September 27, 2021

Digital Communications + Media in Times of COVID

By Mechthild Schmidt Feist, Clinical Professor, DAUS

Of course I cannot make light of the tragedies that COVID-19 has brought to many in our community. But I want to point out how resilience, humor and innovation led to new and improved class experiences in DCoM (Bachelor’s of Science in Digital Communications and Media program at DAUS).

For years, we had used video streaming, taking advantage of the slowly maturing media from Skype to Google Hangout with a large technical learning curve. Zoom finally gave us a reliable interface, bandwidth, and solved participant limitations. I was able to invite more guest speakers and interview partners from across the country and the globe. Working from home, they had increased flexibility to schedule time with students. I built on my research travel connections and invited Ying Zhuang, who was working in digital media at the Palace Museum (Forbidden City), Beijing, to my Media History class. Two students interviewed her on her career and changes in the museum media landscape. Other interviews took place with the author of our class text, Bill Kovarik, with LA screenwriter Gabrielle Kelly, and six others. Guest speaker Arzu Mistry joined us as a guest speaker in ‘Engaged Media’ with her environmental public art project in Bangalore, India, enriching our class with an additional cultural perspective.

Ying Zhuang

Ying Zhuang

Arzu Mistry

Arzu Mistry

DCoM adjunct instructor Lauren Petty turned a difficult situation into a creative challenge with several great outcomes. She writes: “The final project in Motion Design is a green screen project, where students utilize compositing to create fabricated situations. In spring 2020, we had a shooting date planned at NYU's green screen studio but all of our plans were cancelled due to COVID-19.  This meant that students shot the green screen component completely on their own.  As a class, we discussed materials and all of the students obtained green screen surfaces to shoot with - from paper to full professional setups.  It was great to see the students work together remotely and to see them come together - even virtually! - in their final videos.”  

Her students Gabby Lamas and Evan Rummel turned a vice into a virtue and created a humorous take on ‘unreal lives’ with Corona. 

Evan Rummel and Gabby Lamas, 'Unreal Lives'

Mechthild Schmidt Feist, Clinical Professor of Digital Communications and Media, teaches Engaged and Participatory Media, Media History: Art, Design, and Technology, and Motion Design II: Effects and Compositing. She is also the Faculty Coordinator of the Bachelor’s of Science in Digital Communications and Media program.


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