Design Education During COVID-19: A Student's and a Professor's Perspective

The impact of COVID-19 on our interior design students and professors has been dramatic.  Closed campuses, distance learning and virtual presentations are just a few of what our students and educators have experienced this spring.

Read the student and professor perspectives below to hear first-hand what it’s been like learning and teaching design during this worldwide pandemic.

A Student’s Perspective

By Julia Walker, Student ASID, Appalachian State University

Being a college student during the COVID-19 outbreak has been an experience like no other. We left for spring break ready to close out our senior year and complete our senior projects with our peers. Nothing could have prepared us for what was to come.

It was devastating at first to feel like I was losing so much: my last project, my last few months with friends, and my last time in the college town I have called home for 3 years. At first it was hard to adjust to the change in access to technology and other resources. It was also strange to not be working in the studio among my peers because it was such a fundamental and important part of my college and educational experience. After the initial shock wore off and we became accustomed to our new schedule and form of education, it quickly began to feel almost normal.

In the end, I am really proud of both myself and my fellow classmates for the work we were able to deliver despite the challenging circumstances that were presented to us. This was definitely not the way I expected to end my college career but I am thankful for what I learned through this experience.

A Professor’s Perspective

By Chelsea Helms, Assistant Professor, Interior Design Program, Appalachian State University

As an Assistant Professor in Interior Design at Appalachian State University, and as a mother of a toddler, transitioning to online learning due to COVID-19 has provided new challenges, but also, new opportunities.

While teaching studio courses online has impacted the in-person studio culture, it has also allowed for students and faculty to explore new methods of graphic communication and feedback. It has also had other positive effects on learning: it has encouraged discovery of new software and technologies, it has made us more comfortable with video conferencing and remote collaboration, and it has imposed self-motivation and time-management. As we pursue positive outcomes during this unprecedented time, we have watched our students overcome challenges and exhibit resiliency, adaptability, determination, and creativity.

As a mother first, now with an (active) toddler home, transitioning to online teaching has challenged me personally to find a way to be present with my son while also being available to my students. It has afforded me more time with my son and humbled me as he "moos" in the background of conference calls.

This transition to remote work has impacted each of us in varying capacities, providing all of us new challenges and new opportunities. And while we all can't wait to get back into the studio, this transitional time will not stop us from learning and exploring, both personally and professionally.