Zoom Fatigue at Saint Anselm College


Katie Coombs

Students wearing masks at socially distanced Spring Weekend

Katie Coombs, Crier Staff

COVID-19 is a pandemic that not only affects people physically, but mentally and spiritually as well. Students at Saint Anselm College are no exception to the damage the pandemic has caused. A year full of zoom classes and less social interaction has been a challenge for students and teachers alike. 

“As a commuter, having my education over zoom and being remote last semester, I feel like my education was definitely impacted,” A sophomore commuter, Elisha Langevin said, “ I struggled a lot with learning and paying attention during Zoom classes. It’s very hard to take notes and I feel like I miss a lot of notes because of technology issues.” Zoom has been many educators saving grace during this difficult time and it has provided students with classes they might have otherwise have, but it certainly comes with its challenges. Langevin’s psychology class conducted a survey on the effects of continuous class over Zoom, finding that lack of motivation, eye sensitivity, and loss of retention have been reported in the study. 


According to an additional study conducted by Brenda K. Wiederhold, an editorial writer for Cyber psychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, people have a natural detachment to online learning. In her piece, Connecting Through Technology During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic: Avoiding ‘‘Zoom Fatigue’’ she states that “ Though it appears that things are happening in real time, the truth is there is a slight delay between when a person performs an action and when the other participants are able to observe it.” Wiederhold further explains that human brain function expects synchrony. Synchrony refers to the response time to an action, such as a response to a question or the continuation of a conversation. When the brain cannot get the appropriate response time, it may experience “lagging”. The brain works overtime to readjust and conform to its own synchrony. In short, students may experience Zoom fatigue or burnout because of additional energy being spent trying to catch up on a conversation or class content. 


Saint Anselm students have been working hard the last year and a half, despite having to struggle through the effects the Corona virus has had on classes and socialization alike. While Zoom has provided a gateway and is a useful shortcut to receiving education, it certainly has had long-lasting effects on the students and teachers alike. It is a tool that, while giving students education they might have otherwise not received, is something to be studied. It is a temporary solution and students should understand that it’s not their own ability that is being put into question this semester. Struggles in Zoom classrooms have been widely reported and its effects are being continuously examined. With a lot of effort, a year and a half of this online platform has been utilized, and it is impressive that the students have finished the year off with a head up high, hopeful for a semester that mirrored a pre-COVID, pre-Zoom environment.