Remote Learning Detour No Problem for Digital Artists

While the transition to remote learning and teaching was challenging, for some, it was also a valuable real-world learning experience.

“In the commercial digital art market, clients and collaborators are often working from all corners of the globe,” said Tommy Hartung, assistant teaching professor of digital media, arts, and technology. “Remote work experience is an excellent skill for students to learn. Digital art requires multiple layers of technology across many platforms and typically is not tied to a geographic location.”

As Hartung prepared students for a remote workflow, he comforted them with his own personal experience.

“I am often working on multiple projects with clients using the very same tools and remote production techniques they were going to use,” he said. “From a smartphone, I can access a variety of digital projects, control computers in other countries, and establish great working relationships with people I may never meet in person.”

Virtual Reality (VR) technology was a valuable tool for Hartung and students, too.

“The DIGIT (Digital Media, Arts, and Technology) program purchased and sent all students a device that turns any smartphone into a VR headset, so I was able to share educational content with students as VR experiences, which supplemented their assignments. Students also learned how to create their own VR content, too.”

Hartung requires students to keep digital journals and share class entries to create “micro-cultures” within each class.

ArtistsEntries are uploaded to a YouTube channel called Digital Humans (

“The journal entries for the spring 2020 semester were moving, to say the least,” he said. “We had in-class watch parties allowing everyone to see and understand how we live and work. It significantly improved morale when we could see one other at home being bored, playing music, walking dogs, and struggling to keep up with the demands of remote learning. Art brings collective catharsis and helps us release stress in this way.”