On Teaching Fashion: Edutainment  

Textiles & apparel courses, such as patternmaking and draping, seem difficult to translate into an online course since students need to learn how to use tools and equipment specific in the textiles and apparel fields. Reading chapters in our book, taking quizzes, and writing essays is one thing, but the actual skill of learning patternmaking or draping techniques is difficult to teach online in my opinion. Part of this belief stems from the joy of making mistakes in class and using them as an opportunity to teach and guide the student through the process. I often welcome mistakes as it gives me a new teaching opportunity with something that was never put in the lesson plan. Although, unlike the time when I was in school, we now have Youtube with free content where you can learn patternmaking. We also have inexpensive craft sites where you can learn sewing skills, patternmaking, draping, etc. including specific skills such as how to make jeans for a fee that is smaller than tuition at colleges and universities. Students today live online and it is important to acknowledge that they learn there as well. They want a quick and easy tutorial and often teach themselves how to do things by watching those online videos and courses. I spoke with Marianela Manzanares, Professor of Psychology of Personality at the Universidad Metropolitana. She teaches hybrid classes, which are a mixture of both in-person classroom instruction and online teaching. She caught my attention with her beautiful videos that introduce each chapter that the students will cover. They are mini-movies and really draw you into the lesson. Prof. Manzanares said that her students “get a first approach to the subject online so when they have to be in-class or in-person they are benefitted by that introduction.But she kept emphasizing that it “has to be entertaining. You have to make an introduction that relates to their lives. It should be something that is relevant to current events in their lives today and in the world and their country. Something relevant to their world as well as current or you will lose their interest and they will start looking at social media or shopping online” She added “I think students enjoy learning online and you just have to catch them first and then you will have a successful student. But the human contact is more important because you can be there to motivate them and to show your passion about the subject and that is something you can’t translate online because that it is contagious. That is why I think the hybrid model is ideal.” Prof. Manzanaras said she makes “a little documentary to introduce a theme with music, video, voiceover, special effects and animations. She adds that the university “trained me to do that part and the rest I learned to do myself because I liked it and wanted to learn more to make well produced video clips. But I wish I knew the technical aspect of making online video and programming better in order to entertain students in this digital era.  They are entertaining themselves all the time with online content, and you have to top that so I wish I knew that technical part better.”

Are you familiar with hybrid courses in the textiles and apparel fields? Have you found that it is successful or so you prefer the traditional approach of classroom only teaching? Please leave your comments below and I look forward to hearing from you.

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