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In a Pandemic, Too Much Zoom Is a Learning Experience for Kean TV Students

Six Kean students are shown on a Zoom call and are discussing their experiences during the COVID pandemic.

Kean students (top row, l-r) Will Horner, Tori Honore and Drew Kawalek, and (bottom row, l-r) Samantha Hilenski, Maria Irvin and Harold Carias on a Zoom call for the Kean TV show, Too Much Zoom.

Kean TV students are documenting their experiences during the COVID pandemic through a weekly talk show on UnionTV34 called Too Much Zoom.

Each week, six students at the student-run Kean television channel come together in a taped Zoom conference to share videos they created about their experiences during the pandemic. From showcasing daily life in video blogs to highlighting Halloween festivities, the videos document what the students are feeling, seeing and doing while living through a pandemic.

“It is important to not only document my experience during the pandemic, but my fellow classmates’ experiences since life is changing so quickly. It is very difficult to even remember the feeling of what life was like before COVID,” said sophomore Maria Irvin, a communication student from Green Brook. “Once the virus is contained and things go back to normal, we will not be able to remember the exact details of how we reacted to such an unconventional time.”

The Kean TV hosts rotate each week, allowing for a variety of experiences and point of views to be shared. Each student’s video is 1-2 minutes long and is discussed by the other students within the Zoom call. Video topics range from hobbies, daily routines, takeout orders, concerns about the spread of COVID-19 and more. 

College of Communication, Media and Journalism Lecturer Gina Gili oversees Too Much Zoom

“We knew that we were facing a virtual semester, and the best way that we could all come together is to find a way that we could both work independently and record together,” Gili said. “Zoom has become a word we use in our everyday learning lives, and we are all retraining ourselves to live with this new normal. This is a way to document the good times and the bad, in hopes of creating a stronger community for years to come.” 

Running a show via Zoom has allowed Kean TV students the opportunity to explore their interests in television production and sharpen their skills in editing.

“This show and Kean TV have allowed me to make new friends and create unique and funny content. I never really knew anything about the production industry but when joining Kean TV, they had my back and gave me so many opportunities to show off my talents,” said sophomore Samantha Hilenski, an English education major from Edison.

The students hope the slice-of-life show is relatable for viewers, offering a variety of ways of coping with the pandemic. In his video, Diego Antonio Mendoza focused on the relief that tennis gives him amid the stress of COVID. The freshman communication, film and media major from Manville talked on the show about the soothing effect of the rhythmic sound of hitting a tennis ball.

“Tennis has really kept me active and has kept my mind off the world suffering,” he said. “It clears my mind, I think, because it’s a very singular thing. It’s one minuscule thing that I can focus on and be happy within."

Ten episodes are planned for the current season, ending in December.

Too Much Zoom airs every Thursday on TV34 at 5 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. The episodes are also viewable by searching “Too Much Zoom” on UnionTV34’s vimeo account.