It’s crazy to think that a little over a year ago, we all had no idea what Zoom was or how big of a role it would eventually play in our lives. Now, we are all intimately familiar with Zoom and understand how it works, including breakout rooms, polling and even Zoom etiquette. However, despite almost constant use for over a year, the platform is still relatively new to all of us, and both professors and students are still trying to learn how to use it to maximize our learning and social experiences.
The first thing that we believe all professors should do is always give breaks during class. For some students, an hour and a half can be a really long time to have to sit in class. A 10-minute break is almost essential to ensure that we do not lose focus and can absorb the necessary information. Despite some rumors of the administration encouraging professors to give students a 10-minute break, there are some that still struggle to consistently give breaks, and some students often find themselves not performing as well in these classes as a result. Professors should remember that they used to teach these same classes in 80-minute blocks. We know that they are capable of presenting this same information in this time frame. For in-person classes, we know that it may seem unnecessary to give students a break since students can’t really go anywhere, but they should consider letting students out of class 10 minutes early in lieu of a break.
Additionally, there are some professors that have disabled private chatting between students during class. While this is understandable to the extent that this may be akin to chatting during class, what it does under the circumstances of the pandemic is that it simply dampens some of the already limited social interaction that we get. Some of the best highlights of class that make us feel good are when someone messages us saying that they love the point that we made in class, or that our dog in the background is cute.
Finally, while we understand that Zoom has been a challenge for all of us, both students and professors included, we strongly urge professors to do their own research to learn how the polling feature works or how breakout rooms work and try to see how they can implement these features successfully during class. While we understand that learning new technology can be challenging, it can be incredibly painful to sit there awkwardly while the teacher struggles to learn how to use Zoom, even a year into online learning.