Most universities nationwide have made the switch to online classes via Zoom, a Skype-like program that works much better, due to the COVID-19 outbreak. With this comes the new classroom setting of your own home. Everywhere, students lay in bed, sit at make-shift desks, and struggle to keep their pets away as the professor teaches. With these new and odd settings, how can students continue to keep the proper academic dynamic between themselves and professors?
After a few weeks of continuing classes via Zoom myself, I've found that there are definitely ways to keep the session professional and not chaotic or too laid back. In our first online class, one of my professors set up ground rules for how it would go-- she stated that everyone must mute their microphones if they aren't talking, and additionally, if you wanted to speak, you must either physically raise your hand or do so with the "raise hand" button within Zoom. By having just these two rules in place, class moved very smoothly, or as smooth as it could for a first entirely online class session; I carried these same principles into my other two classes. I found that when other students didn't mute themselves, constant background noise was so loud that it became hard to hear the professor and concentrate on taking notes. When in class, it's definitely a great idea to mute yourself if you're not speaking; you wouldn't play a video on your phone for the duration of your physical class, would you?
Now, granted,some professors are more lenient when it comes to Emails, but maintaining a proper email etiquette when necessary is a great way to maintain the student to professor dynamic (Isabelle Doyle has a handy guide to email etiquette!). In short, unless a professor has stated otherwise, maintaining this proper etiquette will not only keep your head in the academic sphere, but it may also serve as a small piece of thanks to our professors-- telling them that their students are still trying on their work and making the most of their class.
Attend office hours if need be and ask questions. Many of my professors are continuing to hold virtual office hours, which is definitely useful for students who rely on their help out of the classroom. Just because you're learning from home doesn't mean you can lay back and throw half your efforts into the classwork. If a professor holds virtual office hours, and you even have one question, pop in to clear things up. Heck, with them being online, they should even be easier to attend!
All in all, classes remain the same, just shifted to entirely online, but that doesn't mean your efforts or outlooks on said class have to diminish. Keeping that student to professor dynamic virtually can ease your professors' nerves and help keep you motivated to finish out the semester strong.
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