Pilot case

Photography online course for scientists

An introductory course of the basic of photography and lighting for photographing research samples, objects and record the research processes.
An abstract decorative pilot banner image.

Pilot leader

Valeriya Azovskaya
Tiina Puputti


Other, School of Arts Design and Architecture, School of Chemical Engineering, School of Electrical Engineering, School of Engineering, School of Science


Aug 2020 – Dec 2020


This course introduces the basics of photography and lighting for photographing research samples, objects and record the research processes. On top of that course builds up framework for the peer support, feedback and knowledge exchange.

The course is suitable for anyone in Aalto University and aiming to develop photography skills and give a better understanding of how important visual components are for research communication.

The course consists of recorded lectures about photography basics as well as practical demonstrations of photographing material samples. On top of that we provide guidelines that will help anyone to follow the course and practise their photography skills immediately, keeping in mind the specifics of their research.

The course goal is to provide Aalto members (more specifically: materials researchers) a clear ‘how-to’ guide for creating your own, unique visual photo-library for scientific and communication purposes and to develop their professional skills in photography.

Platforms and tools

Panopto for video sharing, MyCourses, Aalto Wiki for contextual information, quizzes, forum and announcements. Most of the actions can be possible to conduct online, including meetings and feedback sessions.

Video production: 

  • We produce a new video course with a better quality and improved content, keeping in mind our experience with developing video course with Materials Platform in 2017. The Videos will contain lectures about photography basics as well as practical demonstrations of the photographing materials samples. 

Quiz (gamification) for checking the material understanding:

  • This might be the way to test how students remembered the materials and track their performance. Quiz will contain questions relevant to the current video (or set of videos) students watched. If the functionality allows it would be nice to share progress with other course participants and compare the results.

Photo Cafe/Club – regular meetings during the course: 

  • We need a place to connect with our participants, even though it is an online course. We are planning to host a number of feedback sessions as well as peer’s discussion and offline meetings. We also aim to provide the opportunity to Aalto University course participants to practice together and visit related facilities on the Otaniemi campus. As the situation with Coronavirus most likely change the rules of social gatherings, we might consider to work on alternative solution and provide an online support for the students.


  • Over course we will run relevant workshops on storytelling (image +text), and curating a photo-collection for materials researchers.

Pedagogical methods

Blended learning – online course and contact feedback sessions consist of: 

  • Online-learning sessions: theory lectures and  practical shooting demonstrations by trainer.
  • Photography assignments between scheduled online sessions.
  • Pre-scheduled hours for workshops with other participants (co-learning in teams) and peer’s feedback.
  • Scheduled online meetings for image feedback (assignments, workshops) and q&a during the course.
  • On top of that we are hoping to introduce services relevant and available at Aalto University (Only for Aalto Members) during additionals web-seminars and visits (Väre photo studio, for example).

Learning by : 

  • Listening (theory lectures)
  • Seeing (practical demonstrations)
  • Doing (assignments, workshops) individually or in groups
  • Getting feedback (assignments, workshops, peer review)
  • Analyzing (curating and picking the materials for further use)


Valeriya Azovskaya
School of Chemical Engineering, Materials Platform
Pilot leader

Tiina Puputti
School of Chemical Engineering, Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems
Educator and photographer

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