MAT TV is the live show that students in Television Production classes create each semester. This screen grab is from AzWestern.edu.
Will distance education be the new normal?
Due to the pandemic, Arizona Western College has made the big switch from in-person classes to online. How will that work for classes needing face-to-face interaction? Professors at AWC have found ways to make things work.
For example, the crew members of MatTV all joined a meeting on the Zoom app, anxious to discuss how the show will continue without working in the studio. MatTV requires students to work together as a team to produce a thirty-minute show, Zoom allows that to happen over a video call.
Sherry Needham, professor of TV Production at AWC, has made it possible for her students to create content from their homes.
“We will continue to produce content from home,” said Needham. “In order for this to work, you guys need to think of video ideas and then send in your videos.”
As a result, the crew has come up with many news themes for the show. Each student makes their video five minutes long, so that the show can meet its required time of thirty minutes every week. This is not an easy transition because not everyone is used to being on screen, but the show must go on.
Patrick Cunningham, professor of Business and women’s basketball coach, also has made the big switch and moved all his classes online.
“My classes aren’t that different than normal, because I am kind of used to having some of my classes online,” said Cunningham.
The switch for him was not that difficult, because his students work independently, and they are able to complete all of their assignments at their own pace online.
“My summer classes will be online, but by the fall the school is still trying to figure out what they are going to do,” said Cunningham. “They said there was a possibility of limiting a certain amount of students for each classroom.”
Professors are still wondering if the online model for the second half of spring semester will still be in place for fall, or if they will be able to meet in class again. There is also a chance that AWC will limit the number of students inside of a classroom and alternate who can go in on different days.
Some students are also unsure about registering for classes, because they do not know if they will have to be online.
“I have been looking at classes that I know I can definitely do well in online for next semester,” said one AWC student. “They have been good about sending emails and updates, though, so I am hopeful that I’ll get one saying that classes can be held next semester.”