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Clark Atlanta professor describes how social distancing is affecting students

Clark Atlanta University professor Steven Starks (Photo by Christal Jordan for Steed Media)

Professor Steven Starks is passionate about film and even more passionate about teaching film to young people. Starks teaches multimedia writing and reporting at Clark Atlanta University, and he says he was extremely excited about the start of the 2019-20 college school year.

Today, the complications of COVID-19 have made Starks’ job much more challenging as students no longer have graduation ceremonies to look forward to and are forced to interact with their professors online from home.

 Rolling out spoke with Starks about how he intends to keep his students engaged and excited about learning while the future of their education remains uncertain.

How have you managed to keep the morale of your students up during this time?

My icebreaker when classes begin is to make my classroom as transparent as possible and let the students know that we are a family. A family sticks together. When I said that, I felt like they needed an atmosphere like that, especially in the film and media industry. So, when we had to switch to online classes due to social distancing, the morale pretty much shifted in a way, especially because we’re not physically meeting two days a week anymore in person.

When the university decided to switch to online classes, I knew I had to figure out a way to still keep that intimate classroom setting via Zoom, etc. The first time we met back up via Zoom, and the students saw each other, I could see they felt the vibe and that bond got even stronger. I kept telling them that we will get through this.

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