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Students in clay class

In-person offerings expanded this fall

Though most Yakima Valley College classes continue to be taught online this fall, some additional classes have returned to campus, including science labs, art making and performing art classes, as well as Workforce Education classes.

“I wasn’t able to offer classes on campus last year, so I am very happy to be back, even in a somewhat limited capacity,” said Art Instructor Rachel Dorn, whose functional pottery and clay courses returned to campus. “I’ve spent a lot of time and energy over the past year putting together online activities and interactive lessons for my courses.”

Even with Dorn’s efforts, teaching clay courses remotely impacted students.

“There were lots of challenges that resulted in frustration from students. One challenge was finding a decent space — and enough time — to work with the clay at home. Lots of students made the best of their situation and made good work, but I could sense that students were more frustrated, more often than in a ‘typical’ quarter.”

Another program excited by the ability to offer hybrid courses in the fall is YVC’s Drama program. The program, which typically stages two or three performances each year, hasn’t been able to offer a production since fall quarter 2019. This fall they are offering a hybrid beginning acting course.

“I’m so grateful to have face-to-face contact with students again,” stated Drama Instructor Alicia Bickley. “All students and teachers benefit enormously from the exchange of energy and sense of belonging that comes with the in-person classroom experience. But I would argue that students in the fine arts actually suffer without that experience, not just because of a need for human interaction, but also because at the core of all art is the intense drive to express and to share our deepest inner thoughts and desires with others through the art we make, collectively or separately.”

YVC’s Choir program, which has adapted to challenges in the pandemic by creating online video performances, also has welcomed students back on campus. The program is excited to offer both MUS 130 College Chorus and MUS 135 Chamber Chorus with an in-person component.

“Having music courses online is a very difficult experience,” stated Music Instructor Steven Slusher. “It can be done, as we’ve proved, but is not nearly as satisfying/educational as in-person learning.  Students receiving in-person instruction have fewer distractions, increased concentration, and can receive more direct, personalized learning experiences. In-person singing triggers powerful positive emotions, lifts our mood and combats depression as the students work for social cohesion. To provide students with a well-rounded education, safe, in-person learning is essential. Especially for music, art and drama!”

Additional information about YVC’s hybrid offerings this fall.