Satire: Students resort to passing notes during class

Transition to in-person learning exacerbated by absence of Zoom private chat feature

Satire: Students resort to passing notes during class

The following piece is satire and should not be misconstrued for actual reporting. Any resemblance to a student, staff or faculty member is coincidental.

Students started passing notes during class Tuesday, citing the inability to communicate covertly through the Zoom private chat feature.

“It was so easy to gossip with a friend using the Zoom chat feature, at first I didn’t know what to do in person,” said junior Al Page, the first student seen passing a note. “It took me a full day of classes to realize passing notes basically did the same thing.”

By Wednesday, professors from every school at American University reported students passing notes in class. 

“I haven’t seen students passing notes since the '90s,” said economics professor Gladyis Smith. “I practically didn’t believe my eyes when I saw a student slip another student a piece of paper during the middle of my lecture on the production possibilities curve.” 

Besides gossiping, students had a variety of motivations for passing notes. 

“Getting through an 8:10 a.m. class without being able to poke fun at the professor’s virtual background was really hard for the first few days,” sophomore Monica Hogan said. “When I saw someone else passing notes, I knew I had to get in on that action.”

Faculty had mixed reactions to students’ decision to use paper communication. 

“I teach college writing, so students writing notes to each other strikes me as progress,” writing professor Beverly Johnson said. “It sure as heck is better than the Zoom ghosts I had to deal with last semester online.”

Statistics professor Rod Cobb issued a stern warning to students. “I don’t want to see anyone passing those little slips of paper around at any point in my course,” Cobb said. “That’s the sort of thing you should save for classes like political theory.” 

After an initial flurry of passing notes, students remembered cellphones exist. “By next week this passing notes thing will be old news,” senior Will Rios said. “Everyone will just go back to rudely texting each other during class.”

Owen Boice is a senior in the School of Public Affairs and the satire editor at The Eagle.

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