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TCU 360

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Students adjust to Zoom classroom challenges

TCU students are currently required to wear a mask while on-campus. (Heesoo Yang/Staff Photographer)

Some students are struggling to keep up with online learning as the semester nears the halfway point.

Over half of courses are taking place online, presenting new obstacles for students.

Read more: Faculty opt to move 54% of classes online in the fall

One problem senior movement science major Annie Obereiner faces is inconvenient internet crashes while using the program.

“I live off-campus, and so having to figure out which roommate is using Zoom is really challenging because it is hard on the internet connection to have everyone on at once,” Obereiner said. “My roommate even had her Zoom crash in the middle of an exam.”

Along with technical difficulties, junior Brittan Webb said she struggles to learn from behind a screen.

“I definitely learn better in person with hands-on material and with my professors,” Webb said. “A lot of my professors are not using their cameras while on Zoom, and I struggle learning without facial expressions.”

Zoom offers different settings while on a conference call. Users have the option to mute their microphones, turn their cameras off and send messages in the built-in chat feature.

While these features allow flexibility, it also takes away the lively discussions of a classroom, Webb said.

“A lot of the discussions that would have normally happened in the classroom are now a required assignment on the discussion board,” Webb said. “This also just increases the workload for us.”

This workload has made Obereiner more accountable, she said.

“I really have to focus in class, because when I am at home there are so many distractions and I have to learn how to work around those,” she said.

A student waits to be allowed in to Zoom meeting. (Leslie Fields/Reporter)

Despite the challenges Zoom has brought, Webb said that it has improved since online classes began last March.

“I think Zoom is already much better than it was in the Spring semester,” Webb said. “I have all online classes so I spend a lot of time with the program, and it is already a lot smoother than last year,” Webb said.

Obereiner said she likes using the chat feature to ask more questions in class.

“It is easier to ask a question in class with the zoom feature without interrupting,” Obereiner said. “Being on Zoom is nice in terms of being at home because I do not have to worry about big gatherings.”

Still, both Obereiner and Webb said they are ready to be back in a real classroom.

“I would love to get back into the classroom,” Webb said. “Hopefully, people can get their acts together and stop partying if I’m being honest.”

Obereiner said she misses seeing friendly faces in the classroom.

“I would love to go back to class and openly sit next to my friends,” Obereiner said. “Even though right now, I know that is not really possible.”

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