Luis Zuniga takes an outdoor approach


Photo by Joseph Giddings

Professor Luis Zuniga instructs his UMOJA and Honors music class.

Joseph Giddings, Staff Writer

Amid a nearly two year absence from in-person, Los Medanos College students are returning back to campus, hoping to regain a sense of normalcy in education, similar to the experiences they had prior to the pandemic. One professor works to fulfill the needs of his students, through unconventional means.

For his UMOJA and Honors music course, Professor Luis Zuniga takes his teaching outdoors, as a way of promoting both safety and comfort, due to the current circumstances.

“I decided to teach this course outside, in an attempt to have all the students together in a ventilated area, in order to provide some peace of mind for the students,” said Zuniga.

Despite the potential risk of the surging Omicron variant, Zuniga believes that students want to return to in-person instruction based upon his own surveys and experiences with students throughout the previous semester. With a class roster of 45, students are quick to interact and engage with Zuniga throughout his 1 hour and 25 minute lecture. The class is held on Mondays outside of the LMC music department building.

I decided to teach this course outside, in an attempt to have all the students together in a ventilated area, in order to provide some peace of mind for the students.

— Luis Zuniga

“They are really excited that the class is back in-person,” said Zuniga.

Ritci Dicomong, a student in Zuniga’s class, describes how she looks forward to attending the course due to its outdoor setting and Zuniga’s fun style of teaching. She is interested in the world of music, with Zuniga’s class providing a new and interesting experience to the in-person setting. Zuniga teaches his students about the history of music as we know it today as well as the underlying function and elements of music as a whole, all the while doing so in a safe and protected manner.

Although such enthusiasm and participation has been demonstrated by his students throughout his courses, Zuniga feels that there may be students who simply prefer to learn through online teaching, leaving the state of learning to be forever changed.

“Staff members need to be aware that different modalities work for certain types of students…we must make the adjustments to provide the classes in the ways that students are more comfortable with taking these courses,” said Zuniga. Ultimately, he feels that students must evaluate what works best for them.

In addition, Zuniga urges responsibility, accountability and communication among teachers and students regarding their health as a means of ensuring safety for both the students and staff. Through quarantining, vaccinations and frequent health checkups, Zuniga believes that the safe environment required in order to teach in-person will be maintained.

Throughout the remainder of the semester, as well as the rest of the pandemic, Zuniga reminds us to be mindful of the thoughts and feelings of others, as we’re all getting through these difficult times together.

“Everybody is in this pandemic, and this has affected people in many different ways, so being patient and being understanding of other people is key.”