Maria Bahous, Assistant Professor of Practice, Graphic Design

How the challenges facing design studio classes were overcome.

Maria-Bahous-LAU Now.jpgThis semester, I was teaching three design studio classes, which brought on a set of challenges that are inherently different from lecture courses:

Sensorial Challenge:

The first step was to figure out how to teach a studio class in an environment where you can’t touch anything. The key was a shift in the students’ mindset toward critical thinking – regardless of space and working exclusively with the materials on-hand. For feedback – traditionally done by marking up students’ work or drawing and scribbling visual solutions –we relied on Zoom and Webex.

Instructor’s Feedback Challenge:

I had to create additional demos, work on source files with students and add links to helpful visual references. I also recorded voice-overs and added them to videos so students can understand essential notions. I made it a point of encouraging the students to analyze case studies to increase their exposure and boost their problem-solving skills.

Peer Feedback Challenge:

Students reflect on their own work when they give constructive feedback to their peers, so this needed to be nurtured online as it had been offline. Using a synchronous approach, they viewed, reviewed and discussed each others’ work in real time.

“Relationship-Building” Challenge:

As maintaining the student-faculty relationship became more critical, we communicated through videos and I made myself available during “office hours.”

I think that this experience has been enriching across the board. It has proven our ability to adapt, learn and find appropriate solutions, while providing us with new methods that will be beneficial for the years to come.