Professors strive to retain virtual classroom engagement 


Cameron Krasucki

Students listen as Professor Peter Abbamonte gives a lecture on Nov. 2.

By Chieh Hsu, Staff Writer

In an online semester, professors have a harder time teaching when students decide not to turn their camera on in a Zoom lecture.

“It’s harder online in that a lot of students would come and they don’t have their camera on,” said Jonathan Livengood, associate professor in LAS. “I appreciate that, but it makes it a lot harder to read how the students are actually engaging.”

Despite having its cons, the virtues of Zoom lectures still allow a minimal student-teacher relationship that asynchronous classes cannot provide.

“I believe you come to the University to interact with people, not worksheets,” said Harriet Murav, professor in LAS.

A Zoom problem requires a Zoom solution. According to John Willits, assistant professor in LAS, he “pops in” to his students’ meetings to ensure engagement and help guide discussions if necessary.

According to Nikhil Admal, assistant professor in Engineering, the key to a student’s success in class not only lies in lecture time but outside of it as well.

Following this philosophy, Admal created a discord server for his students to chat with each other. The server is further divided into a formal part and an informal part, so the students get to both answer each other’s questions and develop companionship by socializing.

“We have a Discord chat so that the students can socialize because I know people are yearning to talk to each other,” said Admal.

Overall, the general lack of engagement leads to some instructors believing that the University should reduce the financial burden on students. 

“This should be a cheaper semester, some tuition should be knocked off for you all,” said Murav. 

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