Students need flexibility while the world is upside down

Zeyma Martinez

Given the pandemic, professors should be more lenient when it comes to scheduling synchronous class meetings.

Offering a more flexible synchronous Zoom class schedule, or not grading students on their attendance, could be a stress reliever.

Pre-recorded lectures give students the freedom to watch on their own time and pause or rewind the lecture to catch up on their notes when needed, thus ensuring students are retaining the information.

If a professor wants to hold a synchronous Zoom meeting, it should be optional and last no more than one hour so students remain engaged.

Synchronous Zoom classes should be used for students to discuss pre-recorded lectures and readings.

“My class only meets on Zoom once a week, which really lets us focus on the class,” Nicole Sotomayor, a student at California State University Long Beach, said.

In Sotomayor’s class, the professor uploads all the homework and lectures on Monday, the class meets on Zoom on Wednesdays for about an hour of discussion and all homework is due on Friday.

Sotomayor said that this allows her more time and flexibility, especially for the times she needs to run errands with her family.

Over the summer, I took a class where we only met once a week for an hour on Zoom.

All the assignments, lectures and readings were posted on Blackboard. This allowed me to review the class material at my own pace and I feel that this method helped me learn better. Having only one scheduled Zoom class also allowed me more flexibility and took off a lot of stress.

When attendance on Zoom affects a student’s grade, it adds more stress.

Learning from home means there are more potential variables out of the student’s control: unstable Wi-Fi, family emergencies and fluctuating work schedules.

Just the other day my mom had a dental emergency. I went with her to the office and had to log into Zoom from my phone while waiting in the car. I didn’t want an absence to affect my grade, but my internet connection was spotty and I missed out on class discussions.

If all the lectures and assignments were online, I could have done them on my own time and paid more attention to the material.

Additionally, many people have lost their jobs during the pandemic, and many students who have been fortunate enough to retain their jobs have needed to cut their work hours in order to accommodate synchronous Zoom classes.

In many cases, students’ lack of availability due to Zoom classes can put them at risk for getting laid off, especially during the pandemic.

“They cut my hours when the pandemic started, and now I had to change my days and hours in order to log into Zoom. Instead of working 5 days, I’m only working 4,” Jackie Lima, junior at San Diego State University, said.

Lima said she is the only person in her household who is working full-time.

Another issue is that most students are taking several classes and having to stare at a computer screen continuously can become mentally draining and exhausting.

I have scheduled Zoom classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:35 through 3:55, with no breaks other than Chapel Hour. Not only do I get hungry and lose my focus, but I also find it hard to concentrate after a while.

“I’ve noticed that with the Zoom classes I have, it becomes more difficult to retain information, and I’ve become more productive going at my own pace when studying,” Noah Salas, Solano Community College student, said.

Being able to watch lectures and do the work on our own time will allow students to actually retain information without stressing about time constraints and the fear of potentially losing our jobs.

Cal Lutheran professors should consider this and schedule fewer Zoom meetings and post their lectures online. This will allow students the opportunity to earn their grade without worrying about finding the time to deal with working or potential family emergencies.

More flexibility in virtual classes would help reduce students’ stress and allow us more time to tend to our families and other duties during these unpredictable times.