Mary Seiner, Staff Writer
Zoom, like any online learning module, has its pros and cons. For a student body that was not prepared to learn at home with their families, Zoom incites various opinions about its applicability in a professor’s online curriculum.
Zoom presents students with some normality in an otherwise unconventional situation. As students are stuck in a time where they must practice social distancing, Zoom gives much needed interaction that cannot be gained through Moodle posts or discussion forums.
“In Stephen Mead’s Shakespeare class, we have scenes we have to act out real time in front of the class, and that can still happen because of Zoom,” said Max Dumyahn, a junior and History major.
Students find that the level of interaction and engagement Zoom provides is a healthy change for their learning, at least in comparison to non-video platforms. Rather than merely completing an online assignment, the program helps students manage their time, maintain consistent schedules, and stay focused when in the presence of their classmates and professors. The direct contact can help students to engage with their class’s learning material. Zoom ultimately offers a different medium for learning, and students can find that Zoom helps them better absorb information than through Moodle. When classes are conducted strictly through Moodle discussion forums, the class engagement is typically low.
While the program offers students a taste of their once regular, college routine, Zoom bears some disadvantages. Some students may have internet issues at home; and while discussion forums on Moodle allow students to participate at any time, a Zoom class requires students to contribute at a definite time. Lagging and skipping, among many other technical problems, can occur frequently during a Zoom conversation; therefore, organizing class lectures or discussions over video may be challenging.
For students living outside the Pacific Time Zone, attending a class that may be as long as two hours can be difficult to manage. The disorienting aspect of participating in class during a time that a student is not accustomed to, as well as in a setting completely different from their peers, can add unneeded anxiety in an already stressful situation.
“I think the professors should stick to what they are comfortable with while we all adjust to the new environment, but they should definitely make sure to record each lecture using the built-in function and post the lectures on their Moodle page for students that had to miss the session or can’t attend for any reason,” Jake Nicholas, a senior Math major said.
“I also know some professors have set up office hours as a Zoom meeting, and I feel like that can also be helpful to students if they need that extra interaction with their professors,” added Nicholas.
Dumyahn said, “I think professors should have Zoom meetings that mirror their regular class etiquette (or at least as close as possible to that), since I know a majority of us students are struggling with this transition. If the classes were conducted in a similar manner, such as with lectures or discussions, it would take some stress off of the student because we acclimated to that kind of class before switching to online, instead of the professor creating an entirely new way for us students to learn.”