Even before covid-19 sent us all ‘pivoting’ to online we had a fairly new typography course for non-majors approved to have a dedicated online format. I ended up teaching the course, ARGD 2030e Introduction to Typography in Visual Communication, during the summer term. It was both a new course preparation/design as well as the challenge of learning how to use our online learning platform in a much more robust way to create a totally asynchronous course. (I’ll add that this online learning platform, built on the Brightspace/D2L platform is poorly-designed to say the least. Such bad and non-intuitive user experience.)

This was not the typical studio course I’m accustomed to but more a lecture/lab combination with an enrollment of ~70 students who are not the graphic design majors I’m used to teaching but art majors and minors, which includes many students from UGA’s Grady School of Journalism, especially from the AD/PR program. There was much more traditional content delivery and numerous smaller exercises and assignments, as well as additional ways to ensure that the students were completing the content like ungraded module quizzes and lots of programming to set up conditional releases of content based on completion of various other content and tasks.

The most frustrating thing was the poorly considered design of eLC, the available online learning platform. which is not only extremely UN-visual but has an unintuitive interface and a long list of inefficiencies. I was consistently trying to try to find ways to incorporate visuals (because, um, it’s design) into a platform that was mostly only considered to be text-based) and don’t even get me started on the typography limitations. ugh.

I battled with a misbehaving microphone to create video “lecture” content(oy.) It was quite the learning curve and time investment but ultimately did feel like an (unglamorous) design problem and I obviously enjoyed the topic.

I’m thankful I was able to teach this course *this* summer because I feel much more prepared for the certain mayhem that will surely ensue this fall when we attempt to return to “hybrid” face-to-face teaching. during a pandemic. with GA cases spiking and few available hospital beds. and in high-touch studio classes. Surely it will all go perfectly smoothly and exactly to plan…..? (sigh)