Students React to Zoom After Half a Semester


Dietlinde Heilmayr, working at home on Zoom

With the College fully operating online now, students and professors alike have been thrust into an unpredictable situation. We now must rely on Zoom to attend class and schedule meetings. 

Zoom hasn’t personally affected my experience much, given that I am only enrolled in two courses this semester, and one of them was already designed to be online. So, overall, I don’t have any gripes about Zoom; I just miss the in-person interactions. 

The students I interviewed talked about how they’re experiencing online learning — and making it work.

‘One of my professors just posts lectures that we can watch on our own, and the other professor has live Zoom classes,” said senior Carly Danoski, an environmental science major. “The posted lectures are nice because I can fit them in around other work, and the other professor has been super considerate of the difficult period everyone is going through.”

Danoski was grateful that she’d mostly finished the lab work involved in her honors project before leaving campus; the writing she could do from home. Collaborating with her advisor was more challenging, although her defense “went pretty smoothly” on Zoom.

Harder has been the lack of one-on-one interaction. “I mostly miss interacting with my classmates and friends on campus, which tends to make the workload and stress of classes more bearable,” she said.

Another environmental science student, first-year Anthony Disipio, noted that Zoom isn’t ideal for science courses. “I haven’t had a zoology lab since online classes started, which really limits the class to lectures.” They’re “decent,” he said, but hard to sit through.

Being away from the college environment takes more focus, as well. “I can get distracted easily due to the more home environment, [so] some assignments get pushed off until a point where I have to cram to get them done.”

Alexandra Smyth, a senior psychology major, agrees. “There’s typically household distractions, and recently the connection for many people has not worked,” she said. “But [Zoom] is something I have gotten used to. Professors have gotten more acquainted with it, [too], so it is slowly becoming easier.”

Everyone I interviewed for this story said they missed their peers and the classroom environment, with the “collaborate experience” that takes place there, as first-year Madisen Snyder put it.

But there are upsides to Zooming from home, Snyder said. “I can wake up five minutes before class starts, and it’s completely acceptable for me to have a bed head and be wearing pajamas.”

Senior art major Grace Gilbert has arguably the most unique experience.

Gilbert began this semester studying in Madrid, but the coronavirus forced her to return home in mid-March. Now, Gilbert is continuing her classes online like the rest of us, although with professors in Spain. 

“It’s difficult for me since my teachers are in a different time zone and most of the time I listen to the recordings instead of tapping into the live session. If I want to be live, I have to take class in the middle of the night. It’s also a challenge that all of the classes are in Spanish and I can’t verbally ask a question in real time.”

On the plus side, Gilbert gets to spend more time with her family and has more control of her schedule. “I don’t have a long commute to school like I did in Madrid,” she said. “I can do classes at any point in the day, and I can pause my classes if I need to take more detailed notes.”

Overall, it seems the general consensus is that students miss the campus; I definitely do.

As a senior, it’s upsetting knowing that my last few months at Moravian are gone. But I am still thankful that Zoom gives us the ability to finish our spring semester studies.

This is a difficult time for everyone involved, but we are lucky enough to live in an era where technology gives us the ability to stay connected.