Communication instructors find difficulty in teaching classes amid pandemic

Jonathan Melancon, Reporter

Resilient communications instructors are having to find new ways to continue teaching video production despite COVID guidelines restricting students’ access to the newly remodeled studio and computer labs.

COVID-19 has stalled the learning process throughout UNF’s campus, including in the communications department. For communications students, while hands-on instruction may be the best way to prepare for careers, communication  instruction has been changed to hybrid teaching for the fall semester.

Professor Ken Thomas

“I’m sure that this is happening in other departments like science and health, where there is applied learning you’d have to have. It’s not delaying graduations, but just the learning process alone,” said Thomas. “Currently, my class is three weeks behind what it was in the spring because I slowed everything down because of that disconnect and inability to interact with them.”

The computer lab has seen a high volume of traffic in past semesters, but this semester is a complete contrast. With a lack of student presence due to COVID-19, students have not been able to use the production lab. Most students have chosen to work remotely, but restricting studio access may stall the learning process of television production according to Thomas. 

“The studio underwent an equipment renovation where we replaced 99% of the equipment we used,” Thomas stated. “Unfortunately students are not getting full access to it because of COVID; it’s bad for students but it’s good for instructors because we are taking the time to find out how this new equipment actually works.”

Photo by Justin Nedrow

 According to Thomas, classes are moving forward, but in a different way. In the past, students were introduced and walked through Adobe Premiere Pro in the first class, but remote instruction has made editing complicated. Students must now rely on their own devices to submit packages and learn how to edit content using Adobe Premiere Pro.

“The problem we are having is the processing power of most people’s personal equipment is just not there or they simply don’t have access to the internet,”stated Thomas. “It causes a tremendous amount of problems teaching, remotely, the technical skills learned in our classes when we are face-to-face on campus, because all of that stuff is available to them on campus.”

Photo by Justin Nedrow

Professor Thomas stated that he is allowing students to resort to using their phones to record video even though they still have the option to check out equipment. According to Thomas, it has become difficult to replicate what he and other communication professors do on campus in an online classroom; but for now, distance learning is the way to ensure safety for students from COVID-19


For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].