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The Many Types Of Classes You’ll See At Zoom University

As our remaining days at Zoom University begin to dwindle, some students may be gearing up for an entire summer of online fun (read: classes).

Diving into the foreign world of virtual learning can be pretty terrifying, especially if you’re a wide-eyed soon-to-be freshman about to begin summer session virtually. And while you no longer need to fear walking into the wrong class or getting lost on your way across campus, you might find yourself coming screen-to-screen with the ever-so annoying kids who don’t know how to mute themselves or even worse, “Zoom Bombers.”

To help you better prepare for your glory days at Zoom University, here are a few of the common types of courses you may run into.

The Once-A-Week Check-In

Some professors understand students’ plight so well they publish lessons ahead of time to help them work on their assignments at their own pace and catch up on what they might’ve missed before class begins. In this scenario, classes typically meet once a week to talk about what they’ve learned and what to expect in the coming week.

These low-key courses are arguably the most manageable approach to online learning thanks to their loose structure. While it’s definitely a hands-off approach to educating, it still gives students ample opportunities to ask questions, stay on track, and clarify expectations each week.

The Class From Hell

This semester, I took a pretty intense class that only grew fiercer when it moved online. I found myself up every morning with bags under my eyes, ready to participate in mandatory discussion with my camera on and microphone ready to be unmuted at a moment’s notice. As if that weren’t enough, I needed to complete two fill-in-the-blank essays with my camera on within 30 minutes in addition to plentiful homework assignments.

While my experience is likely all-too-specific for the average Zoom University attendee, Classes From Hell™ are something every student knows all too well. If you also suffered (or will suffer!) through a course anything like this, I’m so, so sorry. Our thoughts are with you.

D.I.Y. Education

An entirely hands-off approach to online learning is certainly something we see often at Penn State. In this scenario, professors don’t really use Zoom at all. Instead, they’ll post all course material in one fell swoop and expect students to submit homework, take exams, and remain alive by the time the semester runs its course. Some classes include discussion boards to promote connecting with classmates and racking up almighty ~participation points~, but that’s not all-too-common.

If you find yourself in the lonely, lonely world of D.I.Y. education, never be afraid to reach out to classmates for help. They’re likely going through the same trials and tribulations you are and are more often than not more than willing to work through the course with you.

Small-Group Synergy

Many professors utilize virtual breakout rooms to facilitate small-group work and promote discussion and connectivity between students. This often results in a more intimate education that’s a hell of a lot more fun than talking to a wall of faces on your own.

Breakout rooms allow students to study in their own private rooms with a few classmates while professors (virtually) roam around and check in, much like a grade school teacher surveying the classroom.

If a group needs help, students can easily click an “ask for help” button and virtually receive assistance from their professor. Just be sure not to abuse that privilege!

The Adaptable Professor

Once in a blue moon, you’ll stumble upon a professor who does everything in their power to teach effectively and impact their students — two traits that likely carry over to remote learning.

This is true for Onward State staffer Ryen Gailey, whose early childhood education professor, Joseph Valente, is fully deaf. Valente originally taught in American Sign Language with the help of interpreters but now wears hearing aids and attempts to virtually run class on his own. Despite his disability, Valente overcame many challenges to move his class online and hasn’t really missed a beat.

And if there’s one thing to keep in mind, it’s that professors are really trying their best to adapt to online learning every day. Keep that in mind the next time your Zoom lecture crashes or your online exam craps out.


Whether you wind up in a class with a hardcore professor demanding participation or end up teaching yourself calculus, you’ll graduate from Zoom University with flying colors as long as you trust yourself and hold yourself accountable. You’ve got this!

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About the Author

Dana June Nunemacher

Dana is a redshirt sophomore, who is studying public relations. She is from the 570 and yes, she has watched The Office. Her passions in life include drinking unsweetened iced tea and spreading her love for agriculture (yee haw)! Send any cow pictures or complaints to [email protected]

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