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How to teach a college class in a pandemic

Gabrielle Mizak ‘24


Patrick Mizak teaches statistics at Ringling College of Art and Design. Normally, he would teach in person, but during the pandemic, he has had to resort to zoom.

Statistics isn’t an easy subject to teach to art students, so the help of a teacher near them is helpful. Zoom can be a difficult program on which to navigate and interact with students.

“I find it frustrating,” said Mizak.

During last semester, Mizak taught his lessons, not in a classroom, but from our back patio. Our family would often interrupt his lectures. He had a desk area set up on the patio, using a tv as a bigger monitor.

“It was hot on the patio, not cooled like my office,” Mizak stated.

It was also hard for him to teach lessons through Zoom because of different time zones in the different countries his students were in.

“I felt bad for the students who were exhausted during my lectures because it was nighttime in their time,” he said.

Often, some students did not have access to internet connection, so he would record his lectures and put them on canvas. He would have someone edit those lectures into parts, so it would be easier for students.

He taught statistics all throughout the semester and into this year’s semester. This semester he teaches in a classroom, but with very few in-person students. He still must use Zoom, albeit, with air conditioning now.

He has a classroom setting again, but not without the burdens of the pandemic. Even though he’s back to work, life has not returned to normal. Masks and Zoom will continue to be a part of his job while making sure he is staying safe in these trying times. At least, it’s a good thing he no longer has to teach on the back patio.

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