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Blank stares don't care

Daniel Costa

Assistant Opinions Editor

Photo by Anjuan Simmons

Students currently enrolled at Rhode Island College all know the incredibly awkward feeling of a silent Zoom call. Upon asking a question to the class, the professor is greeted with complete silence, a few smirks from the students who know the situation is horribly awkward yet amusing, and the glazed over eyes that make up the majority of the class. After three semesters of “Zoom university,” some professors have yet to realize that some, if not most, students simply do not care about their courses.

Of course the student body wants to maintain steady grades. No one wants to fail and retake classes that would require pouring even more money into the school. However, the motivation for many is gone. Rather than aiming for exemplary grades for the love of learning and overall interest in their chosen fields, students are now aiming to merely survive in the grind of Zoom classes. It does not help that some professors still treat their classes akin to an in-person experience.

The scenario above is painfully prevalent in daily interactions on Zoom. It is not because students do not care about the topic being discussed or that we are lazy. The issue is motivation. It is hard to stay motivated for a course you can’t take seriously. It is hard to take a course seriously when the only thing reminding you about assignments due is the tiny head on your phone or computer. Even then, students have to be constantly reminded because they are busy staring into the existential void while the professor was discussing due dates.

Last semester, I was enrolled in two asynchronous classes and one hybrid class. The best thing about these formats was the relative freedom I possessed. I only had one class to attend to per week, leaving the scheduling for me to decide when and how I approached assignment due dates. The professors were just as demanding, if not more so, then the professors I have for my synchronous classes this semester. God willing, we will not have to endure another semester of Zoom university. However, if it were to happen, the asynchronous and hybrid course systems are the ways to go. The time wasted on Zoom calls of dubious significance do not benefit either the professor or the pupil. You can never replace an in person experience. Let the professors assign readings and assignments at their convenience, and let students find the time to do it at their own convenience as well!


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