Zoom Zoom Zoom*

Originally from The Communicator

One thing that has absolutely changed for all of us since March 16, 2020 when we pivoted our classes from in-person to online, is the medium through which we are sending our messages. Quick quiz: Who theorized that “The medium is the message.”? (Rachel gives you a gold star if you said Marshall McLuhan.) McLuhan’s notion was that the channel through which content is carried is central to how that content is perceived. So our challenge has been, how can we authentically share our department’s messages of community and caring, as well as vital course information when we’re not in each other’s physical presence?  How can we all best teach and learn when the medium has changed? Together we are learning how to gracefully adapt to the digital world and, upon reflection, we are appreciating what has remained the same.

What has NOT changed:

·We create and maintain healthy relationships via symbols – no matter if the channel is analog or digital.

·Our departmental community is vibrant.

·Our commitment to transformative education remains resolute.

·Our creativity has no limit.

·We are better together – even when we are apart.

What we have learned whilst communicating digitally:

·We are grateful for the technology that has kept us connected.

·Our roommates (two- and four-legged) can help us teach and learn.

·Breakout rooms in Zoom can yield surprisingly effective and fun dialogues.

·We can meaningfully do all kinds of things virtually together via Zoom like dance, meditate, practice yoga – and even distribute Altoids (it’s magic!).

·Canvas discussions can be deeply powerful.

·Virtual COMM Lunch attracts friends from around the world.

·Our students will be standouts when they graduate as they now have a myriad of newly polished skills such as giving speeches without an audience in the room, smoothly transitioning between PowerPoint slides and YouTube links on Zoom, and knowing where to look when doing an online mock interview (into the camera and not at your own thumbnail image on the screen!).

·Although the current situation is terribly challenging and although we’ve sometimes felt confused, sad, lonely, overwhelmed and a host of other argh! feelings, we have all adapted, and we’ve done our best. We’ve enjoyed one another’s company as we have continued to share and grow.

·We miss being together in person – in the SAME PHYSICAL SPACE – especially the huggers among us.

Of course McLuhan was right, the medium does influence how messages are perceived, but our departmental message remains the same.  No matter what verbal or nonverbal symbols we use, no matter what channel is available, we speak so others may listen, we listen so others may speak. This might mean that we need to adjust the camera, remember to click the mute button off (or on), or wait for the Internet connection to catch up, but as Communication Superheroes, we have the competence, patience, and resilience to effectively communicate within any medium.  What are we creating together?  The answer is, and always will be, community.**

*This is what your faculty think of when they hear “We’re gonna Zoom.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3AzdiWHEuc

**Enjoy the “What are We Creating in Uncertain Times” video.