The course ran into an unexpected challenge when the COVID-19 pandemic caused classes to transition online. Chad quickly and successfully adapted his teaching style to accommodate the new learning environment. Though teaching students how to edit via Zoom seemed nearly impossible, with daily check-ins, video tutorials, and screen-sharing capabilities, the class was able to produce high-quality short films in just three weeks.
Despite the virtual environment, the class of 13 has maintained a close bond. Chad and his teaching assistant, McKinley Keneer ’20, brought some fun to the online classroom by dressing up as characters from the documentaries that students were assigned to watch, and the class even came together for a surprise birthday celebration for one student.
“My favorite part about the class was our Zoom meetings because we talked about the documentaries that we watched the night before,” Sarah says. “It was interesting to hear if I agreed or disagreed with other people's opinions about the films, and it was nice to have a connection with people during this weird time.”
Despite the unprecedented challenges Chad and his students faced, they were able to achieve the course’s main goals and gain a deeper appreciation for documentary film production.
“For the editing students, it’s the power to know they can do this, that they can do it on their own,” Chad says about what he hopes students take away from this course. “For the studies students, it’s to recognize documentary as a viable film genre, and honestly one of the more powerful film genres, because it’s something that can change your life without you recognizing it.”