The Montclair Institute for Lifelong Learning (MILL) will once again offer “all remote” programming for its summer sessions, with virtual classes in program areas that include the Arts, History and Current Events, and Health and Wellness.
When the Division of Senior Services/Lifelong Montclair closed Edgemont Park House for programs in early March due to the COVID pandemic, staff began investigating ways that programs could continue remotely. Senior Services Coordinator Michelle DeWitt tested platform options with various program groups who regularly met at Edgemont Park. Zoom emerged as the most practical platform.
The spring semester was a big success, with 750 registrations for 16 classes. An advantage of using Zoom technology is that many classes could accommodate up to 300 students, far surpassing the capacity of in-person learning.
One of programs that successfully transitioned to virtual learning was a watercolor class called “Out the Window.” Students sheltering in place were encouraged to paint what they saw outside the windows of their own homes, resulting in a range of lovely landscapes, skyscapes, flowers and depictions of vegetables.
Instructor Karen DeLuca describes her approach to teaching on Zoom by saying, “I would first introduce the lesson and then do live, on-camera demonstrations. Students appreciated the opportunity to observe various watercolor techniques up close, giving them a real feel for the painting process. They were able to submit questions through the chat box, as well as share their comments. One student observed that the experience was a bit like watching Julia Child cook!”
Karen adds, “The team at the MILL was way ahead of the curve in instituting this program. I am so thankful to be part of this new way of educating, reaching and informing all who are interested.”
View a gallery of MILL student paintings at www.lifelongmontclair.org/art.