“Zoom-Bombing” plagues Online learning

A report on online-learning raids in attempts for fame

Online+attacks+of+the+online+learning+platform+%22zoom%22+have+affected+schooling+from+elementary+to+graduate+levels

Online attacks of the online learning platform "zoom" have affected schooling from elementary to graduate levels

As academia moves towards online forms of learning, we all have had to face challenges in our schooling. Many struggle with staying motivated while at home, often failing to roll out of bed on time. Others can’t seem to familiarize themselves to the new formats teachers are using to send out assignments. Everyone, though, misses old school. At least everyone I’ve talked to. Not being able to see friends, teachers, and just be in a classroom setting has taken its toll on student and teacher alike.

School from home has most of us with more free time than usual. Most kids pass the time through video games, playing with pets, exercising, reading, or calling friends throughout the day. A few degenerates, on the other hand, have taken it upon themselves to disrupt the limited learning that is occurring, as they figure they have nothing better to do.

As you may know, many institutions, from kindergarten to graduate school, have taken to online video-conferencing as a way to communicate between students and teachers. Teachers and students use these resources, such as Webex, Zoom, Google Classroom and others, to have a classroom atmosphere, give lectures, and show presentations remotely, from the teacher’s home to the students’. Such platforms help recreate a classroom environment, and even help students see all their friends in one place. They are also very useful in helping to explain difficult concepts, especially in the realms of math and science; I speak from experience using them.

However, some of these platforms, as with anything online, are often accessible to the public. That means that in some cases, as long as a classroom password isn’t set, anyone can join any zoom meeting as long as they have the class code. Many students, often times having a problem with the class or teacher for one reason or another, or even just because they think it will be funny, give out their classroom codes to people who don’t go to the same school, some don’t go to school at all. Some students will even post their codes to online forums or comment sections so that large numbers of other people can “raid” their online class.

This disruptive behavior has been dubbed “zoom bombing” because in large numbers, other people can entirely derail a class, presentation, or whatever is going on in the zoom meeting or any other type of online classroom. However, not all students are disruptive, some simply sit in on the class, keep themselves quiet and listen to whatever the teacher is talking about because they are bored or got a code for a class that they are not interested in.

Most intruders, however, come in under anonymous names and completely throw off the whole class, often taking control of the meeting and sharing their own screen to all students, yelling obscenities, playing graphic videos, drawing pictures, or doing anything else they can to get attention or laughs. In most cases, the raids are also recorded by the intruders or students who let them in, usually later posted online. At the grade or high school level, the intruders usually get kicked out or stopped early enough for the class to just laugh off the disruption and the appreciate the free distraction from regular class. At higher levels, though, intrusions can have much more serious consequences.

Some students have been interrupted in the middle of a college dissertation or presentation, derailing a crucial moment of their educational lives.

Dennis Johnson had his college disseration interrupted by racial slurs and pornography- CBC

Obviously, teachers have been understanding to unfortunate students who have been raided and given them another chance, but their original presentation has been entirely destroyed. Some particularly mean raiders also take the time to personally attack whoever is running the classroom, making it very hard for them to continue even after the attacker has left.

While few people have experienced this rare “zoom bombing” phenomena, it has ruined many a classroom and presentation. I just don’t see the point in ruining someone’s schooling so that you can laugh or get internet famous. Are you really that bored? There must be other things that these people can do to occupy their time. I understand that quarantine can get dull, but come on. You have to have better things to do than to raid someone’s classroom and make a fool of yourself. Maybe an end to quarantine will help get more people outside and away from their screens, and in turn lower the amount of classroom raids happening online. So, as you’ve heard, staying inside now will help everyone get back outside sooner. Your patience and will-power can help save lives as well as save someone’s summer classes from getting raided, so thanks to everyone who is staying inside, unless you’re a online-classroom terrorist.