UR students have all been struggling at least a little with the transition to online courses. With a new syllabus for every class, and the fact that everyone has about six different Zoom links in their bookmarks bar, it’s a lot even for those who brag about being busy because they’re pre-med. But students in one particular course have been dreading the transition to Zoom since the rumors of online classes started.
The idea of Dr. Quinn V. Condor’s Introduction to the Economics and Art of Home Shopping Networks (FMS 476) moving online has been causing more stress to the students than their (now cancelled) final project. After three issue-free discussion classes, an FMS 476 lecture recently ended disastrously.
The Campus Times caught up with Professor Condor’s teaching assistant, a senior named Billie Paxon, whose entire job of taking attendance has been rendered useless by the Manage Participants button on Zoom, to discuss this issue.
“I’m honestly shocked we got through three lectures without too many problems,” Paxon told CT. “Usually Professor Condor can’t even figure out how to turn off YouTube autoplay. I was ready to teach a man with a Ph.D. how to use Zoom. But everything was running surprisingly well. Aside from the occasional student from a different university using the wrong link, or freezing caused by 30 different internet speeds, class was moving along as normal.”
Introduction to the Economics and Art of Home Shopping Networks is the only course in which all of the seniors have a job lined up for after their nonexistent graduation. It is also normally a discussion class in which students present their projects for class critique. This meant that all students needed their video and audio on, which ended up being the cause of the mess. CT asked Paxon to elaborate on what exactly happened.
She rolled her eyes. (We assume this is true, as her Zoom connection froze on a very unflattering facial expression. CT has chosen not to post this image due to resulting threats of violence from Paxton.)
“It was absolute pandemonium. Students were yelling over each other so loudly that one of my headphones blew out. Within seconds my computer froze and I was booted out of the lecture. I tried for like 10 minutes to get back in only to find out that Professor Condor just stopped the class, and sent us the discussion questions in an email.”
Additional questioning revealed that the cause of the problem was apparently a senior named Henry Blitz.
The CT contacted Blitz, who sent us a Zoom link to discuss what happened. Blitz, who had a custom background that looked like a frat house with a banner saying “Blitz Time Baby,” looked nonplussed by our call. “I don’t get it man! It’s a 400 level class; these people should be able to handle themselves better. Prof C spent 40 minutes trying to get YouTube to stop playing a compilation of Vines two weeks ago and nobody batted an eye, yet my dog appears on screen for three seconds and the class gets derailed to the point of cancellation? I’m like 90% sure everyone in that class has their own pet anyways. I fear for anybody who owns a fox — there is gonna be no coming back from that one.”