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Communication in Online Education

Online classes have created a new environment for learning and interacting with the Professor and Teaching Assistants. Many of us are still familiarizing ourselves to the new programs we must use to attend lectures and labs while adjusting to the course workload. While being in person makes us act different and communicate differently, it is important to note that many of us may find it easier to communicate virtually.

Communicating with the professors and TAs is far more different this year and for many, it’s easier this way. Reaching out to the TAs in an online meeting rather than going to their room on campus saves time for not only the students but also the instructors. It becomes more convenient for both parties as more time can be spent on other things if fewer students show up to the TA’s office hours. For example, if a student had a question that required five minutes at most to answer, the student could join the virtual room and leave after those five minutes. Whereas in-person, the student would need to go on-campus for those five minutes where their commute might be longer than 15 minutes. Personally, I’d much rather join the online room for five minutes and then go lay in bed for the whole day! And if it was a snowy day, I’d like to stay in my warm house than walk outside.

Virtual rooms not only save time but also encourages students who are shy or may feel

embarrassed that their questions aren’t good enough to ask when, every question you have should be asked without feeling any judgment. Virtual rooms are great because you can stay anonymous to the whole class when asking a question. In most programs such as Zoom and WebEx Meetings, you can select the recipient you want to send a message to through various features. In this case, you would select the TA or Professor so that only they see your question and not the entire class. Chances are that someone else also had the same question as you, but they were also worried about the whole class seeing it. So, go ahead and ask that question!

Talking to someone in-person is a lot different than talking to someone online. It can make us act different and sometimes it can be negative. It’s important to remember that we all are going through this pandemic and being harsh to one another in a classroom environment does no good. Virtual rooms can make people braver who have good intentions, but also people with bad intentions. It’s much easier to say what you want through a screen than in-person but everyone including professors, TAs, and students need to communicate in a positive manner that will help everyone to keep moving forward. My workload like many others was a lot in the Fall Semester and I struggled to keep up with it. By talking to some of the professors, it turned out that other students also felt the same way and came forward sharing their experiences. As a

result, a lot of our deadlines were pushed further, and grading schematics were hanged to benefit us. Since this is our first time and the Professors’ first time using online education, we are both trying to adjust to it. It never hurts to talk to your instructor and try to reach a conclusion that benefits both sides.

To sum up this blog, remember to communicate with your instructors and realize that it is more convenient now than before to simply attend a virtual room and ask your questions away. Be nice to one another and if you are struggling with your workload, you are not alone. Take the step in reaching out to your instructors and talk to them about possible solutions. In the end, we all just need to communicate.

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