Underrated Potential of Comics

In addition to the classes I take for credit towards my undergraduate degree here at Mary Washington, there is another class that I attend weekly that doesn’t count for credit at the registrar’s office. This class is RCIA or Rite of Christian Initiation in Adults. As an incoming freshman, I joined this class offered through the UMW Catholic Campus Ministry at 8:15pm every Thursday night seeking answers to the tough teachings I had always struggled with in Catholicism. The class was (and still is) an interactive layout where a lot of the learning is done by students asking questions and our chaplain answering them. This format is helpful to me as a student in-class. When I study outside of class though, I am a visual learner who is not successful at self-teaching through lengthy reading material. Since I wanted to learn as much as I could in my free time about the faith which I have come to love whole-heartedly, I searched for visual materials that could help me keep track of the reasoning behind certain teachings.

If you were to think of a comic, it would probably be made of paper and in a physical format. Sophia SketchPad creates unusual comics. Instead of being presented through a paper medium, these comics can be found in video format online. The sketch artist draws the comics as he/she is being filmed and narration is recorded over the process. The material being taught through the comic is better received by the viewer when it is shown being drawn because it gives time to let the message sink in. With the narration accompanying the drawing, there is a rhythm that is not always provided by comics on paper. These videos show an unnoticed potential of comics which can be to lull the reader into a rhythm to more smoothly convey the messages that are being put across. I think that there is a natural rhythm that develops when people read and especially with comics there is a natural cadence that occurs when the reader finds a balances between looking at illustrations and reading text. Not to say that all subjects of learning can be converted into comic form, but comics give an advantage to education because it not only has textual matter but visual aids to reinforce the textual messages. Comics are underrated forms of teaching because it covers both textual learners and visual learners under one umbrella. The way that a comic has distinct transitions between panels also helps readers to clearly separate ideas from each other which I find extremely helpful. I tend to zone out during instruction but when watching these comic videos, my attention kept being recollected when it would switch panels. Separation of panels provides clear steps to follow which ultimately leads down a path to an end goal of understanding. Sophia SketchPad YouTube Channel.

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