Davi Ribeiro is a business management and entrepreneurship final-year student at Algonquin College. Photo credit: Mohit Kumar

For some Algonquin College students, Zoom is where their college experience started. Some students have done three semesters on Zoom and are still attending classes on it. Some have never even attended in-person class.

Even though remote learning is not everyone’s cup of tea, students and faculty still manage to work with it.

Sydney Rathbone, a second-year business management student is one of them.

“It definitely makes group work more of a challenge” said Rathbone. “Just when it comes to communicating about the assignments and dividing the workup, but it wasn’t hard to get used to.”

During the lockdown, Rathbone has tried to make use of her free time by embracing healthy habits like working out daily and eating clean and right.

For some students, activities discovered for killing time during the period of virtual-learning, have become healthy hobbies.

“I love meditating, especially before my classes, which was not quite possible when I had classes on campus,” said Davi Riberio, a final year student of business management and entrepreneurship. “For the past few months, I have been meditating every day before I enter my zoom-classroom. It helps me stay calm and focused.”

Moving around also helps him. “I also go for a little stretch-walk whenever I get time between the interval of classes,” said Riberio.

The teaching faculty and other staff members were in the same boat as students when Zoom was initially introduced in the spring.

The international students had some difficulties adjusting to time of their classes. For many international students the timing of classes were midnight or quite in early morning.

“It just took me a week or two for understanding how Zoom works,” said Laurie Logan, a professor, and program coordinator in the business management and entrepreneurship program.

Teaching on Zoom made the teaching faculty come up with different ways to keep their classes engaged. Over the course of time on Zoom, Logan has come up with some techniques to make remote learning easier for her students.

“In order to keep group work and assignments easy on students, we allow them to form their own group, usually during the second semester,” she said. ” However, we also make sure that no student is left behind or doesn’t have a partner or group.”

Teachers keep their classes interesting with weekly quizzes, playing music before class, sending students to the breakout rooms and alongside explaining the main topic of that day.

Still, it’s not always easy.

The time spent before screens and monitors for attending Zoom classes can affect eyesight and cause mental-fatigue, according to an April 2020 article in National Geographic.

“It takes tremendous hard work and dedication to get along with Zoom learning,” said Logan. Not only for students those who have to sit in front of camera and screen for hours, but also for teachers with multiple class to teach and kids at home.”