February 21, 2024

The landscape of home, work and school life drastically changed for
students across the state when California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide stay-at-home order during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some families started seeing a lot more of each other while quarantined in their homes, while others were kept apart. 

But technology has helped people to stay in touch and feel connected to each other even while separated by distance.

Many people have used websites such as WebEx and Zoom for business, educational and personal reasons, as well as other video chat and video sharing apps such as FaceTime.

Jennifer Tronti, assistant professor of English and program director for the undergraduate English department at California Baptist University, said she has been using FaceTime to stay in contact with her mother, even for simple, casual connection.

“We’ve washed dishes together in our separate households,” Tronti said. “I texted my mom an awful lot more than I ever have in the past.”

Tronti also commented on how technology has helped in stay in touch with students, using both WebEx and Zoom, and how Zoom’s chat feature can help students connect with each other in ways that would be more difficult even in the classroom.

“(Zoom’s chat feature) works well in a way that if we were in the classroom, and everyone was having those conversations, it would be distracting or too loud. …but I can tell people (online) are paying attention,” Tronti said. “I don’t like to restrict the chat.”

Students have found that Social interaction primarily through technology can be difficult. Elli Long, freshman behavioral sciences major, said that the distance can make it harder to connect with classmates.

“Making connections with other students in the class is a lot harder since
you  don’t  really  have them there in person to talk to,” Long said. “It’s a lot harder to get peer help in classes.”

Logan Manley, freshman health science major, said she uses FaceTime to keep in touch with friends.

“During the summer I’ve been FaceTiming with people a lot and keeping upwith people on social media,” Manley said. “(With) being away from home for the first time, FaceTime has really helped.” 

Manley said she has a solution for keeping herself focused during her classes.

“It is hard to stay engaged in classes, especially doing them in your dorm room,” Manley said. “I like to force myself to stay at a desk, do my homework and my classes, and keep myself in a solid, structured routine each day, just to make it feel normal.”

Although doing a lot of social interaction through technology certainly has its challenges, it has also been vital to students for keeping up with work, school and social life during the pandemic.

Students still struggling with time-management can find apps such as Chegg Prep  through their local app store.