LISTEN: Some crude exchanges during online classes locally

With the COVID-19 pandemic still continuing its rage worldwide, both digital learning and online meetings have taken precedence over face-to-face modalities in order to prevent the spread of the contagious respiratory illness.

But with these new Internet-based formats of human interaction, there comes a new headache: the risk of humans exposing their behaviours which often would not be revealed in face-to-face settings.

On Thursday, news emerged that New Yorker magazine had fired long-time staff writer, Jeffrey Toobin, after he reportedly exposed himself during a Zoom conference last month.

He was on suspension from New Yorker, and is also on leave from CNN, where he is the Chief Legal Analyst.

“I was fired today by @NewYorker after 27 years as a staff writer. I will always love the magazine, will miss my colleagues, and will look forward to reading their work,” Toobin tweeted on Wednesday.

In a company memo, Conde Nast Chief People Officer, Stan Duncan, wrote that its “investigation regarding Jeffrey Toobin is complete, and as a result, he is no longer affiliated with our company.”

In Jamaica, there has so far not been any reported case of such inappropriate exposure on online video conferencing platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

Asked about his experience with Zoom, one director in the public sector who asked not to be identified, said for the most part, most persons tend to block the cameras when meetings are ongoing, unless they are required to be seen.

“I haven’t witnessed anything inappropriate to be honest. The most you will hear is background noises, especially if anyone speaking has small children at home,” he said.

Another employee of a small private sector company said her experience with online meeting conferences has been “rather smooth and incident-free”.

However, the same cannot be accurately said in relation to online classes since its resumption in Jamaica on October 5.

A slew of videos and voice notes filled with inappropriate behaviour from students both in WhatsApp-created classrooms and during online class sessions, have been circulating among the public. The sometimes questionable behaviour of teachers within this new dispensation has also been on show.

Prior to the resumption of online classes in Jamaica, there was a popular video that originated in the United States which showed a nude female who came on the camera around an infant while an online class was in full session.

The teacher immediately ordered the infant to turn off his camera, but the child ignored the command as he watched the naked woman. She, however, soon realised that she was caught naked on camera, and ran out of the room.

While that kind of extreme situation has not seemingly been caught in the Jamaican online classroom setting, there have been some noticeably very inappropriate actions from students.

During one such class in October, a male teacher complained about a lewd message that was sent by a male…

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