Virtual classes have begun to be the norm during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the process in which they are being conducted is still under countless adjustments.
At West Virginia University and around the country, many instructors are relying on Zoom, an online video-chat software, in order to connect with students. Yet, varying complaints with the software have many asking how it can be better.
Last week, an elementary school teacher made a post on TikTok, saying that Zoom should incorporate a new option to benefit those in academia.
“Our students should be able to set their cameras to be only visible to the host,” Matt Head said in his video. “This should be a setting for the host or the students.”
The post, which was published to the video-sharing social media network last week, quickly became popular on the app. As of Wednesday afternoon, the video had received more than 365,000 likes and had been shared within the app nearly 5,000 times.
Additionally, most of the comments on the post seemed to be positively in favor of the proposed change.
In Monongalia County Public Schools, many classes already have this ability. The virtual learning system public schools use, Schoology, only allows students to see the instructor.
“With that system, the students can only be seen by the teacher,” said Kirk Hazen, professor of linguistics at WVU.
In a real classroom, Hazen said, you get to be seen by other students, and that’s part of the agreement of joining a class.
But, as classes are in a much different environment, many students have become self-conscious about the shift to a virtual classroom. This is primarily due to the fact that each student’s learning environment is different and may cause embarrassment for some.
Natalie Watson, a sophomore psychology student, says she feels intimidated that other students can look at her at all times when she has her camera on, and that makes her anxious.
“I feel like people are more likely to take a screenshot or video of people doing something on camera on Zoom,” Watson said.
Watson said she would feel more comfortable if only her professors could see her on camera.
“I never know what my setting is going to be,” Watson said. “Sometimes I don’t have time to put myself together as what I like to be.”
Since last March, the majority of classes at West Virginia University have been presented in some virtual capacity.
In a press release issued in October, WVU announced that 54% of online courses this semester are synchronous, meaning that they will have class sessions in real time.