BW’s Art department tries out a new form of studio time

Baldwin Wallace Art Department has made the switch to a “flipped studio” for Fall semester 2020, and students seem to be enjoying it.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, protocols have changed across campus, forcing professors to reinvent the classroom setting. The “flipped studio” in the Art Department is conducting their lectures all virtually, many prerecorded, and their studio classes in person.

“Class time is cut in half, so the class caps are still the same 15-20 students. The classroom space, the caps are anywhere between 8 and 10 people, so I have groups A and group B for each of my classes,” says Benjamin Lambert, assistant art professor.

Limited class sizes mean professors have less face to face time with each student since the studio is split up.

Although students are placed into groups, Jake Knowlton, a senior studio art major, says, “With a small class, the instructor can give personal feedback in real time to each group of students in the class and provide demos and most instruction in a digital format.”

Lambert added that having the optimal camera angle for his students to view the artwork was a benefit. He said, “In the past, they were standing around on their tip toes trying to get a good view and sometimes that can be challenging.”

New technology has also been pushed for professors to utilize as they find ways to navigate this new environment of virtual learning.

Paul Jacklitch, an art professor, uses with his students. It is provided through the Cleveland Public Library for free. He said that these are wonderful videos that instruct students in a variety of topics including digital photography, photoshop, and 3D programming.

Without the help of the Lynda videos, Jacklitch said, “It would have been a much bigger challenge for myself to record step by step procedures for everything that we do.”

Art students are also taking a liking to the new format of classes.

Senior studio art major, Kesha Dalal, said, “The flipped classroom has provided me with an easy and accessible way to keep up with my courses and their assignments without any excuse. Everything is on Blackboard out of necessity, so rarely are students left to wonder what they missed on a sick day.”

There are still challenges that are seen with this format of classes. Due to social distancing guidelines, Lambert said, “It’s hard to describe something to somebody, like with wheel throwing. I can’t really do that because often times I will position someone’s hands.”

To limit the spread of the virus and other bacteria, sanitization of equipment has been placed as a high priority in the department. Lambert said, “I made kits for every student so the only tools that they are touching are their own.”

Students have liked this new format as it gives them easy access to course material. The Art Department has adjusted to the new protocols and has been ready for their students even though the classroom looks a lot different.