During the COVID-19 pandemic, all faculty at the University of Denver have been tasked with leading the transition to online teaching and learning.

Art supplies in mailing envelopesSarah Gjertson, a Studio Art Professor, has painstakingly created individual boxes full of art supplies and shipped them to her students in the Spring 2020 quarter. She changed her course to have more grace, kindness, and compassion in these unprecedented times. Her goal is to “be human and empathetic,” which she consistently embodies.

Although the transition has not been easy for her, she has transformed studio art into a meaningful experience online. She went from not knowing what Kaltura was, to uploading multiple videos for her students to engage with through Canvas.

Professor Gjertson has been an incredible faculty member to work alongside. She is patient and willing to learn the intricacies of content and platforms that would otherwise remain overwhelming. This is evident in the questions she asks, how her canvas course has transformed, and how she consistently puts students first.

Professor Gjertson has begun to master the integral mix between synchronous and asynchronous online learning. Through many sessions, she has creatively problem-solved how best to approach studio art in an online climate pedagogically. In addition to the leaps and bounds that Professor Gjertson has made within the technological realm, she makes sure to put her student’s social and emotional well-being first. “As an artist without any allegiance to any medium,” Professor Gjertson has made her courses this Spring 2020 her new medium and is rising to the occasion.

Written by Christine Hood, OTL Graduate Assistant 

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