It’s not your typical school year, and the Carrier Dome isn’t your typical classroom.

“Look, I’m not Dino Babers," said Jeff Rubin, an SU professor and the founder of Sidearm Sports. "I’m not Jim Boeheim, but I’ve got 150 or so students that are here listening and learning for an hour. My own form of coaching.”

What You Need To Know

  • The Carrier Dome hasn’t welcomed many guests since the renovations

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the school to pivot, and the bleachers are now filled with students listening to a lecture

  • The Dome is also used for SU's coronavirus testing

Rubin stands on a special riser in the middle of the Carrier Dome field. About 150 students sit in the bleachers.

“Nothing can substitute for being in person with students," said Rubin. "You feed off their energy and their questions.”

Rubin teaches IST 195. The class is in the iSchool and focuses on how technology influences everything we do, so it’s only fitting that Rubin was the first to transform the massive video board into a 21st century chalk board.

“Could not have done it without a lot of support from the university staff and the Dome staff to make this work, but the students are back," said Rubin. "They’re back in the classroom where they should be."

Last spring, the transition to fully remote learning was rocky. Rubin knew the Dome wouldn’t be ready for the fall semester, but in October he emailed the man in charge of the building to plead his case for this semester.

“I reached out to Pete Sala, and literally my message said, ‘Pete, before you say no, can you just keep reading?’ " said Rubin. "And I gave all the reasons why I thought I could teach a class in here and he replied 'sure.' And that’s all I needed.”

On Monday and Wednesday mornings, Rubin makes his dream a reality. He lectures, looking out at his students in his new classroom with some unique decorations.

“Floyd Little was super close to me and my family, so for me to be able to stand up here every day and to be looking at his name is just precious,” said Rubin.