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COVID-19 has dramatically changed the learning landscape. When students first transitioned to Zoom, they felt uncomfortable and awkward, but as the one year mark approaches many students have become more accustomed to learning and communicating through a webcam.
With Iona College offering students the opportunity to learn remotely, in-person or mixed-mode, questions have started arising as to why most students are opting to learn remotely. Although Iona College has a large commuter population, even those who are dorming on campus and have access to the classroom are choosing to learn from their dorm rooms.
“There are more students on Zoom,” Dr. Moretti of the English department said. “The most I have had in-person in one class is four, but typically I have two or three in a class of 25 students.”
Many students have opted to take classes remotely as a safety precaution, but others are doing it out of convenience, according to senior Jenna Rossell.
“I think a lot of students are attending class through Zoom because of convenience as well and pure laziness,” Rossell said. “It’s so much easier to sit behind a laptop with your camera off instead of being present in class. I also think that the pandemic affected a lot of motivation in everyone.”
Studies have shown that the coronavirus has greatly impacted motivation levels among young adults. A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center finds that nationwide, adults under the age of 50 have a harder time feeling motivated for work since the pandemic started. Moreover, respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 express difficulties in motivating themselves at an even higher rate than other age groups.
Sophomore Kerri Shea shares similar beliefs, highlighting that she decided to attend classes in mixed-mode due to the accessibility she has to visit home. She also notes that it’s easier to maintain attendance through Zoom during such a chaotic time.
“Personally, I believe many people are choosing to attend Zoom classes based on the ability to take your class in pajamas,” Shea said. “Online classes feel like less of an obligation, putting less pressure on students even though that is not the reality of the situation.”
For some professors, the lack of in-person student attendance isn’t surprising, especially since it happened during the fall semester, according to Dr. Nadine Cosby of the Media & Strategic Communication department.
Cosby shared that she believes the harsh weather conditions during the winter months have contributed to the lack of in–person attendance among students.
“Anticipating winter weather on top of the mixed-mode learning environment, it seemed very obvious that the vast majority of students would opt to join their classes remotely,” Cosby said. “In each one of my classes there are many students who rightfully want to be on campus, but they are choosing to join class via Zoom from their dorm rooms.”
Although remote learning was introduced to ensure students feel safe and comfortable during the pandemic, it has become a virtual convenience for many. The question now becomes whether convenience or safety is driving students to Zoom.