As a FASS Student just starting my first week of online-only classes at UTS, I took the opportunity to reach out to my experienced peers to get the student perspective on Zoom. So, now it’s time for some real-life-but-online student feedback! Here are some of the things students love about Zoom, plus a few things your students might have questions about.
Amongst all the tools that Zoom has to offer, the breakout room feature has proved to be popular with the students I spoke to. This feature allows students to move into separate, smaller groups while still being online and having the opportunity to interact with the tutor – just like in class.
I love the breakout room feature! I can talk to my group members and then get feedback from my tutor in real time. It’s just like sitting in class but only I’m on my couch in my pyjamas.Alex
I also like the zoom feature of breakout rooms! It’s great to be able to ask a question just to the lecturer, and have the lecturer answer it directly and privately without feeling dumb in front of the rest of the class.Tash
While navigating student engagement in Zoom may be daunting at first, there are some positives – essentially, each and every student is now sitting at the front of the classroom. This means that Zoom offers opportunities for students who are less likely to engage in loud classroom activities with the Hand raise feature or chat option.
I’m all about the hand raising feature because our classes have a lot of people who just talk over each other and if you’re introverted it can be hard to get a word in edgewise.Mark
I like that you can ask questions during the lecture or tutorial in the chat and they actually get answered! And it’s not awkward.Polina
Zoom is a new tool for students too! Sometimes, we get confused about how we should be interacting during the zoom meeting.
For example, if we have a question, do we (a) turn on our microphone to ask our tutor, (b) ask this question in the chat feature or (c) use the hand raise feature?
There are lots of options, and the solution might look different depending on whether Zoom is being used for a lecture, tutorial, seminar or lab. So, make sure to clearly outline how your students should interact.
Overcoming hiccups and hurdles
With any new tools, there will always be some hoops to jump through. For example, in synchronous lectures where academics choose to keep the videos for students turned off to focus on the subject matter, there are a few downsides.
I find it easier to ask questions when I can’t see the other people in the classroom. Lectures feel more personal… but on the flip side I think professors lecture faster when they can’t see students’ confusion, so it can be easier to get lost if they aren’t checking in.Suzanne
Of course, there are always the classic hiccups of microphone meltdowns, or videos being accidentally left on. These are to be expected when adjusting to the new world of online learning.
Some final tips
We all appreciate it! The overwhelming feedback I received from every single student was that they are so grateful for all the hard work their academics have put in to make sure that even in a crisis, we can continue learning. Here are a few other points to remember going forward.
We can be clueless sometimes, so make sure you post the links to online sessions in the same place every time.Ivy
Check in with your students during lectures.Polina
Please ask all your students to mute their microphones, I don’t want to hear someone’s mother ask them to unpack the dishwasher for the third time.Aidan
You should include support pathways as a part of your email when contacting students about Zoom sessions. Here are some of the support options for students:
- The official UTS Student Zoom guide can help students navigate the basics of Zoom. Further pages under the drop down menu on the left-hand navigation bar will teach them more about how to connect, participate and use the tool.
- If students are having technical difficulties with their Zoom application, they can contact the IT Support Centre or submit a request for help using ServiceConnect.
- For login or password problems, contact UTS IT Support online, over the phone (+61) 2 9514 2222 or on campus.
- If students are having difficulty seeing announcements or receiving notifications from Canvas, they can can access 24/7 help by using the Help menu in Canvas to chat with or call 24/7 Canvas Support (+61) 1800 017 123.
Feature image by pch.vector.