Fashion school says online learning is not ideal for design students
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While online learning has been the safest option during the Covid-19 pandemic, it most certainly is not ideal for all tertiary education courses.
According to the STADIO School of Fashion, online education was not particularly helpful for design students.
Head of the fashion schools Maryn Steenkamp said: “For the creative and design curricula, the challenges of online learning and teaching are seated in the lack of tangible (tactile) and 3-dimensional space that curates the design process.”
She added that the digital space is not aligned to social interactions that one would be exposed to on campus. Steenkamp cited technical issues which added to the challenge when learning and teaching online such as data and devices that can run software and maintain internet stability are also challenging.
The school’s Chief Academic Officer Divya Singh said “Zoom fatigue” among students was also a challenge.
“Students already spend considerable time online on their social media and other communication platforms. The added demands of classes online are sometimes just too much for many students, who then simply choose not to participate in the online classrooms,” said Singh.
Singh said contact learning offers access to equipment, software, resources, and subject matter experts that students can observe in real-time and who can assist with problem-solving situations.
Dr Willie Bouwer, Head of STADIO School of Media and Design and Acting Head of STADIO School of Information Technology, said there is less distraction with contact learning than with students learning from home.
“Students can obtain a better understanding from lecturers' and other students' stories and real-world examples, and data shows that one increases one’s chances of successfully completing a programme when completing it in a classroom setting.
“Through the lecturer's and other students' body language and voice, students can have access to additional information and a deeper comprehension. Students have the chance to interact, collaborate and network with students from a variety of different backgrounds,” said Bouwer.