Key takeaways from a hybrid semester

November 4, 2020

In a recent announcement, Clemson University officials made the decision to move back to online-only instruction after the Thanksgiving holiday. Many instructors chose, this semester, to operate their classes in a hybrid fashion where students had the option to take the class online or utilize a designated, socially-distanced classroom space on certain days with limited capacity.

A limited number of students working, masks on, in the Prototyping Lab

We checked in with one packaging lecturer at the Sonoco Institute who has been operating in somewhat of a hybrid fashion to learn about her key takeaways from the semester. Haley Appleby teaches PKSC 2200, Product and Package Design, at the institute which typically utilizes the design and prototyping labs throughout the semester.

Sonoco Institute (SI): How is this new teaching style working out for you?

Haley Appleby (HA): Things are going well. There are pro’s and con’s to teaching online. At this point, most of my curriculum has been adapted and online delivery has been streamlined. I still believe my courses are best delivered in-person, where students can collaborate with one another in the Sonoco Institute’s labs and have hands-on access to the prototyping equipment. I look forward to when we can have a fully in-person prototyping lab again!

SI: What have been some of your biggest takeaways this semester?

HA: The biggest thing I have learned is the importance of collaboration when learning and creating designs. I think one of the biggest pitfalls to online learning is the natural loss of collaboration that occurs when students are no longer in a shared space. Learning can happen at a slower rate online and creativity can (but not always) be hindered. I am constantly looking for creative ways for students to share their designs and collaborate virtually to help them push their ideas and get an idea of what their peers are creating.

SI: How have you received support in transitioning your curriculum online and keeping your classes safe and healthy?

HA: The Sonoco Institute and CCIT have been instrumental in ensuring a seamless transition to virtual learning. They worked incredibly hard so that our students could gain access to the design software they needed to access remotely. Both myself and our students are grateful for their efforts. As we continue to transition to a hybrid model where students can begin to return to class and lab spaces, the Institute and Clemson have worked to put in place social-distancing measures in all of our labs, so students can work safely in-person.

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