“Ding, Ding!”

December 28, 2021 | Posted in: Scholarships | Student Resources | PGSF Blogs

Having turned in my grades for the past quarter (Fall 2021), I do so with great expediency in that it was a challenging and arduous experience. As many schools reconvened “in person” at the end of August, the lurking and dismal continuously-ringing tone of COVID and Zoom Lectures kept heightened awareness of the complexities of classroom logistics and dynamics. It brings new meaning to the term tintinnabulation (a continuous ringing in the ear).  

Challenged with a large college Freshman introductory course in Graphic Communication, I decided to ease the burden of class attendance by providing a F2F (face-to-face) lecture subsidized with an online ZOOM live simulcast. This offered an option for those who wished to remain in the confines of their homes and not within the assigned lecture hall auditorium. Exhausting as this exercise was (I get quite animated in my lectures), I attempted to entertain the F2F students (albeit without the opportunity to read expressions from their faces) while simultaneously engaging students ZOOMing in for the online lecture (not being able to see their condensed on-screen faces). And doing this while gasping behind a mask and/or face shield for the assigned time and talking in front of me, then turning behind to speak to the computer located directly behind me.

What I found most interesting was that most of the students came for the F2F lectures while a quarter of the class lurked online. I stopped several times during my lecture to ask if students would have been easier and more convenient to have offered the course online exclusively, to which I received a resounding “no .” I was intrigued because many faculty members believed that the student constituency preferred online class offerings. Side note – our University held a hardline on the decision to come back and teach F2F, but there was some dissension amongst the masses).

In many challenging and tiring situations requiring decision making, change, and redirection, I think, once again, of our good friend Wynkyn de Worde (WWWdWD). When many printers in Europe were busy chasing, acquiring, and translating manuscripts about theology, science, and classics within the humanities, Wynkyn went with what he knew best, the public. And, as such, began to publish books that appealed to the public. Not an educated aristocrat, but a highly talented printer, he was the first to publish “how-to” guides to better educate his community. He learned this by being embedded within his community, stimulating dialog, and inquiring first-handedly. I always imagine a bell sounding off in his printshop store-front as many of his friends, authors, educators, clients, and residents walk through the door to say hello or engage in stimulating conversation—that is to say—face-to-face.

If you want to know what is best for the people you serve, simply ask them. As a society, we cannot continue to live confined to our Zoom Rooms (it worked when we needed it to). We must face the incessant tintinnabulation and listen to Wynkyn to understand and serve our communities and customers.

I hope your holidays are warm and fulfilling, and, more importantly, I wish you all a sane, healthy, productive, and rejuvenating New Year.

Ding! Ding!