Performing arts majors adjust to online classes

Due to the rising concerns of COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, some students and professors are worried about the online shift that the University has implemented in order to contain the spread of the virus. One of the biggest concerns come from majors that rely heavily on in person instruction. Some areas of study that include these majors are fine arts, science, agriculture and nursing.

Classes resumed March 18 in an online only format. Since the process, professors have went about specific routines to make sure their students adjust the best way possible. According to Mikayla Whitlow, a freshman theatre major from Mt. Enterprise, and Adam Orr, a freshman music education major from Sachse, theatre and music majors will have to submit most of their assignments in video form. Since fine arts majors’ classes are all heavily production based, this could lead to a decline in students’ academic progress, but professors are being lenient in these difficult times.

“I am mainly concerned about the people who have absolutely no means to do their work,” D’Marcus McDowell, a junior photography major from Dallas said. “Many of us rent out school-owned equipment and our editing software is on the lab computers.”

McDowell added that photography students have been granted access to Adobe software purchased by the school, in order to hone their skills in photo editing remotely. “For specific classes, such as studio lighting, we have adapted to using lighting in our houses, moving floor lamps and anything we can use to practice.”

In addition, students with planned events on campus are being refunded fees such as recital and ticket purchases. According to a recent statement from SFA President, Dr. Scott Gordon, students who have housing and meal plans with the University will also receive prorated refunds for housing, meal plans and all students will receive prorated refunds for various other campus facilities, such as the rec center.

Whitlow added that “we will be excused from having to see shows, since there aren’t any shows to see right now.” Students required to attend recitals/productions on campus in order to receive scholarships will be excused from seeing these events and given chances to make up the cancelled dates.

While this may feel like a difficult transition for the students, we must keep in mind that the faculty of the University are just as new to all of this as the students are.

“My professors all have adjusted their lesson plans and set up methods of constant communication for us to use,” Orr added. “My piano and Aural skills professors have created Facebook groups and told us that we need to create recordings and turn them in online by the end of the semester.”

Some professors have taken a simple route of trying to make things feel normal for the students, such as making adjustments and accommodations to original schedules within the syllabus.

 “[My studio lighting professor] is accommodating and making changes to her syllabus to help us in our situation,” McDowell said.

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