DBP, I agree with you that a course isn't needed. But doing the little set of exercises laid out in the booklet that Nikon used to pack with their SLRs is very helpful. They go through the camera's controls -- shutter speed, aperture, focus. Doing them all helps the beginner internalize what to do to get the desired combination of good exposure, sharpness or blur, ...

Wiggy, doing this doesn't take a mechanical camera, it takes a camera that will give its user full control and a meter -- in the camera or not, where it is makes no difference -- that tells the user whether it thinks a shot will be properly exposed and if not, how far off and in which direction. Aleatory focus, composition, and exposure is a crock. And that, Wiggy, is what you come across as advocating.