Like the rest of the world, the Digital and Print Publishing program had to adapt to COVID restrictions. This included transitioning from face-to-face interactions to using Zoom, a video communication software that also allows users to chat, raise their hands, and go into separate breakout rooms to discuss scholarly topics such as upcoming dinner plans and whether or not we would all collectively fail our marketing course.
After seeing each other face-to-face almost every day for five months, many students welcomed the chance to attend virtual classes in their pyjama pants. Instead of the frigid Mac Lab, classes were held in the sanctity of one’s own home. An added benefit of Zoom was its built-in virtual background. Users can add an image to be projected onto their video background, meaning we saw classmates call in from outer space, San Francisco, Hogwarts,—even the main stage from Rupaul’s Drag Race! Instructor and Font Fan Terry van Roon used the virtual background to Zoom into every meeting from “the beach,” complete with a Hawaiian shirt, sunglasses, and a fan to give his hair a seaside tousle.
One of the most difficult things about Zoom is remembering to turn your microphone on and off, a daunting task that challenged professors and students alike. After asking a question, participants had to remember to turn their mic off, and forgetting this could mean that the 25-person class heard you physically and emotionally giving up on a particularly tricky coding exercise—or midterm.
Ultimately, Zoom made crucial PRM tasks possible. From smaller jobs like department check-ins to larger jobs like mapping out the magazine, PRM staff maintained a steady workflow. After a semester apart, students are looking forward to meeting up as soon as it’s possible. And when we do, can someone bring me their code for the last WordPress assignment? Please?!