NEW HAVEN, CT—When Professor Jozef Koslov of the Yale Department of Economics returned to New Haven to teach in-person classes, he was feeling doubtful about the fall semester:
“Over Zoom, I could seamlessly unmute and mute myself. I was screensharing slides without showing students my recent Amazon purchases and Real Housewives tweets, all without the indignity of having to wear pants.”
But teaching in-person in front of students would certainly present many challenges. Today, he says: “It’s like I’m building the plane while flying it.”
During class on Wednesday, Professor Koslov was hoping to show a supply-and-demand diagram to the class, but without a screen share option this proved difficult.
“Even though the image was on my laptop, it couldn’t be seen by students,” Koslov explained, “I had to recreate the image on a ‘whiteboard’ with a physical marker in my hand.”
Reportedly the X axis was too slanted to be properly read, and when the marker ran out of ink, students were unsuccessful in their attempts to help.
“We tried to explain to the professor that he could grab another marker in a different color that had enough ink, but of course, this is all hard to explain when we’re in-person,” Jocelyn Thompson ‘24 told The Record.
The following day, Koslov felt a sneeze coming, but there was no way to mute and prevent the class from hearing it. Thompson said: “It was loud and sounded really wet. It just sort of hung there.”
These issues are not unique to Koslov’s class. Professor Maria Valentini, who teaches L3 Italian, described her own issues with in-person instruction.
“Last year, I was dubbed the ‘Queen of Breakout Rooms.’ I could create randomized groups of students to discuss in separate virtual spaces, myself visiting the various rooms as I pleased with no warning.”
But now, the professor has no way of facilitating smaller group discussion. “What can I do?” Valentini wondered, “Without breakout rooms, there’s no way for students to talk amongst themselves.”
In-person classes appear to raise many questions while providing few answers, and students are similarly unenthusiastic about the development.
“I’ve had to walk to class all week, which is not a fair expectation for students,” said Barbra Saez ’23. “Plus, I had to find my own way of not showing my face, which involved building a small curtain to hide behind, but this only brings more attention.”
Until the administration addresses these difficulties, Professors Koslov and Valentini will hold all future classes over Zoom.