Posting Date: April 27, 2009
TPS debuts online theater course
By Liza Scales
Theatre students review a scene in class
The Department of Theatre and Performance Studies announces the first online TPS 1107 course for first-year general education students. Chris Randall, associate director for technology-enhanced learning at the KSU Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, has given the go-ahead for the online course to be offered this summer, and for at least one session in the fall.
Joseph Meeks, dean of the College of the Arts, and TPS Department Chair John Gentile provided support and a “vital base from which to research and develop the course,” says Margaret Baldwin, lecturer and interim coordinator of general studies for the TPS department. She and fellow instructor Natashya Armer-Giardina collaborated in adapting a new text for the course. Armer-Giardina says, “We had to break the content down to the nuts and bolts to fit into the condensed summer semester, while maintaining the quality of the course.”
A lot of research was required for this course, and in writing the proposal, Armer-Giardina appreciated the valuable assistance from many of her colleagues to ensure that the course would be up to KSU standards. “Professors like Dean Adams were also incredibly helpful,” she says.
One of the strong motivating factors in developing the course was to accommodate those students who work, or have families—or both—making it difficult to get to the campus for all their classes. “TPS 1107 is typically a face-to-face course, so we wanted to provide the chance for all students to participate by developing the content online,” explains Armer-Giardina. “We hope that the experience will truly inspire our students about theater.” Seeing three live theater performances is a requirement, as it is for the classroom equivalent, but families can be included in one event.
Armer-Giardina will be teaching the online course. “This is a huge ball of wax to handle! I am excited and nervous all at the same time because this is my first online teaching experience,” she says. Enrollment initially will be limited to 20 students.
Armer-Giardina has been teaching theater courses at KSU on a part-time basis for nearly four years. “I am so grateful for the chance to teach here and still focus on raising my two young children. And I feel so honored to be a part of the TPS department; everyone is so supportive.”