'Shock' as Deafening Silence Creeps into Breakout Room

Student contribution: James Dance


Logging into her first live seminar for the trimester, third-year law/science student Olivia Jones was prepping herself for yet another seminar for which she was not prepared.


The seminar was running well, Olivia thought. “The lecturer was walking us through the questions, it all made sense. I was putting together some solid answer structures for my exams.”


This initial bliss was short-lived. “Before the lecturer moved on to the third seminar question, he put us into breakout rooms.”


Not in the mood to participate this afternoon, Olivia was slow to turn her camera and audio on. “I usually just wait a little, you know,” Olivia said. After about two minutes, however, Olivia got the ball rolling. “So, has anyone done this question? I haven’t.”


This was followed by an agreement amongst the breakout room members to each spend the next five minutes reading the question so that they could discuss it.



Before the breakout room members had a chance to discuss, the lecturer brought everyone back into the main room.


“Alright, I’ll get group 3 to share their thoughts on the question,” the lecturer said.


After about another 25 seconds of unbearable silence, Olivia turned her audio on again. “Yes, our group had quite an in-depth discussion on this question, particularly the elements relating to the duties owed to the administration of justice. As a group we came to a consensus that the answer really depends on a number of factors.”


“And what are those factors?”, the lecturer asked. Olivia responded, “we didn’t get that far.”


Having made her contribution, Olivia turned her audio off and zoned out for the remainder of the seminar.