We’ve been in virtual classes for a year and some people still haven’t gotten Zoom right. It’s whatever; I know it must be difficult to understand a simple video chat program in 12 months.
In one of my online lectures last week, nobody could hear my professor. We tried to speak up, but he couldn’t hear us either. We tried telling him in the chat box and emailing him, but to no avail. I genuinely felt bad as he gave an entire 50-minute silent lecture. Of course, this problem could have been avoided if he had just asked if we could hear him.
Most Zoom lectures usually begin with, “Can everyone hear me? Okay, I see one person nodding so let’s start.”
Bam, problem avoided. But audio issues are just one obstacle professors try to overcome when lecturing over video. We’ve all been there when a professor asks a question only to be met with blank faces and stares into the off-screen void. Luckily, there’s also that one student that can’t handle the awkward silence and engages.
Even when we manage to run a Zoom lecture smoothly, distractions are amplified. I’ll be trying to stay engaged in a lecture and all of a sudden it’s interrupted by a cat walking across someone’s screen or a dog going in for snuggles. How am I supposed to pay attention when there is a Lab staring at me?
Then there’s the person with a new background each week. Where is Jeremy going to be this time? The Bahamas? New York City? On the Moon? Sometimes this is the most exciting part of the lecture.
Zoom isn’t perfect, and a year of using it has led to distractions popping up so frequently they’ve become familiar. Luckily, we are over the coronavirus hump and won’t have to rely on this technology so much in the future. It’s not like a bunch of jobs are going virtual or anything.