Everyone in Design — students, instructors and staff — pitched in to make our hybrid-and-online Fall Semester a success. Thank you all for doing the tweaking and learning and pivoting that is keeping us on top of the needs of pandemic education. I’m glad to report that the quality of work coming out of Fall Studios is excellent: involved, focused, human. 

Now we’re looking forward to Spring Semester. We’ve worked out so many pandemic challenges, and the light is at the end of the tunnel with a vaccine on its way. Along with the entire campus community, Design is working to ensure your health and safety, and planning to return in January with online, remote, and hybrid classes in January. This FAQ has been updated.

Just a reminder before we jump in: Design at Cornish now offers a BFA in Animation, Communications Design, Game Art, Illustration, or Interaction Design, and a minor in Game Art or Experience Design. All majors are enriched with opportunities for “off-computer” printmaking, book arts, and illustration media. Lots of options. 

Please browse the FAQs below for more information about what learning will look like in Design this spring.

Don’t see the answer to your question? Contact the Provost’s Office for more information.


Frequently Asked Questions

What will courses and instruction be like this Spring? Will there be hands-on instruction?

We currently plan to teach hybrid classes with online and face-to-face elements. Face-to-face classes will meet in groups of five or fewer: an instructor and four students. But, depending on the safety requirements of the moment, we’re ready to go all-online if need be. When we’re meeting face-to-face, small class size, materials cleansing, and appropriate physical distancing will provide a safe learning environment for both students and faculty.  

Your instructors will provide information about course meeting times, format, and opportunities for small group work, as well as for one-on-one feedback, whether we’re all working in-person or remotely. If we go to all-online instruction, assignments will be adjusted accordingly.  

What will Spring classes look like?

Here are a few classes we’re offering this Semester, and the ways in which they will be taught. 

Advanced Storytelling Concepts, with Instructor Terry Schenold,  teaches you to create the narrative structures that hold up “long form” work. Terry created The Critical Gaming Project (CGP) at the University of Washington, which is a collaborative, interdisciplinary working group and community of players dedicated to the critical study and teaching of games, primarily digital and social games. It will be taught all-online.

Painting for Illustration, with Professor Gala Bent, is a course suited to anyone who has an interest in the processes that illustrators use when they are painting with traditional materials, but moving toward a digital outcome (books, magazines, online publications, etc.) This semester, as we emerge slowly from quarantine restrictions, the course will be taught as a hybrid, using remote instruction when appropriate and in-person instruction when appropriate. Note: It is possible to take the course fully online. 

An Open Elective — open to all across the college — is Autobiographical Comics, with Instructor David Lasky, which will focus on chronicling some of the moments, little and big, past and present, from our lives, and in doing so, teaching us more about ourselves and our peers. Part of the instruction will include basic comics drawing and communication techniques geared toward beginners, but which will also be helpful for experienced artists. 

This class will be entirely online, so this time around, classwork will be shared via the internet rather than in self-published booklets. David will use a document camera to demonstrate drawing techniques, and will share images on-screen during talks. We will examine short works by masters of the graphic novel memoir, as well as fun diary comics and humorous anecdotes by beloved cartoonists. Online critiques and discussions will provide valuable feedback for students, as well as a feeling of community and camaraderie.

How many people will be able to be in a studio at one time? 

At this time, 5 people at a time in one classroom is the plan.

What about exhibitions on campus for my work?

Design is very excited to be reopening the newly redesigned 9th Avenue Gallery this fall, previously known as the Beebe Gallery. This improved space supports programming for students across the campus. Additional planning is underway to ensure safe access to this space and that it meets the local, state, and federal requirements for physical distancing. Other campus gallery spaces, such as the President’s Gallery (7th floor MCC) and the Alumni Gallery (3rd Floor MCC), will continue to be available, including other spaces across campus.

To what kinds of spaces will Design students have access?

As the College reopens this spring, Design’s goal is to provide students with access to a range of specialized spaces and facilities in order to ensure that they can engage fully in their design practices. In addition to studios, classrooms and other spaces across the College, Design students will have access to specialized spaces such as the 4th floor Print Center, Printmaking Lab, Bookmaking Lab, Equipment Library and MCC studio spaces. Additionally, your departmental chairs and coordinators will be available in the MCC 5th floor Visual Arts Offices to support the everyday space needs students may encounter during the fall.

How will my work this spring prepare me for a career in Design?

Design industries have not slowed, and in many areas have increased in speed, since the entire national population is currently using online tools daily. Now is the time to gain valuable skill of learning to work well with other people—remotely. Many companies will continue working off-site indefinitely, even after COVID, so learning to be an effective participant in online groups will be an essential skill going forward.

What kind of instructional technology will be available to support me with my online work and course management this fall? 

When the pandemic hit, Cornish began investigating arts and design-focused instructional tools that will better support your work in virtual environments. Currently, the College supports Zoom, Panopto, and GoReact. The Canvas platform has also been enhanced, so you’ll notice newer, easier communication and more tools on that platform.

Students in animation and character design classes will be able to use the computers and iPads in MCC 208. Students will be able to print assignments and projects in the 4th floor Print Center. The Center features a color printer and a large format printer, and is supported by the Visual Arts IT Coordinator.

How often will we meet if a Design class is listed as hybrid?

It’s up to each instructor, but generally, 50% of the class time will be held in person, and 50% online, which is a hybrid teaching format. Many instructors will divide classes and meet with groups of four or fewer for shorter amounts of in-person time if class sizes are large. Other instructors are planning to meet their classes in open air, public spaces. Check with your instructor at the beginning of the semester.

How will we share materials and tools? 

Shared materials and tools will be sanitized between users.

Cornish administrators are creating a safety protocol for labs (printmaking labs, photo labs, the computer lab and print center) and for shared activity spaces. These protocols will be shared at the beginning of the semester for the plan for that class.

How will we manage critiques?

It is up to the instructor,  but we now have the capability to hold live-stream critiques on Panopto, our new video management system.

Will classes be using Google Meet again?

No. We’ll be using Zoom for online classes. But we’ll be using Canvas as the class management tool, as usual.

Will we be gathering in Notions for C and CS?

No. For safety’s sake, design history will be all on-line, both in Sophomore and Junior years.


Let us know if you have any questions not covered in this FAQ. We’re looking forward to seeing you in the Spring!