Upon receiving Fr. Poorman’s email about UP’s virtual fall 2020, my first thought was “Please don’t let there be synchronous class meetings this time.”
After UP had gone virtual last March, I was one of the students who selected “Join without video” on Zoom conferences, and I dreaded hearing a professor say “Please keep your cameras on!” Online school is never going to resemble that of in-person, so why even bother?
All but one of my classes this semester are synchronous. However, this year is different. I join my classes with my camera on, and many of my classmates do too. I’m pleasantly surprised by how much better it feels to see faces. There is something oddly unifying about beaming into class from various spots around the world and seeing actual humans rather than that stark black screen with the white font of a name. Plus, the various cat and dog special guests always make me smile.
I have been yearning for the college community so many of us have been barred from. Staring at a screen won’t match being on campus, that will always be true. However, the ability to visually and auditorily connect with other students and staff keeps learning personable. It’s a bright spot in my day. So, I know it’s awkward sometimes. But for the sake of keeping a sliver of community in online learning, here is my plea to the UP student body to switch your cameras on, if you feel comfortable, whenever possible.
Caroline Dockerty is a junior organizational communication major. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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