College After The Pandemic: How Zoom Has Changed The College Landscape

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Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, video platform Zoom has become a household name. With over 485 million downloads in 2020, Zoom made the transition to remote work and learning possible. 

It’s no secret that Zoom has changed the college landscape. From the comfort of their dorms and apartments, students can attend class and meetings virtually. But has this change been for the better or the worse? Here’s VALLEY’s investigation into how Zoom has changed the college landscape.

The Good

Reduced Hassle: At the university level, flexibility in schedules is totally underrated. Remote learning gave students the freedom to attend class from apartments or dorms, which reduced the hassle of walking to and from class. This left us all with a bit more time which otherwise would’ve been spent going to and from classes.

Less Social Anxiety: We’ve all been there. Thomas 100 is a scary place, especially when you’re expected to speak in front of over 700 students. With remote learning, students were typically given the opportunity to have their microphone or camera on. In turn, students were provided with less frightening interactions that may have otherwise caused heightened social anxiety.

Learn At Your Own Pace: Generally, professors would record their Zoom lectures for students to watch at their own convenience. This allowed students to learn at their own pace because they could rewatch the lectures as needed. Additionally, Zoom also has a playback speed feature, which gives students the ability to slow down or speed up lectures to their liking.

Increased Technological Literacy: More than ever, students were using their laptops and mobile devices to access course content. This enabled an increase in technological literacy, especially on Zoom. It’s safe to say that all Penn State students know how to work and operate the video platform like pros.

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The Bad

Lack of Motivation: Compared to the thrill of the in-person experience, joining a Zoom call is not considered fun or engaging for most students. 

Technology Learning Curve: Not all students have the same access to technological devices. This difference impacted some students’ ability to continue their education online or to receive an optimal online learning experience. 

No Hands-On Experiences: Hands-on experiences really make a classroom come to life. However, these were not available during the remote learning period. This hindered students and their in-person opportunities to build physical projects and learn through engaging, face-to-face interactions. 

More Screen Time: If anything, the last thing Gen Z needs is more time spent on our technological devices. We’ll leave it at that.

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The Verdict

Although Zoom provided the college landscape with an adequate transition to remote learning, Penn State students are thrilled at the idea of being back in the classroom. 

How’s your Zoom University experience been? Tweet us, @VALLEYmag, and tell us!


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