Mount St. Mary's University
March 24, 2020
On a Thursday afternoon, on the first day of spring, Associate Professor of Visual and Performing Arts Nick Hutchings, M.F.A., taught his sculpture class in Barrett Hall. Students logged in—sitting with their lumps of clay in their childhood bedrooms, at desks in front of wallpapered living rooms and in their dad’s workshop—to watch his demonstration.
The lesson was to watch and learn how to sculpt an object from observation. Through the camera lens he taught them how to form and carve and work the clay using basic tools they could find in their homes, such as a fork or a butter knife. Together, in the space that was once the altar of St. Vincent Chapel, he showed them how to mold the earth in their hands.
“Observation is a practice of slowing down and allowing your hands to trace the form and just observe. It is a practice and a skill that can hopefully be meditative and reflective,” he said.
This week Mount students transitioned to a remote learning environment as students around the nation said goodbye to college campuses and returned home amid the global pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus. Faculty quickly adjusted courses to accommodate remote learning.
Members of the School of Education’s Center for Instructional Design and Delivery (CIDD) worked diligently to offer their expertise on Canvas, a learning management system, and Zoom, a video conferencing platform used to create virtual and hybrid classrooms. CIDD Director Laura Frazier, Ed.D., and instructional technologists David Sheads and Jessica Young answered questions, hosted learning sessions and offered instructional options to navigate the remote learning environment, even dedicated a weekend to ensuring that all faculty received the support they needed. Information Technology and Support Center staff provided computer updates and technical support to professors to ease Zoom room setup and review feature preferences.