Ch 06: The Zoom Gaze

How Do I Look? Tired. How Do I Feel? Tired.

While beginning virtual learning, I always thought to myself, “Why does this feel much harder than if classes were in person?” To this day, I am still wondering why. When reading “The Zoom Gaze” and “Why We’re Exhausted by Zoom,” it was clear that others hold the same sentiments as me. The first half of Autumn Caines tied closely with my experiences on Zoom. I can recall the first week of online instruction being terrible. For every class, I was late, whether that was by three or five minutes, simply because I could not find the correct meeting link. One may think that by only taking three classes, I would be able to keep up, but that was not the class. Was my class meeting on Blackboard or Zoom? With everything else going on, this simple step of logging onto class turned into something I had to prepare for in case anything went wrong. Not to mention the nervousness that came about when finally logging onto a class. Last week for the Exquisite Corpse Game, I touched on how I am always concerned with how I appear on Zoom in my section of the story. Caines mentions that “You watch yourself as you speak, as you move … oops, that piece of hair is out of place. You are self-aware and self-correcting in real time.” Caines hit the nail on the head with this statement, as unfortunately, many of us do this, including me! I am often too worried about how I look on camera that I miss the significant pieces during class. Not to mention the nervousness that one may get of actually participating in class. “I wonder if that sounded stupid.” These are the thoughts that run through my head. 

When finishing the entirety of “The Zoom Gaze,” I found the section on power dynamics to be the most interesting. Suprsignyly enough, I find that the functions that a host has for a Zoom meeting are very useful, but it all comes with using them respectfully. It was upsetting to read, “Will it be recorded? It’s impossible to know in advance, and there are no established cultural norms that push meeting hosts to communicate such nuances beforehand.” I make it known when the meeting is being recorded and the reason for the recording. I am sure to go over Zoom etiquette in any meeting or event I have ever hosted on Zoom. This ranges from having one’s mic off when someone else is speaking and using the raise hand function, which ties into Susan Blum’s concern about individuals cutting one another off when speaking. 

 It is interesting to read Caine’s statement of side chats, “Unlike with face-to-face encounters, there can be meetings within meetings within meetings.” I am not sure that I agree entirely with this. Students can be sitting in a classroom and still have a private conversation. Whether that is through text or opening their laptop to appear like they’re taking notes but completing many other tasks. 

All in all, I am interested in seeing how face-to-face instruction will play out when and if we resume. Both readings made me feel better about myself as others have experienced the same encounters with online… everything! Reading that “…but you are too exhausted from work calls to get on another call for happy hour” summed up many lives. While still working on campus, many of my staff hosts programs for the residentials students to attend. Due to COVID, the programs are all online, and attendance has been low. When speaking with staff majority believe that having class online and then switching to another link for a program online feels draining. Having classes, work, and social interaction ultimately can be exhausting. 

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