Week 2 Online: A Blank Canvas?

joliet park

Distancing in Joliet Park North of UWGB

It’s only Week 2: We’re all still stuck in our sheltering spot:  Alone | Together.

I’ve been teaching online at UWGB since 2010, so the transition to an Online All the Time University (OATU) wasn’t as big a deal as it probably was for colleagues and students across The UW System.

On the other hand, transitioning a Capstone Class to Canvas – in an insanely short time frame – was both nightmarish and exhausting for everyone! How do you teach an Immunology Lab online, or a hands-on course like News Reporting and Writing? WHAT about Cases? OMGU!

Alternative Delivery
The top of the UWGB.edu landing page says: “All classes at all campuses will be taught via alternative delivery methods.”  Wait… there are alternatives?

Even without The Pall of COVID hanging over campus, any transition to any alternative classroom delivery would be a huge challenge – even in the best of times; even for the best professor. Good News is:  There’s a lot of support, communication and a considerable amount of collaboration going on on campus right now. And considering the virus we all caught, the patient seems to be doing fairly well overall.

Unfortunately, I’m still drawing a blank on Canvas in Media Workshop: 474 & 475. Mechanically, the transition was fairly smooth but spiritually, it’s been a disaster!

Real World Experience
Media Workshop is an intense, hands-on, real-world workshop where teams collaborate to research, develop and produce weekly news stories, editorials, features and commentaries for The Student Voice of the ‘GB Communication Department. So far this semester, 13,186 words have already been concocted, written, edited, rewritten and published by: The Little Online Lab that Could! 

Even though the production is now fully automated, an online lab will never be an adequate alternative delivery when there are four, missing elements: 1.) We’re missing The Physical Contact; 2.) We’re missing The Color and Context; 3.) We’re missing a lot of the day-to-day Collaboration necessary to help budding artists, poets, writers and storytellers produce great work!

Colors of the Rainbow
ALL that Contact and Color in the lab puts pigmentation on the page; a lot of texture to the canvas. 4.) Face-to-Face feedback from the Prof is also critical in the creative process, but it’s totally impossible in this our, Semester of Corona.)

In our little lab, students talk; share notes; bounce ideas around the room. The Creative Process does get noisy as they laugh out loud, cry, argue, and experiment on new and different ideas. Our Canvas is not blank for long when Media Workshop students are all in the House!  ALL that Color, Energy, Excitement, Discussion and Personal Exchange translates into greater ideas, greater stories, greater fun!

U can’t automate that!

Colleagues with similar classroom experiences are no doubt feeling the same great void on Canvas this semester.  Not complaining, but it’s been extremely difficult for THIS Old Bird not to be in the same room with my students, and hatching great ideas together. I miss The Contact; I miss all The Color; I miss The Process; I miss the Missed Opportunities.

It’s not a blank Canvas by any means, but some of the color has been sucked out this semester. It won’t be long though, before we’re all back on Campus for the FULL treatment next Fall!  A couple keggers of the real Corona may be called for.

Until then:


Week 2:  Nobody Home/Everyone’s Online 

55.4 / 8.7

3 Comments to “Week 2 Online: A Blank Canvas?”

  1. michaelbina says:

    Miss ALL Y’all!

  2. Rosie says:

    A group needs to rename themselves the QuaranTEENS

  3. thecommvoice says:

    30 days in the Hole = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdXjm8pZMws

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