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Not all classes are easily adaptable. 

Dance Students at LPC are trying to learn complex dance moves through a zoom conference. The challenges of dealing with lag, everyone’s individual internet speeds amongst other things makes it tough. 

Another big issue, especially when it comes to online instruction, especially with dance classes, is camera view. Seeing the entire body of the teacher can be challenging. 

Online classes as a whole can be challenging to hold but the LPC community is responding well and creative in finding ways to hold classes online when the class is not easily adapted to online learning.   

Las Positas College students today with the shelter in place mandate will have to exhibit their flexibility and adaptability. LPC closed the campus and told Professors to teach classes online. Over 70% of college faculty have never taught an online class according to education technology researcher Bay View Analytics.

Many of the faculty had to adjust as well. Quickly acclimating themselves to teaching on Conferzoom. Developing schedules and hammering down meeting times for the students was the most critical thing. 

 “The biggest challenge I see is the massive training of teachers with little or no experience in online education that needs to get done very quickly,” Richard Hertz, a part time faculty member at LPC said. “While many teachers use a campus learning management system like Canvas to communicate with students or deal with assignments, teaching an entire course online requires more training and experience.”

The faculty members needed to find a place to hold the online learning as the campus was shut down and locked. The shelter in place order has made their homes into classrooms. 

Some classes are not easily adapted from in person to online.

“It has been pretty hard and I’m not going to lie, a bit stressful.  I’ve had to adapt my teaching modalities,” Dance instructor Susan Lloyd said.

For the dance choreography for the stage class Lloyd held a Conferzoom conference with all the students, then had the student choreographers work with their dancers using Facetime. Then all the students had a conference to discuss what they did with the dancers.

For the Intro to Dance class she used Conferzoom to hold a lesson using her living room as a studio. 

The students were to follow in their homes but issues ensued.  Some problems were that the students could not see her entire body when she demonstrated the dances; she also could not see each dancer as they made the moves to ensure they used the correct body position to prevent injuries.

But it’s not all a struggle. Lloyd is finding positives in the midst of this struggle. 

“With each day, there is beauty in learning something new, connecting in a different way. I see my students in their home environments. They share, and I share details that we may have not shared otherwise, bringing us closer through this social distancing. The irony.”

The music department has its own challenges.  Most of the students have keyboards, pianos or instruments at homes and can practice.  However since the music department has six ensembles, it has not been possible to get the ensembles together to practice as a team.

“Teaching our ensembles is much more challenging so we’re focusing more on individual work right now,” Dan Marschak, music professor, said.

Marschak hopes that the individuals will each get better and when they ensembles return as a group will be better.

The Athletic department reports they are using Conferzoom to teach classes but still working on how to teach some subjects online. The swim team whose season was cut short by the Covid-19 virus has done at least one work out online.

“The first thing we have done with our swim team is hold a ‘dryland’ workout on Zoom,” Jason Craighead, head coach of the swim and dive team said. “(It’s) pretty fun. It was led by our Volunteer Coach/Alumni/Personal Trainer, Amaya Batiza. In addition to creating opportunities for exercise, it is important to stay connected.”

The Photography Department is holding open lab hours via Conferzoom. The lab technician is available during the normal open lab hours to help students and answer questions. The darkroom is not open to develop film or print from negatives but assistance can be given on Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop, or general photography questions.

The art department is holding classes also via Conferzoom.  The instructor gives a lecture and demonstration of the lesson.  Students can upload their assignments for critique by the instructor.

Even though most of the faculty have not given lessons online previously and some of the classes are not easily adapted to online, the LPC faculty, staff and students are meeting the challenges and finding creative ways to make the classes function online.

LPC is planning, subject to change, to continue classes online only for the rest of the spring 2020 semester and into the summer.


Alan Lewis is the photo editor of The Express. Follow him @alolewis1.

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