Big Change for Dwell Classes

Teacher in front of class

After holding classes for over a year on Zoom, Dwell is moving back to an in-person format for all its classes, starting with Summer Quarter. You can see what's available and register at this link.

Equipping Division Coordinator Pat Reeder says they initially planned to wait until August to move to in-person classes. But he says recent changes to COVID orders and the high numbers of Dwell members getting vaccinated gave them confidence to make the move sooner.

Pat answers some questions about the change:

What's the value of meeting in-person for these classes?

As a rule, in-person learning is superior. There are substantial non-verbals going between the student and teacher. Students can signal confusion with small facial expressions so that teachers can revisit or repeat things. Also, students are far more distracted over Zoom. When you know the teacher can see you're not paying attention, that creates an unconscious almost reflexive incentive to at least pretend to pay attention. In any case, over Zoom, a necessarily limited tool results in necessarily limited outcomes. No doubt, online learning is a nice tool when in-person is unavailable.  

Did classes succeed on Zoom? What advantages did that give you for that time?

There is no question that without Zoom, our entire department would have ground to a halt during the pandemic. Live video, powerpoint sharing (while less than in-person) is WAY better than nothing. Tim Nunn of ICT played a huge role in helping our instructors learn how to use Zoom right as the state restrictions descended. There were a ton of unique classes that got to run during this time, since LTC was put on hold. Some of our top instructors put together Zoom and YouTube courses. This was a special advantage, though it was not afforded by the technology, so much as by the special circumstances. Finally, we did have a decent group of international partners tune into our classes. We might like to continue to capture this in some form, though that doesn't require that the classes by ALL zoom, but perhaps simply that there would by a zoom broadcast during a normal in-person course.