As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced Loomis Chaffee to close its campus for the rest of the year, the school has made the decision to transition to online learning for the remainder of the school year. Loomis has adopted Zoom as the online platform through which to conduct virtual teaching. Class schedules were modified to best accommodate students who live in different time zones.
Required to move courses online with only a few weeks notice, faculty and students have already faced challenges in their new learning environment. For example, Loomis Chaffee was not free from “Zoombombing” or “Zoom raiding” by uninvited participants, and some students are experiencing fatigue due to a time difference.
I believe that online learning is not without its flaws. Personally, being used to physical interactions with peers and teachers, I found Zoom hard to adapt to. Furthermore, having to attend classes from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. due to differences in time zones, I found it difficult to concentrate as drowsiness set in.
Students have expressed concerns about the newly adopted 50-minute class format, which is 25 minutes shorter than a traditional class. Some students feel that classes are often rushed and materials are not covered in sufficient detail.
“I believe that some material is briefly explained and the class moves on right away as there isn’t much time for further explanation. However, in the classroom environment, the teacher would typically slow the class down for greater clarity,” Justin Wu ’22 said.
I ag that class material is being taught in a hasty manner and that the teachers have had less time to explain certain ambiguities.
Additionally, many students feel that online classes lack a sense of community due in large part to the lack of student interactions.
“It’s hard to learn as I don’t get to have physical interactions, which greatly helps me feel involved while learning,” DQ Nguyen ’22 said.
Others feel that Zoom’s intimidating speaker spotlight feature, which directs the attention to the person talking, discourages them from speaking up in class.
“I feel that the spotlight feature makes some of my peers who usually speak up several times during classes not want to speak up as they feel insecure about the camera being directed towards their face, ” Jim Le ’23 said.
It is likely that the longer the online learning continues, the more improvements will be made to accommodate students’ concerns, especially as a survey circulated this past week. Virtual learning will also become more familiar to faculty and students. Although the Loomis Chaffee community is in positive spirits to adapt to this new environment, I look forward to returning to campus to engage more deeply in Loomis classrooms.