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Professor Emphasizes Interpersonal Skills During Pandemic

Joni Siani
Courtesy of Joni Siani
Joni Siani

A college professor whose course includes a digital cleanse says switching to online teaching in light of COVID-19 has produced interesting results. WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne spoke with Manhattanville College Visiting Assistant Professor Joni Siani about her digital socialization course and how the pandemic helped breed interpersonal communication skills.

Siani’s independent film “Celling Your Soul,” has been re-released on Amazon. It examines the first digitally socialized generation’s relationship with digital devices, and what to do about it. She says the 7-year-old documentary is relevant today, and that her current students feel the same as those in her film. Now, Siani says it took the pandemic for young people to understand and feel that there is a big difference between having social needs met authentically as opposed to through their digital experiences. She says it’s also important to learn to listen with empathy and patience.

Author and independent filmmaker Joni Siani is a visiting assistant professor at Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York.

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