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How Art Courses are Adapting to Hybrid Learning

In-person class gatherings have always been vital to art courses. Teaching, critiquing, and physically working on art projects happen best in-person. Since our arrival on campus, we have seen the in-classroom experience change and we have adapted our daily schedules in the new age of COVID-19. In anticipation of this new situation, the art department has thought logistically on how to continue to keep students engaged with as much as a real class experience as possible, while also maintains the appropriate safety precautions.

Professor Scott Espeseth currently teaches Screen Printing with a class size of ten students. For his classes’ safety, he divided the class into two separate groups that will alternate between days in class and out-of-class workdays. Although part of this class is conducted in person, the course still utilizes online aspects, such as Zoom meetings so that students can critique each other’s finished projects.

While planning out classes for this semester, the art department found unique solutions for covering important topics while also ensuring the safety of the students. Espeseth said that planning the course work for the semester meant, “considering what should remain part of the course and what could be cut to stay on track of the seven-week course limit.” Espeseth added that the decision process for what needed to be included will help professors understand the most essential lessons to continue teaching Beloit students moving forward. 

However, not all art classes require a “typical” classroom environment for students to be creative. Introduction to New Media, taught by Professor George Williams, is an art course that is taught completely online. The class gathers on Zoom to discuss readings. Williams also sends students into virtual break out rooms for group work time, and individual checks up with each student to check on their progress. Conor Waldron ‘23, one of the students enrolled in the class, says he enjoys the comfort of working on projects in his room while also getting one-on-one insight with the professor.

Introduction to New Media allows students the opportunity to be creative with the help of software like the Adobe Creative Cloud and iMovie. Students enrolled in the class can access these applications by logging into their Beloit account and selecting Apporto. Apporto is Beloit’s solution to at-home learning, as it serves as a virtual desktop cloud. This means students will not need to go into the library to access the tool needed for their projects. Which is ideal to prevent the spread of COVID-19 throughout the campus.

There was worry over the summer from Espeseth on whether or not to make Screen Printing online. The only way this could be achievable was to provide all students with kits to perform the work from their homes. However, as soon as the possibility of returning to campus became more promising this idea vanished. Espeseth was pleased with how the first couple weeks back on campus turned out to be and glad this experience forced instructors to be creative when planning out courses. These practices forced on both students and faculty will apply to how we proceed in the future.

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