Everyone is back on campus at PNW, but some say they miss the convenience of Zoom classes


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After two years of complaining about the isolation of Zoom classes, many students admit they miss the flexibility and convenience of online instruction.

After two years of complaints about virtual classes, some folks are actually admitting they miss “Zoom University.” 

“I miss being home with my things, my familiar surroundings that put me at ease, at what was a stressful time,” said Cassie Vicker, a sophomore studying Human Resources and Business. “The highlight for me was spending time with my puppy and taking him on his walks, which had a calming effect on both of us.”

Vicker admits that she misses Zoom classes.

“I was able to better focus,” she said. “I didn’t have to worry about getting to class on time I just walked into the room and turned on my computer, I also loved being able to record the lectures.”

She misses it so much that she’s bent over backwards to take as many remote classes as she can. 

“I realized that I like Zoom so much that I have altered my schedule to have classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, because I’m able to do them over Zoom,” she said.

A recent survey of 820 undergraduates across the United States found that Vicker’s attitudes are not unique. The survey, conducted by Educause, a non-profit organization that promotes educational technology, showed the number of students expressing preferences for courses that are mostly or completely online has risen by 220% since the onset of the pandemic, from 9% in 2020 to 29% this year.

About 41% of students said they prefer learning mostly or completely face-to-face, a decline from 65% in 2020. Students who favor online learning cited personal needs, including disability accommodation, family responsibilities and work schedules.

Among the popular aspects of online learning students said they missed most were homework assignments, chosen by 74% of respondents; class notes, 72%; exams, 71%; study guides, 69%, and presentation slides, 69%.

Students are not alone. Some faculty members also miss the comforts – and educational advantages – of online instruction. 

“While I prefer to teach face-to-face, I  … appreciated that students’ names appeared in their Zoom boxes,” said Erin Okamoto Protsman, Communication lecturer. “Early in the semester, getting to know each student by name more quickly was a bonus.

“I enjoyed chatting with the students who arrived at class early,” she said. “Having light-hearted conversations about weekend plans, what they were eating, their pets and even the stories behind their chosen Zoom backgrounds helped me build an online class community when we could not meet in person.”