The time has come to abandon Zoom and return to the era of whiteboards and squeaky desk chairs. No longer will we have to endure the hardships of a failed internet connection and the daunting task of pressing the spacebar to unmute. We will not have to stare at a video playing three frames per second and utter words without getting cut off mid-sentence.
My friends, we can once again walk to the soda machine only to find that it’s broken and go crazy over a lack of parking spaces. But before we embark on this perilous journey of learning how to distance ourselves from social distancing socially, here are 10 perks of online lectures that will be missed.
Pajama day, every day.
The pandemic was a special time when there was no longer judgment for a messy appearance, and with that came the excuse to wear pajamas constantly. In fact, I don’t remember a single instance where I felt uncomfortable in my seat and had to adjust. Although this doesn’t apply to everyone, especially those who had a part-time job, dressing informally was fun while it lasted.
Pets interrupting meetings.
Many pets loved to snoop in on what their humans were up to and entered many Zoom meetings unannounced with students working from home. This led to a generous amount of wholesome moments where people would bring their pets to the camera and smiles would erupt from throughout the virtual classroom. As cool as it would be to recreate the moment, nothing can match the experience happening live during a lecture.
For a time, there was no need to ask the instructor what they wrote on the board because every word that was screen-shared appeared legible. In my opinion, the image quality on an electronic device far exceeded what could be produced by a projector and it appeared less cluttered than a whiteboard. Screen sharing might not have been flawless, but its convenience and easy-on-the-eyes design are something to be missed.
Absence of hand raising.
Students sure got less handy in the virtual classroom due to webcams cutting off anything above the head and below the chest, including hand-raising. Rather than use the hand-up emoji, it became a habit to take turns speaking more efficiently and saved a lot of time. Real-time communication doesn’t work online, so hand-raising will likely stick when classrooms become in-person again.
Proximity to the cafeteria, bathrooms, and classes.
Remember when the cafeteria was on the other side of the school or going to the bathroom required a 10-minute walk? With everyone being cooped up inside their homes, not a single facility was out of range and attending classes on the other side of the campus could now be done with the click of a button. Going back to in-person classes means more walking. But hey, at least there’s a benefit to getting more exercise.
Zoom audio customization.
It can be hard sometimes to hear someone when they’re positioned towards the opposite side of the room, but there was the ability to raise and lower volumes with ease in the virtual environment. One could even mute themselves entirely to drown out any background noises they didn’t want others to hear. While it could be irritating to respond to a question only to realize the audio was muted, the personalization features of Zoom audio are one to be missed.
Zoom breakout rooms.
This Zoom feature took group conversation to another level by putting each team into a separate session and letting them discuss amongst each other without anyone else. Unlike in-person groups, there was no outside discussion preventing members from hearing one another and the groups were more spread out than in a campus lecture. It made the class feel closely connected, and that bond is irreplaceable.
No need to deal with parking.
Any college student, regardless of the institution, knows that parking on campus can be a struggle. But for a brief period of time, there was no need to race against a stampede of people for a spot in the lot because lectures were being held online. Now that classes are back on campus, it is time to prepare for the parking apocalypse.
They say the early bird gets the worm, but the early bird arrived 30 minutes before class got the empty virtual room during the pandemic. With little preparation and traveling needed before class, students could sleep for longer durations and feel more rested. While I can’t speak for everyone, I personally felt more alert during virtual classes and will miss feeling refreshed every morning.
The convenience of online programs like Canvas.
Calendars, homework, books, assignments – everything was compiled together on the learning management system known as Canvas. Although the platform existed before the pandemic, it was only when learning transitioned online that people fully relied on it. In my opinion, Canvas makes keeping track of things a piece of cake and, although it won’t disappear completely, it’ll be a shame to use it less frequently.
Online lectures may not have been perfect, but they were just what we needed to get through these difficult times. It just shows that no matter what stands in our way, we students will never let up on our education efforts. Now hurry up and follow me, we have a class to attend!