camera issues

next semester, i'm taking a photography class with dr. nulf (yes, for those of you that know the story, i finally got into the damn thing!!!) i am very excited. for all of my photography meddling, i really don't know what i'm doing. i'm just starting to understand things like shutter speeds and f-stops, and my knowledge is quite fuzzy and mostly gathered from wiki articles and forum discussions. it will be nice to have someone actually explain things to me, start to finish. of course, there's always the risk that the class won't live up to my high expectations, but that's a risk i'll have to take i suppose.

which brings me to my most recent photography conundrum. right now i have a little fugifilm point-and-shoot. for the class, i need to have something that lets me shoot entirely manual, and i'm pretty sure that this complies. the only thing i'm worried about is that it might not let me adjust the white balance, but maybe i'm just missing that bit so far. overall, it's a nice camera. it was cheap, as far as decent cameras go, a bit less than $300. but like i said, it's a P&S, and definitely not a DSLR.

to be honest, i'm intimidated by SLR's. i oogle them, drool over them, but i refrain from purchasing one because i'm not exactly sure how to use all of it's bells and whistles. granted, after this class, i may have a firmer grasp on it. so my question is, is it a better idea to learn on my little P&S, or should i go out and obtain a medium-priced DSLR, perhaps canon's EOS 40D?

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