UM students Zoom into online learning during COVID-19 pandemic

Zoom Class for The University of Mississippi. Photo by Jaznia Tate.
A University of Mississippi Zoom class. Photo by Jaznia Tate.

Jaznia Tate

Anna Tate 
Oxford Stories

University of Mississippi students and teachers are adjusting to a new way of life and learning as classes have Zoomed online during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While some students say their workload has increased, others say they now have less coursework and a more flexible schedule.

Ayesha Sanders, a University of Mississippi freshman from Dlo, Mississippi, said she feels she is doing more coursework than before.

“My first semester here at Ole Miss was rough after coming from a smaller high school,” she said. “The classes were big, and the work was harder. So when we all got the news, I was excited, but then also a little depressed, because I do love Oxford and Ole Miss, but this meant that classes might be like dual enrollment. But now, I take everything back. My workload has tripled, and I still miss this amazing university.”

As the pandemic evolves, many colleges and universities are now using Zoom, a video teleconferencing service headquartered in San Jose, California that enables remote conferencing, online meetings, chat, and mobile collaboration.

Virtual classrooms have perks, such as being able to attend class in your pajamas, but no advancement is without issue. Not every student has access to the internet, or high speed internet.

“Zoombombing” is also a new word that has entered conversations in recent weeks. Zoombombing occurs when someone uninvited joins a Zoom meeting to harass participants with cursing or racial slurs. The University of Mississippi is working to solve these issues by holding Zoom training meetings.

Cortlynn Harris, a junior integrated marketing communications student, said her workload has also increased after the move to online education.

“I feel as though I complete one assignment, and three more are being added,” Harris said. “Some professors might have taken the free time that we were given and decided to assign work to fill that free time, but that workload increased too much with no guidance.”

However, Morgan Williams, another junior integrated marketing and communications student, said her workload has decreased.

“Many people may feel that there is an increase in the workload because they might not have the best time management,” she said. “It really is just people having the mindset of school being an option, when it isn’t.”

Online classes require a lot of self-accountability and time management. When they register for an online class at UM, students receive a survey to help them assess if they have the time and skills to complete an online class.

Jahmari Brown participating in a Zoom Class. Photo by Jaznia Tate.
Jahmari Brown participating in a Zoom class. Photo by Jaznia Tate.

UM student Jahmari Brown took three online classes last semester and now likes the format.

“I like online classes because it gives me time to arrange my schedule however I like,” he said. “I also like that it gives me free range to do whatever I like and not have to sit in class and bore myself because I don’t like the style of teaching.”

With the switch being so sudden, there are still many kinks to work out like figuring out how much work is too much for students, granting the right amount of leniency, and offering support.

Colleges and universities across the world are working to ensure that students have access to get the resources they need during this uncertain time.

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