While remote learning is nothing like meeting in person, it has its pluses. This fall’s Magazine and Feature Writing classes, taught by Professor David Alm, are benefitting from the focused intimacy of a Zoom call, allowing students to work both in small groups and as a whole to develop their ideas and polish their writing without the pressures of in-person contact. The virtual environment seems to elicit a degree of candor and intention that can be hard to achieve in a classroom setting, where physicality—the room itself and the people in it—can sometimes be a limiting factor. Online, all that matters are the ideas and the words on the page, making the writing workshops both rigorous and engaging. The ideal, moving forward, will be to incorporate the best of remote learning into the classroom experience.
Professor Alm has been busy with his own writing as well. In August, he published two longform narratives related to his avocation, long-distance running: one for Runner’s World about a young woman who was raised in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, got out, and through athletics, built a new life; the other, for GQ, is a profile of the Olympic sprinter Tommie Smith, whose raised fist on the awards podium at the 1968 games in Mexico City would make him an icon of the civil rights era. More recently, Alm has published features in GQ about the growing “protest run” movement and documentarian Alex Gibney’s recent film about Russian election meddling. Congrats on all this great work Professor Alm!