Creating Excellence in Teaching (with Zoom) Series

The true mettle of faculty and students was tested in 2020 as in-person classes in higher education transitioned online to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. In a span of a few days or weeks, faculty members had to rethink how to deliver their lectures and course content. Even if they were accustomed to teaching online, teaching students who had the expectation of face-to-face learning required special consideration. Students, most of whom would fall into the digital natives category, found themselves having to navigate around a variety of tech tools.

Image by Hatice EROL from Pixabay

To offer learning experiences that somehow emulated the in-person classroom lectures, many faculty members live-streamed class sessions via a video conference platform. At FHSU, Zoom is one of the tools. In the span of just a few months, there was an overwhelming increase in the use of these tools. With class sessions mostly being offered virtually, it created a new norm of Netflix-like binging. The result was ’Zoom fatigue’.

A growing frustration with the perceived limitations of video conferencing inspired a surge of discussions questioning the practicality and effectiveness of the virtual classroom. The criticism of Zoom diet echoed the critique often associated with traditional lectures, i.e., instructor role focused on being a sage on the stage as opposed to a guide on the side, or even a combination. Zoom attendees would experience fatigue and boredom in great part because limitations imposed by the Zoom platform provided fewer perceived opportunities for real-time discussion or connection.

Image by Joseph Mucira from Pixabay

Instead of focusing on the limitations imposed by the Zoom interface, let’s celebrate faculty members who accepted the challenge of creating excellence in the online classroom during this pandemic. They introduced innovative ways of bringing students together and engaging them in a virtual learning space to encourage active learning. Despite having to teach in a virtual space, they make careful considerations and create clear strategies to encourage optimum participation among their students.

In this series of articles, FHSU faculty will showcase insights and best practices for using Zoom as part of their teaching strategy. If you are also interested in sharing your insights and best practices, please email TigerLearn@fhsu.edu with subject “Zoom Best Practices” for more details.

References

Kim, J. (2020, November 8). Higher Ed needs to go on a Zoom diet. Retrieved from Inside Higher Ed: https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/learning-innovation/higher-ed-needs-go-zoom-diet22

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