art classes return to campus after struggle with online


Sofia RositaniArts & Entertainment Editor

The switch to online in March had an impact on usually hands-on arts classes, now as students return to classes, ceramics, drawing and metal classes will return to some kind of “normal.”

Like all in person classes, students at Southern will have to wear masks and sanitize their areas after each use.

Professor of ceramics, Greg Cochenet, said he had a hard time last semester during the abrupt change to online classes.

“You can’t really teach ceramics online,” said Cochenet. “So, when we shifted to online learning my students stopped using clay, we did some drawing projects, some found object sculpture, the shutdown was so quick I didn’t know what materials my students had.”

During the shutdown Cochenet had his students focus on not only drawing projects but also Haiku poetry, a form of Japanese short poetry consisting of three phrases.

Cochenet said the poems helped a lot of students relieve themselves from anger and stress that was happening during quarantine and the shutdown. He did not want his students to just work on the computer so he had them do projects such as finding various objects around their home and arrange it into a sculpture.

Due to the increased workload that came along with online classes, Cochenet said many students came to him because they were struggling to complete their assignments.

He also said many of them were frustrated because they were not used to being online all day like they were last semester, instead they were used to working with clay or painting instead of sitting in front of a computer.

For this semester, Cochenet said he is having a challenging time with in-person classes being split up because his class enrollment stayed the same but he has to run back and forth into the class next door to help his students.

There will be an outdoor space if needed for him to get the whole class together.

Even though Cochenet said he is hopeful that the school makes it to Thanksgiving, he will still have to find a way to teach the final few weeks of class online.

He said he has been thinking of a project and different assignments, that ties everything they did together with the art pieces they did in-person.for example, Cochenet was thinking for a final project his students can create a virtual gala and show off the work they did throughout the semester.

Graphic design major Dezirae Sayler, a sophomore, said she had a good experience with the online format due to not having any studio art classes.

Even though she said she had a pleasant experience, she was still scared about how the classes will end up being.

“I think now that I have taken some online classes I have a feel for the way things are supposed to work and blackboard assignments and whatnot,” said Sayler. “So, I think I am pretty prepared because I have the proper expectations going into it.”

While Sayler does not have any art classes this semester, she said she is worried about how possibly next semester it will be online.

“I am a little worried because it’s like math and science you can learn anywhere but art is really an in-person thing so I think it will be harder,” said Sayler.

If the university must continue to do online classes next semester Sayler said it will be a bit easier, but it will cause issues for her since most art classes have to be done in person.

According to Sayler it could create an issue for her credit requirements and affect if she will graduate on time due to multiple classes not having online courses, such as metal working a course that has to be done in person.

Studio Art major Delena Hoang Tran, a sophomore, said she did not take any art classes last semester, but she did have a difficulty with the transition.

“I had a hard time being productive and it was difficult for me to grasp the material by myself,” Tran said. This semester, Tran is taking two hybrid art courses, and she said it should not be very difficult because the course will be both in-person and online. Tran also said that she will be better prepared if the university ends up going online.

“Two sort of core values within ceramics is touch and community,” Cochenet said. “and its two things we are trying not to do right now.”

Photo credit: Sofia Rositani

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