Apr 24
The Impact of Online Communication

T​​his week, we’ve focused on some best practices for teaching and learning using WebEx, and I’ve learned a lot from the comments and conversations that have resulted from our posts and FF@4’s 

Today, I want to confess​​ that, much as I am getting into the groove of communicating via technology, I am also finding it tiring. By the end of the workday – and definitely by the end of the workweek, I am very glad to move away from my screen and not engage in either audio or video meetings!  

My experience over th​​e past six weeks got me wondering why I experience such fatigue from the technologically mediated forms of communication that is our new reality. So, I was delighted to come across an article that shed some light on the matter.  

Rese​​archers Gianpiero Petriglieri and Marissa Shuffler offer these points of understanding --  

  • Being on a video call requires more focus than a face-to-face chat, because we have to work harder to process non-verbal cues like facial expressions, the tone and pitch of the voice, and body language; paying more attention to these consumes a lot of energy. 

  • Silence on a video call can make us anxious, because it is less obvious why it is happening: Is the person ​​just not speaking? Has the technology failed or is it actually your turn to speak and you’ve zoned out and missed the cue?  

  • Being watched on screen means th​​at some of our energy goes into wondering how we are being perceived, so that’s more energy that we are expending while on the call.

Petriglieri and Shuffler also offer som​​e tips to help reduce fatigue from video conferencing:  

  • Limit the number of video calls in any given day, if possible. 

  • Offer – or ask for – the option to participate by audio only; turn off the camera.  

  • Create a physical distance, if possible, between your work/screen-meeting space and your personal living space. 

I try to discipline myself to shut down my laptop at the end of the workday and, at the en​d of the workweek, to pack up all my equipment and put it away. This helps me feel – and see – that the weekend has come. And on that note, I hope you each have a restful weekend.  

How about you? What strategies have you developed to reduce, or recover from fatigue, that you may be experiencing due to online working these days? Sign in above, then join the conversation below. 

Source article: http://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200421-why-zoom-video-chats-are-so-exhausting



Thank you so much ...


Thank you so much for sharing that research.  I experienced a significant shift in my energy levels when I made the transition to working from home.  I didn't think to look to research for an explanation.  I really appreciated the opportunity to read your post and the article.  Thank you again for leading Faculty through this time of extraordinary change.  Lots of us in non instructional roles benefit from Faculty Fridays (now more accurately entitled: "Everyday Advice" :)) from both you and from Janine.  Take good care, Nancy Carroll
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  • Nancy Carroll
 on 4/24/2020 10:19 AM

Real-time relevance and ins...

Real-time relevance and insight as usual. I love the FF Blog. Thank you Amanda and Janine!
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  • Kevin Boon
 on 4/24/2020 10:48 AM

Thanks for sharing this, Am...

Thanks for sharing this, Amanda. It's interesting to see some ideas on why this is so draining! Education-wise, live online classes are much tougher to deliver than in-person ones. The prep and delivery both have to be adjusted. Helping students individually via video calls is more difficult and consequently takes more time as well. Let's hope we are back in real classrooms sooner than later.
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  • Jody Gillis
 on 4/24/2020 11:01 AM

Thank you for sharing, Aman...

Thank you for sharing, Amanda! I recently read, too, that because of this fatigue it's more important than ever to vary your presentation if delivering synchronously. As a result, I've added some videos and polls to workshops to break up my talk time.
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  • Carleigh Nicole Friesen
 on 4/24/2020 12:30 PM

Oh this is a relief! Valida...

Oh this is a relief! Validation! Thank you, FF on this Friday!
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  • Arlene Petkau
 on 4/24/2020 1:12 PM

I found that, at the beginn...

I found that, at the beginning, I was getting eye strain which then resulted in a headache. With constantly looking at my screen to demo/explain the lesson, watching for questions and answers in the chat panel, and checking myself to see what I looked like, my eyes were darting everywhere. I did get used to it after a while and the eye strain/headaches were less, but it was still an adjustment.

I like your end-of-day shutdown and end-of-week pack-away, Amanda. That is good advice!
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  • Paula Amaral
 on 4/24/2020 4:25 PM