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Saturday, December 3, 2022

Getting the most out of our education means being as present as possible

Students and professors must prioritize in-person attendance while still accommodating those who need access to virtual education

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD 

 

Despite the fact that in many ways we’ve returned to life as it was before the pandemic (social gatherings, in-person classes and the like), there are some ways our culture has shifted away from prioritizing being physically present. Members of the Editorial Board have noticed that some classes are being canceled with recorded lectures posted as replacements. Additionally, some of us have had classes where professors reuse lectures from previous years instead of holding classes in person.

And while we now have online methods of learning and professors generally have valid reasons for canceling class or shifting lectures online, it is essential that instructors do not use these platforms in a way that detracts from students’ educational experiences. Not only is there so much to be gained from physical attendance, but also instructors must respect that attending UC Davis requires both funds and effort and with the fast-paced quarter system, each lecture is crucial. 

Many UC Davis students have had a year and a half of college fully online and now that the campus is reopened and most classes are once again taught in person, students should have the opportunity to be physically present in their courses. 

That being said, after more than a year of virtual meetings and lectures, the members of the Editorial Board understand that it can often feel taxing to attend every scheduled event in person. It may seem easier to move in-person meetings to Zoom or to watch a recorded lecture after the fact, and it’s going to take time for everyone to once again feel obligated to be physically present. It is, therefore, the role of both students and instructors to normalize in-person attendance and create a productive and interactive learning environment.

While in-person lectures can help students feel more engaged, we’ve gained extensive knowledge from our time functioning fully online that can be incredibly useful in terms of increased accessibility. Office hours held virtually and lectures recorded through lecture capture allow students easier access to education and assistance with their classes. 

It can be difficult, however, to have an engaging live class if simultaneous Zoom options are provided, since those on Zoom may miss out on opportunities to ask questions and it’s more difficult for everyone to interact with classmates when some are virtual and others are in person. Some students have important reasons for not attending in person, but others may attend on Zoom simply because it is more convenient — something we’ve all done on occasion. But as we safely continue our transition back toward normalcy, we need to realign our priorities back to being present in person. Learning together is better, and the Editorial Board encourages students to attend class in person whenever possible. 

Students and instructors must collaborate and be open to providing and receiving constructive feedback as we navigate new approaches to education in a (not quite) post-pandemic world.

 

Written by: The Editorial Board