Photo By: Dom Fou from Unsplash

For 18 months, Brock students have watched lectures from home and attended seminars via video-call. Being allowed back on campus is an exciting thing for many people, but there are some things that you can get away with during an online lecture that people have got to stop trying to get away with when in-person.

Talking

With the mute button on Microsoft Teams, nobody could tell if students were listening to music or having conversations at full volume. That, combined with the option to turn off your video input, meant that there weren’t many things that you couldn’t do during an online lecture. No judgement, I cooked dinner during a lecture on a couple occasions. 

The mute button, unfortunately, does not exist in real life. Maybe people have forgotten how to whisper, or maybe it’s that big lecture halls are designed to help sound travel long distances, but I’ve noticed way more conversations in the middle of my lectures since coming back to campus than I did before the start of the pandemic. 

Lots of people go to class with their friends, so naturally, you’re probably going to want to say something to each other at some point. There are a lot of ways to get away with that without alerting the professor and everyone in the room to your weekend plans. Ideally, save conversations for any breaks in the lecture. If you really have to tell the person next to you something right that very second, use your phone. Texting in class can be distracting for people around you, but it’s less distracting than a five-minute, poorly whispered conversation right behind them. If all else fails, pass notes like it’s third grade again. 

Watching TV

It’s always been tempting to zone out during a particularly boring lecture. Most people bring their laptops to class, and I’ve seen a bunch of people catching up on Netflix shows instead of taking notes. 

Again, no judgement from me, it’s your life and if you want to spend it watching New Girl in your statistics class, that’s none of my business. Except, when you’re sitting at the front of class with your brightness all the way up, it becomes everyone’s business. 

If you’re going to watch TV in class, it’s just a general courtesy to sit in the back of the room or off to the side where you won’t be distracting to the people behind you. If the class is really that boring, you might as well just leave early and go home. Lecture halls are definitely not prime TV-watching environments. 

One more thing about watching TV in class directed specifically to my fellow Sport Management major; you’re not being as slick as you think you are. It’s a SPMA class, it’s 6 p.m., there are four of you looking at one person’s laptop, we can all tell you’re watching the Jays game, not taking notes. 

Masks

The biggest visual difference between this semester of online classes and semesters in the past is that everyone without an exemption of some kind is required to wear a mask. It’s been over a year, we all know how to wear one the right way. 

Masks should cover your chin, mouth and nostrils. Instructors aren’t supposed to single people out about improper mask wearing, which leads to the awkward situation of a professor standing at the front of the class, stopping their lecture and saying something like, “just a reminder that everybody needs to have their masks on properly.”

Make things easier for everybody, just wear your mask the right way from the get-go. 

Returning to campus is a massive adjustment for all of us. The biggest difference between online and in-person education is that now there are people around, and so being considerate and respectful of the people around us in class is going to make that adjustment a lot easier.