Pandemic Era Opens Opportunities?

Ted Cook, BLA and MED Dual Degree student, School of Planning, Design, and Construction, Michigan State University, shares his experiences.

Ted Cook, BLA and MED Dual Degree student, School of Planning, Design, and Construction, Michigan State University.
Ted Cook, BLA and MED Dual Degree student, School of Planning, Design, and Construction, Michigan State University.

The COVID virus has placed many challenges and detours in many lives around the world, but as Plato once wrote, “Our need will be the real creator." This past year has shown that sentiment to be true across the globe as many have had to learn to communicate via Skype, Zoom, Teams, and numerous other platforms. The learning curve was steep, and those who were successful in this endeavor gained a valuable resource for years to come. 

The MSU student chapter of the ASLA [American Society of Landscape Architecture] was one such recipient of this benefit. During this past spring semester, we were honored to have hosted well-known designers Robert Chipman and Ken Weikal for a completely virtual digital hand sketching seminar. Bob and Ken took a few hours of their time to educate the student chapter on how to integrate hand sketching using digital media, showing that purely organic drawings can still happen even when not using traditional paper media.  

This opportunity more than likely would not have happened pre-COVID, because traditional thinking would have dictated the in-person presentation of their lesson. Plus, the availability of the equipment needed would have also placed obstacles to overcome. However, since the presenters were in their environment, the learning experience exceeded what most had envisioned.  

Moving forward the student chapter is hoping to capitalize on this ability of “virtual presentation” to entice additional high-profile designers to give their insights on Landscape Architecture. Where once their schedules would not have allowed for a physical trip to East Lansing, now it’s just a few clicks away.

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