Zoom for Remote Learning

I want to reflect on the challenges for interaction and collaboration using Zoom after a semester of going almost full-remote.

A significant amount of my class time are conducted using Zoom in this semester. Apart from occasional hiccups, it was functional for me most of the time. It allows the active speaker to share what their webcam captures or what they choose to present from the screen of their computers and tablets, and has a barebone chat function built in. Even though it has a poll feature, I think it’s a bit underutilized. One problem I encountered was the difference in feature sets between desktop and mobile versions. For example, the automatic chat saving feature (https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/115004792763-Saving-in-meeting-chat) is absent from the mobile version, and if you were to manually save chat when host ends the meeting, tough luck, you’d be kicked out of the meeting room.

One thing I do like about Zoom is how it integrates with our existing toolset. It has plugins for Gmail that allows me to schedule a meeting and sync that to my Google Calendar. Since I have the calendar added to my phone, the notification makes it easier for me to keep tab on my tasks. Similarly, once it’s synced to calendar, it can detect meetings that I’m invited to as well.

Collaboration with Zoom can be interesting. In my case, since my laptop doesn’t have a webcam, I need to join the meeting on my tablet if the collaboration requires me to use my laptop. For my case, the actual collaboration (in terms of working on same file with other people) are performed outside of Zoom. Google Docs has been good enough for text editing, and Visual Studio has a Live Share feature that’s handy for coding projects, as it would allow users to quickly diagnose a problem.

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