Know Professors

Getting To Know Your Professors In The Remote Age

Can you believe that this semester will be the third semester and one year anniversary of virtual learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic? Who would have been able to imagine us holding zoom meetings as opposed to in-person meetings, using the “unmute” button to answer a question instead of raising our hands, and not worrying about how your class will judge the bottom half of your outfit because you could be wearing jeans or pj’s for they know.

There is a ton of convenience, functionality, and safety with having classes through zoom, but students often find it a struggle to get to know their professor through an online class especially if it is completely asynchronous. In order to get to know a professor, you must speak up and make your presence known, but being the center of attention can instill awkwardness and can even make you feel bothersome. But by taking small steps to making yourself known to your professor, it can make your learning experience and their teaching experience all the more beneficial.

Some important factors to consider when getting to know anyone is to be open-minded and engaged in what they are saying. Asking questions about the lecture or even making comments about the content stated is a good way for your professor to put a personality to a name and face.

Mary Anne Nagy, Vice President of Student Services, states her position on this topic when she holds meetings herself.

“The first thing I would suggest is to participate as much as you possibly can and demonstrate your interest in the topic your professor is discussing. Whenever I run a meeting I look for people who are participatory and I like to see what they think. That way it gives me clues on what kind of person they are. Active listening is essential for people to hear what other people are saying, by listening to your professor you can find out what kind of person they are and vice versa,” said Nagy.

Similarly, junior biology student Emily Vasquez expressed her thoughts on getting to know her professors in a similar regard. Vasquez states, “I get closest to my professors when I participate in class in general. Zoom has been an awkward thing to get used to, but expressing the desire to understand and make the class a more conversational experience creates a more stimulating environment for both student and teacher. Also, if you happen to get on the call early and the professor is talking about something random while waiting for people to log on, hop in the conversation if you can, it’s fun.”

Another thing students can do to get to know their professor better is to attend their office hours. Whether it’s to get help on an assignment or just to chat about something related to the class, showing up to a professor’s office hours gives them a better understanding of who you are and will overall strengthen the relationship between both of you two.

Spencer Johnson, a junior computer science student, explained his position on getting to know his professor through office hours. Johnson says, “The most important thing to a professor is to show initiative about the material. Asking questions through email, going to office hours, and showing that you care can really help your classes. Even if you mess up and get that 78.0, it can get rounded to a 79.5 simply because the professor knows that you tried and that number doesn’t represent your work ethic.”

Making an impression through a webcam isn’t the most ideal way to get to know someone by any means. But by taking a few steps and showing your interest and overall concern to your professor, we can make an all virtual age a more human one.