Teaching on Zoom: The Real Version

Updated: Apr 16, 2020

Anja Franck, Joseph Trawicki Anderson, and Richard Georgi | 13 April 2020

A picture of a video call on a laptop screen, with the person in the call putting his face in his hand.
All photos courtesy of the authors.

“We need to move to online teaching,” they said.


“Okay,” we said.


“It’s super easy,” they said. “Just record the lectures on zoom.”


“How hard can it be?” we wondered. “There are three of us and together we have about six million higher education credits.


“Hey,” we continued, “let’s even do it a bit fancy and record it live in a lecture hall.”

Well, the following is what actually unfolded.

10:00

Joe and Richard meet at the department to record lectures.

Anja is not feeling well so she will join via Zoom from home.

10:30

“Okay, we figured out the logistics. We’ll call you from a lecture hall and do the recording there.”

11:00

“Does it work now?”

“Anja, can you see the PowerPoint on your screen?”

“Not really; it’s blurred.”

11:30

“Does it work now?”

“Anja, can you see the PowerPoint on your screen?”

“Not really; it’s blurred.”

11:45

“Can you see it now?”

“Not really; it’s still blurred.”

“What about switching to a different computer?”

12:00

“Okay, it works.”

“Let’s start the lecture.”

Press record.

12:05

Still recording.

12:12

“Wait! The webcam keeps auto zooming.”

“Can’t see anything in white on the screen.”

Pause the recording.

12:16

“What’s happening?”

“There’s no image.”

A picture of a video call on a laptop screen, with only the caller's name visible.

12:17

“Oh, the image is back.”

A picture of a video call on a laptop screen, with the person in the call putting his face in his hand.

12:20

“Let’s move to another lecture hall. It’s probably the projector in this room that’s the problem. We’ll call you when we’re there.”

12:24

“Does it work now?”

“Anja, can you see the image?”

“No, not really. Anything in white is still blurred.”

12:27

“Let’s try to build a stand out of these chairs. Maybe that will help the image?”

A photo of a video call on a screen, showing a man in an empty lecture hall.

12:30

“Oh shit! That isn’t really stable…”

“Wait, Anja, the computer fell on the ground! Hold on. We’ll call you back!”

A picture of a video call on a laptop screen, with the call showing the ceiling of a room.

12:42

“Anja?”

“Yes.”

“Is it better now?”

“Not really…”

A picture of a video call on a laptop screen, with a very blurry and upside down computer and projector screen visibile in the call.

12:49

“What if we change all the white boxes into red text. Does that work?”

“Well… It’s still not really clear…”

A picture of a video call on a laptop screen, with a slide in a presentation visibile in the call.

13:04

“What if we change to the iPad?”

“Nope.”

A picture of a video call on a laptop screen, showing the call projected on a screen in the call.

13:06

“Now!! It’s working!”

“Wait! Noooo! Why has the projector stopped working?”

A picture of a video call on a laptop screen, showing a powerpoint slide that says space, politics, and control

13:20

“The connection was broken. We’ll call you via Skype on Joe’s phone.”

13:22

“Richard is trying to fix the thing. We’ll call you back on Zoom.”

A picture of a video call on a phone screen.

13:25

“Why is Zoom not connecting…?”

13:26

“Hmmm… what if we try and do it like this…?”

A picture of a video call on a laptop screen, showing two people looking puzzled at a laptop.

13:27

“Anja, stop laughing at us.”

A picture of a video call on a laptop screen, showing one of the two people before giving the finger

13:30

“WTF is happening now?!”

A picture of a video call on a laptop screen, showing two people in front of a projector screen with their hands raised

13:35

“It’s recording!!!”

14:29

“It’s done! We survived! Or did we?”

A picture of a video call on a laptop screen, showing the call projected on a screen with a person in front of it

Stay safe out there!

Keywords: #onlineteaching #zoom #coronaintheuniversity #fail

Anja Franck, Richard Georgi, and Joseph Trawicki Anderson do research and teach in the School of Global Studies. Together they coordinate the Masters course Global Migration and Security.