Teaching and Learning Photography During a Pandemic
Teaching Photography During A Pandemic
Prior to the pandemic, I was teaching in-person classes to groups of 8 photographers, or less, in a small conference room located in the Gallery Place Chinatown area of Washington, DC.
And when COVID19 began to creep into the DMV area I was in the middle of teaching two four-week classes.
Specifically, we just finished week two when I and the students that I was working with began to think that it might not be a good idea to continue to meet in person and we agreed to continue/finish the class remotely. I notified both classes that we wouldn’t continue in-person meetings and we agreed to combine both classes into one and meet on Saturdays via Zoom. There were a couple of students who said that they didn’t think the remote learning thing would work for them.
But after some discussion, they agreed to give it a go.
Learning Photography And Learning How To Teach Photography During A Pandemic. So now what?
Of course, we gotta the finish the class.
And, also, of course, I got a lot to learn.
I asked the students to give me two weeks to learn how to present an online experience that was as close as possible to the in-person experience.
First, I had to learn to use the Zoom platform as a “virtual classroom”.
And second, with effectiveness in mind, I had to restructure the presentation of the content of the class and the pacing of the presentation.
The two weeks went by quickly, I contacted the photographers and scheduled our first online meeting.
So, How’d It Go?
In short, in terms of both teaching and learning photography during a pandemic, I’d say that despite my concerns, especially concerns of student outcomes and experiences, it went surprisingly well.
And although the new virtual format, was certainly not the same as meeting face to face, it was as effective as meeting in person in terms of learning for the participants.
I know. Hard to believe, ain’t it?
But, according to the students who were reluctant to continue because they doubted the effectiveness of “online learning”, the class was effective. They both said that the portion of the class that was presented online was an effective way to learn photography.
And, in hindsight, they actually preferred it because it saved time and money in terms of commuting.
Especially when considering that they could easily take the class from wherever they were as long as they had a good internet connection.
Lessons Learned By Students And Teacher
Talk about learning as ya go!
While the participants in the class were happy with the online experience and stated that they effectively learned the material presented, I, as the instructor, was thrilled that they felt that way.
It seems, in terms of learning and teaching, I was able to convert the face-to-face experience into an effective online experience.
And, considering the ongoing pandemic, I feel that the online classes not only offer the convenience of takin’ the class from wherever you are (as long as ya got a good internet connection), It’s the safest way to learn and teach.
The only change I made is the platform used as the “classroom”.
Specifically, I left Zoom for a more convenient, secure, and reliable platform
Furthermore, to me, the idea of sitting in a closed conference room with nine people for three hours, with masks, doesn’t seem like a safe thing to do.
And it doesn’t seem comfortable or effective in terms of learning.
On the other hand, the safety and convenience provided by remote learning seem to make sense.
So, when it comes to teaching and learning photography during a pandemic, lessons are learned.
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