How to tackle the Elephant in the Zoom

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Yes I used that title on purpose because my Mum is really enjoying the new idioms. For those of you who read my last blog post, she’s a type one.

With rumours going around about University going online for the next academic year, it is easy to assume how it could work and fantasise about a non existent commute, so I am going to attempt to give some dubious advice on how to be a technology aficionado.

We have all basically been guinea pigs this term. Lecturers were given as little as a day’s notice to translate their classes into online content, and some people are struggling to adapt, so with the time we have between now and September it will at least give institutions time to plan.

For us, it’s a bit less straightforward. Luckily for me, my parents anticipated that I was going to be a massive nerd when I was a kid, so they made sure my room had a big desk so I could study for the next forever few years. Not everyone has that space, and not everyone has a spare room they can take over or even some kind of private area. Do you really want you parents overhearing your one contribution to the class? Probably not.

The one investment that was worth making for me was a decent set of headphones with an inbuilt microphone. Yes we will all look like aeroplane pilots but it does filter out background noise. I live on a main (ish) road. I need headphones.

Another thing to remember is that this whole situation is a bit weird. No one is expecting perfection. My lecturer used a space themed background today and no one batted an eyelid. As less people are turning up, it has also been a great opportunity to get more tailored advice and discuss assignments with my classmates without it being too chaotic.

I know people are worried about Zoom as an application too, but I’ve never had to make an account. Teachers will set up the link for you, so all you have to do is click on that to join the session, or if you go directly through Zoom you enter the meeting number and the password. One good thing about it is that it highlights the speaker so it is easier to tell if someone is talking, so there’s not 5 million things going on at once.

Lastly, if being online is something that is going to be a struggle, reach out. Contact your relevant support at your university, message or call a lecturer that you feel comfortable talking to. It is not your fault and it is not in anyone’s control. Your education is important regardless of how it is delivered, and we can only get through this together ❤

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