Professor’s Online Memorial Draws Plaudits for Innovation

February 28, 2019 @ 6:28 pm
By Communications Office

The School’s online memorial gathering for the late Prof. Steven Schinke is featured in the February 26, 2019, issue of Inside Higher Ed.

The death of beloved faculty member Steven P. Schinke on New Year’s Day 2019 brought an outpouring of grief and remembrances from students, faculty, and colleagues.

D’Elbert and Selma Keenan Professor Steven Schinke also served as faculty director of the School’s Online Campus, working closely with administrative director Matthea Marquart. As a supplement to the traditional memorial service scheduled for February 1 at an Upper East Side church, Marquart and others organized an online memorial to take place a week before. For those unable to attend in person, or who wanted to celebrate Schinke in the medium where they knew him best, the online event was by all accounts a moving and appropriate tribute.

Reporter Lindsay McKenzie wrote about the online memorial for Inside Higher Ed‘s #Inside Digital Learning column. She focused on the nuts and bolts of holding this kind of event in the online space, quoting Marquart as saying: “What I heard from folks afterwards was that they didn’t know an online event could be so intimate. That you could convey so much emotion or feel so close to people.”

Despite locating no models for an event of this kind, Marquart and her team hosted the gathering on their usual teaching platform, Adobe Connect. They incorporated digital versions of many elements that make an in-real-life memorial meaningful including an invitation, a moment of silence, prepared remarks, poetry, a slideshow of tributes and quotations, a guest book, and an open mic.

As McKenzie writes: “Given that so many students now study exclusively online and may not ever meet their professors in person, Marquart hopes the memorial for Schinke might serve as a useful template for other colleges looking to organize memorials for online faculty.”

Read the full article here.

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