BY PATRICK FINLAY
Xavier is continuing to learn how to operate on an online platform for many classes. With the ability to social distance and the requirement to wear masks, my hope was to be in person for all my classes. However, after one week I discovered that most of my school week was spent online. This has surprised me in a few ways.
One of the biggest problems I’ve encountered is trying to hear my professors over Zoom. This is the worst with my French class, as I’m sure it is with other language classes.
When the professor is already speaking words I don’t know it is really easy to get them mixed over the sound of the computer or phone. And if I do miss just a phrase or two, it is clunky to tap “unmute” and interrupt the professor to get clarification. Even when giving Zoom my full attention, I still miss a few phrases each class and they have sometimes been important.
With most homework and other resources online through Canvas and class time spent online through Zoom, I feel like my whole academic experience is spent on a computer. I have also found it much harder to keep track of assignments. Grasping a class from afar as we are doing now is unsettling and hurts our experience.
At the same time, I have found some upsides to using Zoom for classes. First, the chat feature on the Zoom app is helpful for asking questions without interrupting the professor. You can send a message to the whole group or just one person. It has been really useful for asking questions about where to find certain material or to communicate with a partner or a group. This feature helps the class move smoothly and efficiently through material.
Second, the ability to do class through the Zoom app on my phone has allowed me to be much more mobile during the day. It has freed up so much time for me and showed me how much of a class period is spent troubleshooting small things rather than filled with content. It is somewhat frustrating to find this out, considering how much we pay to attend Xavier.
Start and end times of classes have become much more fluid because I can hop on to a Zoom call from anywhere with my phone. Because of this extra time, I’m able to continue work for other classes. There is now no excuse to skip class, either. We all have the ability to join a call from our phone at any time. I’m hoping that this will make attendance grades an even easier bump to final grades.
In all, the Zoom class format has worked out pretty well. Although, the in-person classes that I’ve had don’t seem to prove any threat to our health. I can see how Zoom classes could stick around for a while because of the way it opens up our campus. You can listen to class from anywhere, and if managed correctly, your time can be used more effectively.