Suddenly, the world of Distance Learning seems to have caught on. With the recent memo to Yahoo employees requiring them to show up at the office, I'm feeling even better about conducting my classes online — to a point.
This semester, I've added a second course to my lineup at UMass: Computer Graphics & Illustration. I've taught this one before, in the classroom, and I have to say that it's much easier from the relative peace and quiet of my desk at home.
Now, I have around 50 students, including the 17 classroom ones at a different college.
I've had to ramp up my time-management skills, of which I had none; my vocabulary, as I'm now not as able to explain things on the board in front of the class; and stay as advanced as possible in Adobe Illustrator, which, thankfully, both of my classes are utilizing.
The critiquing that goes on in every visual art & design class worth its salt is much more enthusiastic online — no one has to feel humiliated in quite the same way as in the traditional schoolroom. Students are grateful to receive comments from their virtual classmates, and are less hesitant to offer constructive criticism that could be taken somewhat personally.