Midterm Summary: Zoom – Talia Feinberg

Zoom is a communication platform utilizing both audio and video to attend and host meetings for a variety of purposes (E-learning, working from home, connecting with family and friends, etc). Its popularity increased exponentially at the start of the pandemic because it allows people to continue their daily activities from home: in December of 2019, an average of 10,000,000 meetings were hosted daily and in June of 2020, this number jumped to 300,000,000. My design consisted of a questionnaire with seven questions aimed at gathering information on my participants (juniors in college) about their experience using Zoom in addition to their preferences on using Zoom for class versus a traditional classroom.

My key findings consisted of people feeling that Zoom is not an interactive system unless professors utilize features such as breakout rooms, reaction emoticons, and polls. While they find that recorded lectures are helpful for when material is missed in class, student’s responded that their distractibility is far higher on Zoom, tarnishing their academic success. In addition, there are specific times when students prefer to be in a traditional classroom over Zoom, such as group project work, when they are being graded on participation, and in office hours. In addition, upon asking the participants what they wished was different about Zoom, everyone was able to produce a modification: the most commonly responded being fewer glitches, more clarity for the reaction buttons, and the ability to pause a lecture in real time. 

The implications on students’ sociability, psyche, cognition, and behavior from using Zoom are significant. People responded that they feel far more isolated on Zoom than in a traditional classroom, which could have negative impacts on their success. In addition, because of the heightened distractibility of Zoom, students’ cognition and behavior is altered. There are many questions that arose through this study that could lead to future research, such as studying numerical grades on Zoom versus in person and studying the impacts of feeling isolated in one’s courses. 


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