Mandatory Meetings an Unexpected Hurdle for Online Classes


Photo courtesy of rhodesj on Flickr.

Autumn Jarmel, Managing Editor

When Andrew Ibrahim went to register for online classes at Diablo Valley College in August, he wasn’t expecting what he signed up for. 

With classes taught virtually this semester, many students and teachers are struggling to adapt. Work, home life and time management are now a more significant factor in students’ educational success, and teachers are doing what they can do to provide an engaging learning environment. 

For many Fall 2020 students, the challenges with online learning started even sooner: with registration.

“There were so many classes with ‘To Be Decided’ as the meeting time,” Ibrahim, a DVC student told The Inquirer. “It makes it almost impossible to plan a schedule around work.”

On top of that, one of Ibrahim’s three classes, labeled TBD during registration, now requires regular Zoom calls. Twice a week Ibrahim gets a grade for his participation in the Zoom sessions, making the class time he wasn’t prepared for mandatory.

“It would be really helpful if teachers could have a finalized meeting date and time, or specify whether a class is fully online with no meetings, well in advance,” Ibrahim said. 

DVC English Professor Chris Muravez said he is more prepared for this semester then he thought he would be. 

Muravez took a four-week intensive Canvas course over the summer, called “Becoming an Effective Online Instructor,” which helped him and hundreds of other DVC instructors learn about module creation, online accessibility and best practices in online pedagogy.

Muravez said he holds class zoom meetings once a week, but they are not mandatory. Instead, he records and posts them to Canvas. 

“The world is weird right now, to put it lightly and print friendly,” he said. “Having a mandatory class meeting online would be counterproductive for students who need more flexibility in their lives.” 

Creating a schedule that meets students where they’re at, rather than forcing them to conform to a schedule that conflicts with their lives and livelihood, is far more beneficial, Muravez added.