May 21 2020

The Remote Learning Diaries: My Last Semester at Zoom University

A senior at Florida State University takes a pensive look at her last semester in college.

Congratulations! You are an official graduate of Zoom University’s class of 2020 — probably the only one it will ever see. While I thought growing up during the technology revolution would be interesting, never would I have imagined that one of the supposed greatest achievements of my youth would be scaled down to a 13-inch computer screen. But, there are people suffering through much worse, so we carry on. 

Some instructors have adjusted to remote teaching better than others. I have one professor who efficiently uses Zoom to conduct a piano class, where not all the students have access to keyboards in their current location — a piano class based on listening and class discussion. This professor has really made an effort to use the platform to his advantage. On the other hand, we have the professor who is unable to upload assignments on Canvas.

How the Transition to Remote Learning Has Gone

My schedule at the start of this spring semester was made up of 2 online classes and 2 on-campus classes. This was perfect, considering my intern position with CDW•G. The two online classes remain the same; my on-campus classes, however, have become quite different.

MORE ON EDTECH: Here's the best Zoom remote learning tech tips.

For my piano class, instead of practicing pieces together as a class, we must now learn pieces on our own, record ourselves performing them and then submit them for grading. This is not nearly as fun as group playing, but learning, practicing and recording these pieces often relieves the boredom that lingers nowadays. Even better, I find myself sitting at the piano learning songs I enjoy. My current conquest: “Falling,” by Harry Styles. 

My second on-campus/now-online class is “Writing for Online Media.” The goal of this class was to create a business at the start of the semester and see it through to the end. My class created Movie House LLC, which would have been an ingenious mix between a movie theater and a hotel, offering private viewing rooms for groups and more. 

However, after we worked on blog posts and created a website, the professor decided that our goal was no longer attainable because of the new online status of our class. Now, we work in groups to create social media campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok to promote social distancing. While this new project is relevant, many of us can’t help but feel that all the work we put in during the first part of the semester was for nothing. I think we could have just slightly shifted the focus. Instead of replacing the businesses with social media campaigns, we could have incorporated the campaign into our established business. This would have allowed us students to remain on track.

Originally, this class was scheduled from 3:35 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in FSU’s Doak Campbell Stadium. While this time frame remains the same, productivity and morale have completely changed. Sitting on a Zoom call for approximately three hours has not exactly been exhilarating. 

Fear of Missing Out

I feel a sense of FOMO at the moment, that is for sure. As this was my last semester at FSU, I can’t help but regret not suffering through one last all-nighter at Strozier Library or spending one more spring afternoon lying on Landis Green. 

Something I really miss are my walks to class, Airpods in and set at volume 7 — loud enough to jam, but low enough to hear a passing car. My walks helped me realign my thoughts and open my mind for learning. It’s nice to be able to get some fresh air, get the blood pumping, and most important, it’s nice having a destination. I can go for a walk anytime, but the destination, the goal, is now obsolete. 

MORE ON EDTECH: These are the 3 remote learning technology must-haves for higher ed.

As a Florida State alumna, I will always be proud of the goals I achieved and the challenges I overcame. To all future graduates, be grateful for the place you will call home for the next couple of years. It will test you and make you question everything you know, but you will grow from every experience. Although I’m far from you now, I will keep the memories and the love in my heart forever. 

Vires, Artes, Mores — and as always, Go Noles!

recep-bg/Getty Images

Learn from Your Peers

What can you glean about security from other IT pros? Check out new CDW research and insight from our experts.