Dixie State University students should still be able to attend classes through Zoom, even though the university is holding in-person classes.
DSU is bringing students back into the classroom after over a year of hy-flex learning, leaving students unsure if Zoom will remain an option or a thing of the past.
As the university returns to an in-person teaching format, the question remains: should students still have the option to attend school through Zoom?
During the height of COVID-19, students had become accustomed to attending class through Zoom. Some students enjoyed the flexibility of attending their classes from the comfort of their beds, while others felt they were missing out on personal connections with their professors.
Zoom provides students with the ability to attend class anywhere, whether it’s from their bed or at a coffee shop. Life happens and sometimes students aren’t able to attend class in person, but with Zoom, students don’t have to worry that they’re missing out on class discussions or assignments.
When I couldn’t attend a class in person last semester because I was flying home for spring break, Zoom allowed me to attend my class at the airport. I was still able to engage in discussions with my professor and classmates even though I wasn’t in the classroom.
Allowing students to still use Zoom, even with in-person classes, also makes education more accessible to students with disabilities. As a student with a disability, it can be difficult for me to attend class in person when I’m experiencing fatigue from medications or treatments. Zoom has allowed me and other students with disabilities to stay engaged in class work when we can’t attend class due to poor physical health.
Nicholas Gelbar, an associate research professor at the Neag School of Education, recently co-authored a study examining how students with disabilities have adjusted to an online learning format.
“What we found is that the students said there were things that were kind of advantageous and there were things that were harder in the online environment,” Gelbar stated. “[Students with disabilities] found the learning management systems accessible.”
DSU professors and administrators have expressed previous concerns that hybrid learning isn’t as effective as in-person instruction. As classes return to an in-person format, professors and administrators may be worried students will choose to attend their classes remotely rather than showing up to class in person. While I understand the concern, my friends and classmates have expressed a desire to attend their classes in person as opposed to an online format.
Hannah Kenrick, a junior digital film major from Hartland, Michigan, said she prefers interacting with her professors and classmates in person rather than attending her classes through Zoom. Kenrick said she has a harder time paying attention when her classes are held over Zoom.
“I prefer, for my own learning, in-person [classes], but I think that there’s a lot of students who really need the Zoom alternative,” Kenrick said.
Zoom has proven to be an important tool in the classroom, even though students and professors at DSU have expressed a preference for an in-person teaching format. Despite this preference, DSU students should still have the choice to attend class through Zoom when necessary. Giving students the option to attend class over Zoom doesn’t mean they can skip out on in-person instruction, as professors could still limit how many days a student can attend class via Zoom.
Remote learning options including Zoom are not a replacement for in-person instruction; however, when urgent, personal circumstances or disabilities arise that make in-person attendance difficult, DSU professors should allow students the ability to attend class through Zoom to keep them engaged in their education.