If anyone has Britt's email in response to this thread -- please forward to me.


Patricia Savage

On 3/15/20 10:34 PM, Karen Ackoff wrote:
[log in to unmask]"> Actually I think this is a great topic for the listserv.

I’m sure this affects a number of GNSI members (as faculty and as students).

The problem is that prep for an online course is usually done well in advance and over many months. We have a week. 

For me, our spring break was extended by a week, so we could use the time to prep. The college is giving workshops on various apps that will help the process. Then classes resume - online. Whether they stay online or return to face-to-face has yet to be determined. But I’m guessing things will stay online.

My college uses Canvas - their online course software. And with it, I get unlimited use of Google Drive. And I make good use of it.

I’m used to using Canvas, and routinely post class activities and assignments. Students can always email me, but our classes include lecture & lab, and are long enough that students generally ask any questions they may have (except for the one student who always asks questions after class is over and I’m walking out the door). 

My college also uses Zoom, which lets you record a lecture or record what you are doing on screen. You can also conference with students (with video, if you wish). I’m not sure about screen sharing yet or whether a person on a Mac and screen share with someone on a PC. I hope this is possible (I’m teaching computer graphic design). 

The downside to Zoom is that it’s not very secure. They have made improvements, but I’ve been warned to remove it entirely from my desktop computer once the semester ends.

We also have access to Kaltura, which also records lectures/demos… but it stores files in the Cloud and does not export them. And it only keeps them on the Cloud for a few weeks. I’d want future access so I could re-use some recordings. Kaltura is expensive, and prohibitively so for an individual. 

My preference is a program called Camtasia. It allows you do record from the screen or web cam. It utilizes a timeline, and you place stills, video, titles and captions, a narration soundtrack, and animations (drawing circles around things to highlight them), stitching it all together with fade-ins and fade-outs. You can export as mp4, for youtube, various phones, etc. I keep the work file, which can be edited in the future and re-exported, saving time and work. Cost is a couple hundred, I think, but there is education pricing and the maintenance plan is $50/year and they usually release a new version often and this covers it at a big savings. 

I believe there is some Adobe software that does similar things, if you have a Cloud subscription.

I used to like the app Director, but it has been retired, and it was code-heavy. Another approach could be to make a YouTube channel or construct web pages.

By the way, Adobe is offering Creative Clouds apps to students of schools that own site licenses, so students will be able to work from home. This is through the end of May. The school has to make a request for this to happen. But I think it’s great. The down-side is not all students will know how to download/install the software (but Adobe has excellent instructions). Another down-side is students who may not have a computer than can run the software due to insufficient RAM, graphics processor, etc. Slow internet could also be an issue (my DSL downloads at 6mbps and uploads at about 1.5mbps - I’m rural and there are no other choices except satellite (which has data caps, is expensive and unreliable in these parts).

My approach is to kind of try what is called a flipped classroom. Instead of providing an overview first, I’ll assign reading with maybe some brief video tutorials that highlight key parts of the material. Then students will work on the assignment, and I’ll give quizzes (multiple choice or true/false, which will self grade) and also ask some discussion questions (either online discussion or via video conferencing).

I agree with Gretchen that online courses involve more of a time commitment. But I get to work at home while my cats glare at me.


Just a reminder, Macs are really good at screen captures - just hit Command-Shift-5. PCs have the Snipping Tool as well. And cellphones take high quality photos (if you want a quick and dirty way of showing a drawing) as long as you take the time to make sure there is adequate light and the focus is good.

On Mar 15, 2020, at 8:54 PM, gretchen halpert <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Hi Lore,

Distance teaching is definitely a different organizational process from in-person teaching, though the drawing lessons are similar. I am able to offer guidance during a project. While I cannot stand over the student while they are working and say, "try this, hold your pencil like this, check your proportions",  I make and share tutorials, video conference weekly, and, if a student needs feedback during the week, we email. I actually spend more time with each student in my online classes than I do with students in the live classroom, where our only contact is during class time. When I taught middle school art, students had a portal where they could download their work and ask me questions privately. You are teaching at a school, yes? Do you know yet how you will be administering your lessons?

You are welcome to email me off-list.


On Sun, Mar 15, 2020 at 7:06 PM Lore Ruttan <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Hi Gretchen,

What perfect timing of your email as I’m considering how to switch to online teaching starting Wednesday. I think the hardest thing is not being able to offer guidance while a piece is proceeding. Not being able to help students with their observational skills as they are working on a piece. I’m curious how you deal with that challenge?

Thanks in advance, Lore

On Sun, Mar 15, 2020 at 6:44 PM gretchen halpert <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
I hope everyone here is well and making the best of a challenging situation.

The Scientific Illustration Distance Program has two classes beginning March 23. They'll be in the March GNSI newsletter, but I'm posting them here as well since the month is passing quickly.

I'm happy to be able to work with no disruption to SIDP classes. Silver linings.

Be well,

Scientific Illustration Distance Program
Session II- Pen and Ink
Mondays, March 23-May 25, 2020 Ten weeks
Ink is a long-standing traditional medium for scientific illustration. This course includes: techniques with crow quill and ink, washes, composition, scratchboard, anatomy, professional practices, final projects, handouts, tutorials, live video conferencing and email. All inclusive. New and returning students welcome.

Scientific Illustration Distance Program
Session III-Color!

Wednesdays, March 25-May 27, 2020 Ten weeks
Students explore watercolor and colored pencil and may include digital media. We develop advanced compositions, including info-graphics. Students complete three portfolio pieces and prepare for internships/independent studies, if desired. Professional practices, handouts, tutorials, live video conferencing, email.

Contact [log in to unmask] for more information.


Need to leave or subscribe to the Sciart-L listserv? Follow the instructions at name is Sciart-L
Problems: Email Lana Johnson at [log in to unmask]

Lore Ruttan, Ph.D.

Lore Ruttan Illustration

Visit my Etsy shop at


Need to leave or subscribe to the Sciart-L listserv? Follow the instructions at name is Sciart-L
Problems: Email Lana Johnson at [log in to unmask]


Need to leave or subscribe to the Sciart-L listserv? Follow the instructions at name is Sciart-L
Problems: Email Lana Johnson at [log in to unmask]


Need to leave or subscribe to the Sciart-L listserv? Follow the instructions at name is Sciart-L
Problems: Email Lana Johnson at [log in to unmask]


Need to leave or subscribe to the Sciart-L listserv? Follow the instructions at name is Sciart-L
Problems: Email Lana Johnson at [log in to unmask]