Rory Woodland, a first-year photography student, crouching to get the best shot for his glass assignment. Once a week, the first-year photography students get a chance to work in studio. Photo credit: Rory Friend

Gazing through a lens, the process of learning how to use a camera has changed over the pandemic.

Students and teachers alike have adjusted well to education remotely. However, there have been struggles.

“I know my theory courses have not transitioned well to online. The interactivity, either through demonstrations, playing with lenses, or light, or seeing the student’s response to the lesson is all gone over Zoom,” said Tracy Byers Reid, a photography professor at Algonquin College.

Students still have the ability to ask questions through Zoom calls by accessing the chat option or using the raise hand feature. However, where some students come away from their shyness when in-person, being behind a computer screen doesn’t translate the same according to Byers Reid.

“I do like the ability for the students to ask questions through the chat on Zoom, but it is not a replacement for seeing a questioning look, or hearing a quiet sigh or question from the shy person in the back, or the student who ask a seemingly random question in a classroom, but doesn’t feel comfortable doing so online,” said Byers Reid.

Students facing new course deliveries have come to expect and accept the new norm COVID-19’s mandates have brought. However, they still reminisce about the past.

“The biggest stressor for me is the inability to have those out of class conversations with classmates and professors. I have found that you can learn a lot from casual conversations with one another, find out each other’s unique interests and expertise more easily and be able to connect with them for advice or transfer of knowledge when you are stuck with a problem or need ideas for creativity,” said Telah Morrison, a first-year photography student at Algonquin College.

With mandates and protocols everchanging, establishing a steady schedule and conducting classes in a structured manner has been disrupted.

“The unknown was likely the biggest stressor for me. Things changed so often and fast, that you couldn’t count on anything. We might be told that we’re going to be face-to-face, then within a month everything was different,” said Tracy Cherry, a first-year photography student at Algonquin College.

“It reduces your ability to learn from one another,” said Morrison.

“It’s hard to learn under those circumstances, for both staff and students. My schedule has changed multiple times,” said Cherry.