Journal Title: Wide Screen
Vol. 9, No.1, July 2022
Abstract: The realities of COVID-19 demanded of instructors, students, and classrooms a particularly onerous task. What had once been a spatialized exchange between instructors and students turned into a virtual encounter where time was exhausted, assuring that technologies worked. Microphones went unmuted while one directed their attention to the disembodied images of others. While adjustments were made, one major shift remained, individuals could more easily record and distribute (often unknowingly) their virtual classroom experiences for others to see. Amongst the sharing of these experiences includes the TikTok trend of the #zoomfail wherein users shared both personal failures on their part to adhere to the unique rules of online meetings. Participants also observed the failures of their instructors to adapt pedagogically to the exclusively online world (proctoring tests with easily searchable answers). In response, this paper explores the sharing and remediation of these failures via TikTok to better understand the hyper-mediation of education in an increasingly online world. In particular, the paper argues that while many of these failures point out significant disconnects between students and their instructors, the failures also illuminate generative new ways of doing education wholly aware of the fragility of classroom dynamics. By highlighting critical examples of the #zoomfail hashtag on TikTok from March of 2020 through the Spring of 2021, this paper shows how the participants many of whom were unknowingly having their failures shared globally, affirms a need for a pedagogy embracing failures as a site of learning.