The Laughter Online

BREAKING: New zoomative grades expected soon

by Chris Bumstead, undercover investigator | March 30, 2021

Ah, the joys of virtual learning. For over a year, we have been able to wake up and then go back to bed—for school. We might deny it, but it’s no lie that most of us have, at least at one time or another, attended school in bed, snug and cozy with the Zoom camera off. Or we got hungry and enjoyed a snack with the camera off to avoid embarrassment. To the disapproval of many educators, this phenomenon is becoming quite the common habit of Saint Francis students to the point that it is now common for every student to turn the camera off in some classes, with only the teacher’s face appearing. 

However, the Saint Francis Academic Office has announced a significant change beginning in the 2021-2022 school year. Remember all those “participation” grades we received during the first semester of online learning? They’re back as a “Zoomative” category to ensure “full participation,” according to the Academics Office. Because all Saint Francis Zoom meetings are recorded, an automated system keeps track of students with cameras off. In the Zoomative category, every class counts as one point that students earn by keeping their camera on the whole time. Students caught with their camera off earn zero points—with no exceptions to ensure “equal standards”—and total points are tallied up for a final, end-of-semester Zoomative grade that counts for 25% of the total grade. Unlike summative assessments, Zoomative grades cannot be revised since students cannot “redo” live classes. 

Zoomative grades were developed after numerous teachers complained to the Academic Office about students not paying attention in class. Teachers unanimously agreed that distance learning had lowered the standards for class behavior. Mr. Steve Smith, who asked to remain anonymous, recounted his experiences with off-task students: “After asking camera-off students to show their faces, I could see a lot of them had been doing something else. Once I saw dumbbells in the background, so the student was clearly working out instead of paying attention in class. But, to be fair, I also lift weights during class, so maybe that wasn’t so bad.”

However, the impending Zoomative grades have produced a fiery backlash, especially among students, who were chiefly concerned with connection issues. “I can’t see the teacher’s shared screen if I have my camera on because it’s too much for my home’s wifi. I don’t want to lose 25% of my grade so I can learn. This is so unfair,” protested one sophomore. 

Teachers also opposed Zoomative grades because of students’ internet problems. One teacher remarked unhappily, “I don’t want to force students to turn their cameras on and see glitchy screens that mess up the whole Zoom meeting.” Another teacher reasoned, “I’m not going to lie, but it’s more disruptive to class if students’ screens freeze at low frame rates than if they have cameras off. I also don’t want students to put fake backgrounds of themselves on the screen just to get the Zoomative grade.”

One thing’s for sure. Regardless of the community’s mixed feelings on Zoomative grades, students and teachers will certainly be “seeing” each other a lot more.

This article is part of an April Fool’s edition of the paper. We regret to inform you that the content contained therein is fictional.

Categories: The Laughter Online

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