Dennisse Rodriguez learns hand embroidery stitches at home

CAD Rises to the Challenge of Remote Learning in Spring 2020

Sep 11, 2020
Allison Lauricella

by Sommer Stockton

Juliana Cifuentes shows off hand embroidery project
Juliana Cifuentes shows off hand embroidery project

When the news came in mid-March about the move to remote learning, Brenau’s faculty and staff were fully prepared for the possibility of moving online. Faculty evaluated the remaining assignments and lab activities to determine which would be applicable to hold in an online learning environment.

“We were anticipating a possible change in learning format and set up ‘go bags’ for the students in our textiles class while they were taking their mid-term exams,” said Charity Armstead, assistant professor and fashion merchandising program director. “I told the students that if they had to leave campus, they were to come and retrieve their bags so that they could continue class from home. When students did, in fact, get notice the next day that they would have to leave campus, they all retrieved their bags. We did the remaining labs from home.”

Students and faculty traversed the field of remote learning for the rest of the spring semester. The students submitted their assignments virtually, doing asynchronous Zoom class meetings and critiques while submitting their assignments as PDFs. With some students experiencing spotty Wi-Fi signals at times and unable to join class via Zoom, they were able to use email, text messages and phone calls to complete assignments.

“We had to find creative ways for students to create work,” said Huy Chu, assistant professor of art and design.

Tinkercad project by Skyler Chester

For his ceramics class, Chu utilized TinkerCad, allowing students to submit their project files remotely. Chu then 3D-printed the projects and sent them to students through the post office. Other classes, such as the fashion show production class, were bigger challenges to hold in an online format. 

“That class was probably the biggest challenge for me, since the major evaluation is actually producing a fashion show,” said Armstead, adding that many of the students’ assignments were made up of detailed plans, budgets and marketing materials for a fashion show, using sustainable clothing choices from various online retailers. “I loved seeing the variety of ways they interpreted the sustainability theme, which is something we don’t usually get to see in this class. Although they didn’t get the hands-on experience of producing the show, they did have an opportunity to plan all aspects of a show, whereas typically the production is divided into roles.”

Unfortunately, many of Brenau’s annual spring events were unable to be held, including the Colossal Prints event, the Brenau Student Fashion Show and the Brenau Collaborative exhibitions. Once it is safe to be in large groups again, CAD hopes to be able to celebrate the accomplishments of its Art & Design students in person.