Virtual Classes, also known as "Zoom Classes" were a phenomenon during the covid 19 pandemic. It was accomplished using the program Zoom.
Virtual classes did have a few upsides, as all classes were recorded so if you missed a day you could see what was covered. The program Knox used to store recordings also allowed for use of captions, which was very helpful for students with disabilities or if you wanted to read through the lectures right before the final. Because classes were not in person, pants were not required. You could wake up 2 minutes before class and open your laptop and be present. Because of the camera function, you did not need to even be shown in class, (though many professors required cameras on). Zoom allows the use of virtual backgrounds, so you didn't have to embarrass yourself with all your classmates seeing your messy dorm room. A little known zoom feature was a skin smoothing feature, which would hide some of your acne because why bother doing your skin care routine or your makeup when your mask covers a majority of your face anyways? If you used zoom on a computer, often times you could switch tabs so you didn't have to pay attention, or just use your phone out of view of the camera. The use of the chat function was very useful for side conversations, as many people could share ideas without talking over each other (literally). It was very useful for making funny jokes or puns. You also had the ability to hide self view so you wouldn't have to stare at yourself, though I personally enjoyed admiring myself every time I could, so I never chose this option. The ability to share screens was very a very helpful learning tool, as you could see or share information very easily. The ability to pin people as well when a screen was shared was very helpful, as if there was only one person answering questions, or if someone had a very pretty zoom background, you could pin them and be able to see them when you could only see about 5 people. The mute button is also a godsend.
Also seeing someone's pet interrupt the zoom call was very adorable.
Because classes were virtual, I can confidentially say that I would not be able to pick out a majority of my classmates in person. Because many people kept their cameras off, it was way harder to connect with classmates if you ever ran into one in person, as you wouldn't be able to recognize them. If your laptop or phone was dead or updating for 30 minutes it was often hard to find a way to get to class. Because classes were recorded, if you were unfortunate enough to be one of the faces on the recording, then staring at yourself very obviously not paying attention is not the most fun thing. While you did have the option to hide your self view, you could not do so in recordings. When the pandemic hit, many struggled with how to transition to a virtual class. Not many people were a big fan of the changes, as they were very sudden. Many people might not have the quietest of homes, so teaching/learning was harder due to unavoidable background noise. Not every subject can perfectly translate to online learning, for example many science classes have labs they need to perform and many art classes as how are you going to build a set or create a clay pot without the proper tools. Many people also had no idea how to use the simple thing called the mute button. Because not everyone was on campus, time zones were often an issue, (I would know I had to wake up at 6am for a class), especially for international students, who often had to go to class at insane hours.