DePaul fine arts students adjust to remote learning


Brenden Moore / The DePaulia

Due to campus lockdown, many theatre, music, CDM and other fine arts students aren’t getting the in-person aspect that is needed for success. So, how are professors trying to make classes feel the same for their students? 

Students are seeing both positive and negative changes associated with online learning. Adjusting to a remote schedule has led to more individualized feedback, but also hasn’t successfully replicated in-person performance. The typical layout of a remote class differs for each branch of the fine arts. Professors are changing their curricula to fit remote learning. 

“In light of the emergency, the layout this term always consists of checking in with one another to see how we are managing and how we can help,” said Rob Adler, an acting professor at DePaul. “Then onto the work, which for me is usually some guided discussion about an aspect of the art form, followed by live/synchronous exercises or the evaluation of recorded exercises. I am also doing one-on-one tutorials with students.”

A positive change that many fine arts students are experiencing is the ability to get individualized feedback from their work. Small group sessions, one-on-one help, and guest speakers allow students to get a more personal assessment. 

“In my playwriting class, we record people doing readings from our scripts and then we go into breakout rooms to discuss the videos,” said Joel Davila, a comedy-arts student. “These smaller sessions take the already personal nature of Theatre School classes and make them even more individualized, which I enjoy.”

Nevertheless, CDM students are finding difficulties learning because of fewer resources and the absence of in-person guidance with Adobe programs. “The Cage,” DePaul’s camera rental equipment center, is inaccessible to students this quarter. 

DePaul’s music students are also enduring considerable changes to their usual schedule. Audio disruptions on conferencing sites and lack of in-person help have made it more difficult for them to learn. The sound quality and connection disruptions can make it harder to distinguish if an instrument is being played to its best potential. 

“The biggest struggle in my music courses is not having hands-on experience, especially when it comes to lessons,” said Peyton Gatza, a musical composition student. 

Despite the new normal, fine arts students are still keeping up with their creative talents. The Theatre School has moved many events online, such as open-mics and theatrical showcases. Extra free time allows fine arts students to work on their outside projects and creative skills. 

“Getting out of the music school takes a lot of pressure out of music,” Gatza said. “With less pressure on me I feel like I can play the piano or write music more out of pleasure with less stress. I think it’s a nice refresher for most music students to get out of the school. It reminds us all of why we chose the major, because we love music.”