A screengrab photo of Senior Journalist-in-Residence Cindy Rodriguez's class meeting online when the College was closed February 10 due to the effects of a massive snowstorm. (Courtesy Photo)
Cancellation of classes at Emerson College (and nearly all colleges in Boston) due to the effects of yet another massive snowstorm did not stop faculty member Cindy Rodriguez from teaching her Journalism class on Tuesday, February 10—utilizing an online conferencing site that allows the class to meet virtually.
“We all thought, ‘Well, we can just catch up later,’ but after a while, we just wanted to get moving again,” said Rodriguez, senior journalist-in-residence.
Rodriguez’s Deep Reporting capstone class consists of seniors who will graduate this semester. Each student is working on a semester-long project on a topic and medium of their choice. After the inclement weather caused them to miss a number of class days, Rodriguez and her students decided enough was enough.
On Tuesday, Rodriguez and her students met for class virtually via Zoom. While there were slight glitches in connection, the makeshift classroom functioned as necessary. No students were absent or late, and everyone was able to participate from the comfort of their own homes.
“The class took on a different atmosphere and we were able to get points across,” says Lauren Feeney ’15, one the students. “I liked being able to have the class from the comfort of my bed, and it was still a valuable learning experience.”
Because the students have to interview people in the community, including business owners, for their projects, the students said having snow days actually gave them an unexpected advantage: Many of the people they needed to interview were available to speak because their businesses were closed, just like most schools in the Boston area.
“People were stuck at home, so they were more willing to be interviewed,” Rodriguez said.
While it is doubtful they or anyone else in the Emerson community are hoping for more snow days, Rodriguez’s students seem prepared to finish their work regardless of whatever else Mother Nature will throw their way. In fact, Feeney says she would be just fine with doing a Zoom session again.
“I wouldn't mind doing another online meet in the future,” she said. “I really liked talking in that setting because I felt like the timing and atmosphere were very focused.”
Cooke-Jackson echoed that sentiment.
“While I believe the face-to-face interaction is extremely valuable,” she said, “it is so rich having them articulate via written content their reflections on class readings, the powerpoint and discussion questions.”