Arts & Entertainment

Visual and Performing Arts Students Respond to COVID-19 Restrictions

By Jenny Wallace
Arts & Entertainment Editor

Online Learning is not everyone’s cup of tea, but due to COVID-19 and the country’s current state, KU had to make the difficult decision to move most classes online. As a student representative of the visual and performing arts college, I sought out to seek student concern with the new online platform. 

Here are some of these students’ comments with further explanations about the difficulties they are facing:

“No hands on learning.”

Without accessibility to equipment, learning from a computer screen can be daunting. It’s not easy to listen to a lecture when normally students are in a classroom, figuring out how to use the machine, camera, and instruments. Students who learn better with hands-on learning are going to struggle immensely this semester.

“Critiques!”

One can only imagine how difficult it must be to sit in a room and pick apart each others’ artwork. Online, this can be a hundred times worse. Some students log onto zoom and walk away, some are too scared to unmute themselves, and some students don’t have a strong enough internet connection to see what it is they are trying to critique.

“Everything.”

This goes without saying — online learning is not for everyone.

“Not getting to do hands on learning. That’s the only way I retain the information.”

As stated previously, some students are only capable of learning in a particular way. Due to COVID-19 guidelines and university precaution, hands on learning is not safe for the time being, and unfortunately, students’ grades are going to suffer because of it.

“Staying engaged in lecture videos” and “Focusing and being engaged on Zoom classes.”

Surrounded by distractions, staring into a computer screen and focusing on a professor’s lagging voice are not activities many students can do for an hour straight, let alone for two or three hours at a time. Some students must leave to eat or use the bathroom, and some play on their phones because they can’t stay focused. 

“Not working with others, despite being in a major that encourages it (film).”

When on a film set, it is absolutely crucial to work with others. It requires a director, an assistant director, a floor manager, a cinematographer and actors, but COVID-19 prevents any gathering of large groups. Due to this, a whole production crew is not plausible, leaving many students on their own to film with only their phones.

“Learning with software craft, working with Reaper, Adobe, etc.”

Learning a new software was tough before the pandemic. Now it is even more difficult with professors trying to teach you through a small screen. If students wanted to learn like this, they could have relied on youtube.

“Having to learn things that are meant to be hands-on through a screen, and the isolation sucks.”

As if the zoom lectures weren’t bad enough, some students are also required to isolate themselves if they were exposed to the COVID-19 virus. Not only does this get boring, it gets lonely and painful, the complete opposite of what college is supposed to be.

Despite the challenges COVID-19 has put us all through, it will certainly leave students with a new and improved appreciation for the studio. Last year, students took their experiences on campus for granted, but once things go back to normal, KU’s visual and performing arts program students will have learned to appreciate a normal learning environment for having gone through the toughest of times.

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