What I don’t miss is my 10-mile drive to campus and back. I don’t miss pondering my wardrobe choices in the morning. The relative informality of the Zoom era means that I would feel overdressed if I wore a blazer to teach. And if I don’t wear a blazer, I don’t have to wear slacks. Or put on shoes. Why would I wear shoes inside my house, anyway?
More important, with my smaller graduate classes of 10 to 20 students, I have noticed little falloff in intellectual quality. Looking at 10 or 20 faces on a screen is manageable, and the experience is a pretty faithful replication of a real-world seminar. Breakout rooms for smaller discussions are simple to arrange, and they lack the cacophony of overheard conversations in live settings. My teaching evaluations have been positive if a little less effusive than usual, perhaps because of the lack of human warmth that being face to face makes possible.
Videoconferencing also allows for meetings with far-flung participants elsewhere in the country — or in other countries — that would have been too expensive and environmentally wasteful to convene in the live era.