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LCC International University > News and Events archive > Zoom is Not Enough

Zoom is Not Enough

2023-08-14

Zoom is ordering their employees back to the office.

In today’s BBC news, “the firm said it believed a “structured hybrid approach” was most effective and people living within 50 miles (80km) of an office should work in person at least twice a week” (8 Aug. 2023, Sherman, https://www.bbc.com/news/business-66432173)

Why are employers convinced that putting humans in the same room at least a few days week is preferred over working through a screen all week?

For the same reason, our university requires all online master’s degree students to physically attend classes 2 of the 52 weeks in a year.

LCC International University offers two master’s degrees delivered online. But we require students and faculty to fly, sometimes literally halfway around the world, to attend a Summer Residency Session on-campus and in person. And we insist they come; it’s required (except for during the COVID-19 pandemic).

I can quickly note four (4) reasons that teaching and learning are facilitated when people are physically in the same room: Zest, Observation, Opportunity, and Motivation (ZOOM).

Zest: Teachers simply have more zest in person. Teaching online is wonderful for many reasons but jokes just don’t have the punch line as they do in person. Students are incredibly fun and ingenious; but laughing happens best in person. Zest, humor, and laughter are important for learning.

Observation: Teachers and students learn by observing each other. Students see how generous, careful, or kind teachers are simply by observing. Teachers get a much better sense of a students’ perspective, ideas, and attitudes by observing body language and facial expressions. Learning and teaching is facilitated by observation.

Opportunity: Asynchronous teaching does not allow for much spontaneity. In person classes afford the instructor the opportunity to divert the conversation, or to capture an “ah- ha” moment, essentially utilizing the eureka effect. A well-spoken word is sometimes all you need to change the direction or the pace of instruction for the benefit of the students.

Motivation: Achievement, challenge and belonging motivate people. Teachers have many more opportunities to motivate students in a face-to-face setting. Students are more self-motivated when belong to a group.

While I like Zoom, I prefer the dynamics of in-person classes.

Author: Robin Gingerich, Ph.D., MA TESOL Program Director at LCC International University.

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