

Week 1 Suggested Success Plan - you got this! Tuesday: Log-in, view the video on the homepage, and click Start Here to begin the Orientation module. Wednesday: Due - Getting to Know You Survey (MSJC Check-in). Thursday: Review the Week 1 Dedications VoiceThread assignment. Friday: Week 1 Dedications VoiceThread. Saturday and Sunday: Finish reading the pages included in the Orientation module. Or take a break if you've already completed it! Monday: Orientation Quiz , My Favorite Photo Replies, and Pick Your Grade Bundle are due.

Due Dates for Week One

Wed, October 19 at 11:59pm PT

    • Sign Up to attend a 10-minute Zoom Check-In In our Orientation Module, you'll find a list of Zoom Check-in dates. Select one and sign up to attend. You'll meet me and a few classmates. It will be quick, painless, and it will make all of us feel better ... I promise. :) You may attend from a phone or computer. A webcam is warmly encouraged and appreciated, but not required.

    • Complete the Getting To Know You Survey. This is our "check-in" assignment and an opportunity for me to get acquainted with you. Your responses come directly to me, will be kept confidential, and I will use them to support you in this course. By completing this assignment, you signal your intent to complete this course. If you do not complete this assignment on time, you will receive a message from me and your spot in our course may be given to a student on my waitlist if you do not respond. This is an institutional policy for all MSJC online courses to ensure active students receive the courses they need.

    • Agree to our Pact (Canvas Discussion)

Friday, October 21 at 11:59pm PM PT

    • Complete the VoiceThread assignment: My Favorite Photograph. This assignment is simple, fun, and will help us get to know each other. Your task is to select one photograph that you love. It can be any photograph and there are no wrong answers here. You will upload it into VoiceThread and leave a voice or video comment that introduces yourself and shares why you chose it.

    • This assignment can be done on a computer or on a mobile device, provided you have downloaded the Canvas Student app and the VoiceThread mobile app (don't make a VoiceThread account, you do not need one).

Monday, October 24 at 11:59pm PT

    • Submit the Submit the Orientation Quiz.*

    • Submit Pick Your Grade Bundle assignment. We are using a non-traditional grading approach in this class designed to take the guesswork out of grading and put you in charge of your course grade. You'll learn more in our orientation module.

    • Two replies due: Week 1 My Favorite Photograph assignment. Reply to two peers' comments that inspire you.

Success Tip! Get started on the hands-on activity: Create a Camera Obscura - due at the end of Week 2.

Michelle's 7 Tips for Success

I design my class to ensure that all students can succeed. I believe in you!

You'll have more opportunities to be successful if you follow these tips:

  1. Be proactive.

    • Make it a goal to log into our course every Tuesday to preview the new module. Carefully read the Module Overview page, which includes the week's learning objectives and a list of your assignments. Assess the workload and put the due dates on your calendar. Having a mental picture of what's ahead and a plan to achieve it is the best thing you can do to prepare each week.

  2. Each time you log in, start on our course Home page.

    • I will change the homepage weekly. It will also guide you to our current module and provide you with tips for success. You'll also find the two most recent announcements from me at the top of the home page.

  3. Download the study guide in each module.

    • The study guide is your friend! Use it as you complete the readings/videos. It will support your success on the module quiz.

  4. Plan to submit early.

    • I know, this one is hard because there is so much uncertainty right now. Set a personal goal for yourself to have all of your assignments done by 24 hours before they are due. Why? Because life happens and when you wait until the last minute, you're more likely to have problems meeting a due date. I am here to support you when things go awry but procrastination will always be your worst enemy.

  5. Communicate with me.

    • To me, teaching online can feel like teaching in the dark. I need you to let me know what's happening on your end. If you identify a challenge meeting a due date, just reach out and let me know. I am grateful for your efforts to inform me. Really! I love hearing from you! I understand these are difficult times and I'm here to support you. When possible, contacting me before a due date will keep you and I in sync and ensure you don't get overwhelmed by unfinished work. In your message, propose an alternative due date (within 48 hours is advised to ensure you don't fall too far behind).

  6. Use the Canvas To-Do List and Calendar to track and stay current on your assignments.

    • They are so helpful! If you're on a computer, you'll find all of these goodies on the right side of our homepage. If you're on a phone using the Canvas student app, you'll find them at the bottom of your screen.

How to Get Your Questions Answered

Need individual help or guidance with our class?

I am here for you! I prefer that you contact me through the Canvas inbox. But you can also reach me at mbrock@msjc.edu.

  • If you contact me Monday-Friday, I will respond within 24 hours (usually much sooner). I will also reply during the weekends but I might be slower.

  • I'm happy to arrange times to meet individually in Zoom or call you directly via phone if that's preferred. Just let me know!

Have a general course-related question?

Use the Student Lounge Discussion.

  • If you have a general question about the course, I invite you to ask it in the Student Lounge. Your question will be seen by your peers and if anyone has the answer -- by all means, answer it!

    • To find the Student Lounge, click on the link on our homepage or click on Discussions in our course menu.

  • If your question is personal in nature, please send it directly to me through the Canvas inbox.

Need assistance/help that is not specific to our course?

Visit MSJC's Student Hub.

  • Getting help is a sign of your commitment to caring for yourself and doing your very best work. The Student Hub is your simple, one-stop resource to get your questions answered. Pop into Zoom and connect with a helpful college representative or find a link on the hub webpage to financial aid, academic and crisis counseling, tutoring, library services, and more!