Zoom is the new classroom

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For many students, Zoom, Skype and Canvas are their new classrooms for the forseeable future.

Zoom, Skype and Canvas are the new classrooms for college students amid Covid-19. This may be what classes look like for many students well after the quarantine is over.

These apps can be accessed from the comfort of a bed, which may be the reason some students are saying they’ll be taking online courses for the remainder of their college career.

“Before all of this I would have never taken an online class because I like the face-to-face learning environment,” senior Ke’Ona Herron said. “But now I think I would if it were best for my schedule.”

Herron said her earliest class before the outbreak was a 1:30 p.m. lecture. She said even that was challenging to attend on time because she would stay up late studying the night before the lecture. Senior Makyla Charles said she experienced the same complications with on-campus classes.

“The hardest part is getting out of bed for class,” Charles said. “Now I literally do my homework in my pajamas. I’ll definitely take at least one class online until I graduate.”

Charles plans to graduate Spring 2021. She said she enjoys being on campus and socializing with her peers, but when it comes to schoolwork, she prefers to do it in the comfort of her own home.

“I love online class,” Charles said. “I just have so much freedom.”

Because of the switch to online classes, many teachers have given students 24-hour access to slides, presentations and lectures. When classes are held face-to-face, many professors require attendance to retrieve certain information. After the transition to online classes, every student in a class has the same amount of information.

While the switch to online classes was seamless for some students, others had difficulties with Wi-Fi access and acquiring electronics to complete their schoolwork.

Oklahoma State offered students a chance to rent a laptop from Edmon Low Library. Although laptops were limited, this action relieved stress for students who don’t have the luxury of owning their own laptop. The Student Union Activities Board social media director, sophomore Micah Damon, said she relied on the library’s computers to get all her class work done.

“When I found out we had to finish classes online I panicked,” Damon said. “I had to send an email out to all my professors basically saying, 'I don’t have a laptop, and I can’t afford one either.' That was a rough day.”

Damon was among the students who were able to secure a laptop from the library. She said she’s happy she was able to get a laptop and that classes are easier with it. Damon said she is saving up to get her own laptop so she can take online classes, because it has made her life easier.

Efficiency and better grades are two more reasons students are considering keeping their schoolwork online.

“My grades are better now,” Herron said.

Herron said her calculus professor canceled any tests the class required, which has helped her and her classmate’s grades tremendously. The only thing that counts toward her grade now is homework, quizzes, past exams and a short paper the professor recently added in place of the exams the class will not be able to take.

“A lot of us were failing before,” Herron said. “This will hopefully give failing students a chance to pass.”

The pass or fail system OSU put in place has helped students this academic semester.

Herron said many students from her calculus class who were going to drop the class now feel they can pass. Herron said her initial concern was passing with a decent grade that wouldn’t negatively affect her GPA.

“The pass or fail system gave me so much relief,” Herron said. “I needed that.”

While Herron had major changes to her calculus two syllabus, she said the way she learns didn’t change.

“I use online sources such as YouTube videos to learn more about what confused me in class, and if that doesn’t work, I usually email the teacher,” Herron said. “He uses Zoom to help more than one of us at a time."

Students are getting through classes one Zoom call at a time.

“I didn’t know what Zoom was at first,” Damon said. “I’ve had SUAB meetings on there, lectures and quarantine birthday parties.”

Zoom has become an academic tool for college students as well as a playground to practice social distancing.

“I miss my friends, but I do like Zoom,” Damon said.

news.ed@ocolly.com