Art & Design Department navigates online courses

While the hands-on aspect of most art classes, such as printmaking and ceramics cannot be replicated, professors are adapting those aspects to a virtual classroom. The first thing the Art and Design Department had to do after it was announced in an email on March 18 that classes would continue online indefinitely for the rest of the semester was get an inventory of supplies that students had available, James Viewegh, associate professor and chair of the Art and Design Department said. 

However, because most students were home for spring break and didn’t bring their supplies with them, it proved difficult, he said. Viewegh said his painting class has shifted to a more theoretical approach by reading articles and watching videos. 

“Luckily for us, this whole thing happened after the mid semester point. So it wasn’t like we didn’t already have half a semester in our studios that we were able to get some things done,” Viewegh said. “So, the students aren’t going to be lacking to a great degree, but it’s still not going to be the same experience. But my department is working really hard to create very meaningful alternative experiences.”

Katherine Fries, associate professor of art and design, teaches letterpress and printmaking. Fries said nothing can replace experience in the studios, but she is doing her best to compensate. She has sent kits to her students to continue working at home and plans to collaborate with them later to help them finish projects they were working on, she said. If that means finding a time during the summer or the fall to let students finish projects they were working on, she will do it. 

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