Cameras should be turned on for online classes

BY Leonardo Cervantes

The ruling on synchronous class came down and they vary depending on college. I think students should comply and have their cameras on for synchronous online classes.
Some students are unable to have their camera on whether it be because of financial or personal reasons. But they can let the instructor know about it.
They can sort out the problem and come to an understanding. Having cameras on can simulate the in-classroom feeling.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all of the usual in-person classes were forced to shift to online learning. Students were forced to socially distance so the only way to attend classes was remotely. For students that are not the most tech-savvy, it could have been an uncomfortable transition. With much repetition even students that aren’t the best with technology have managed to access their online classes.
If students keep their cameras on it can better simulate the in-class feeling. Students are used to interacting and socializing with one another in classrooms and having the cameras on help with that familiar feeling. Having your camera on enhances the interactions between students and professors.
With the cameras on faculty can easily take attendance and see who is paying attention and hold them accountable, and not dozing off as one would be able to if the camera were turned off.
One of the biggest issues faculty members have with requiring a camera on rule is equity issues. Some students feel like it is an invasion of their space as well as displaying their living conditions.

This can highlight equity gaps between students and making them uncomfortable with having their cameras on.
A student’s home is where they are protected and having the camera on might impact that and feel like an invasion of privacy.
Students using their webcam make the class feel like an in-person environment. It is the closest students can get to interact with their classmates.

Many students were used to interacting with their classmates. So if every student has their webcam on it makes them feel like they are back in a classroom. It helps simulate in-person instruction as well as a familiar feeling for faculty and students.

If some students feel odd about the camera being on there is an alternative with Zoom that allows you to change your background.
This way the camera will only be focused on you and your virtual background and not on your actual background. This increases your privacy and does not showcase anything going on in your home besides the student in front of the camera.

Marc LeForestier is the General Counselor of California Community Colleges. “Districts should adopt policies strictly limiting or prohibiting faculty from instituting cameras-on requirements in order to protect against violations of student privacy, balance academic freedom, and ensure compliance with FERPA, California’s student privacy law, and federal disability laws and their state analogs,” LeForestier said.

Students should be strongly advised by faculty to have their camera-on that way it can resemble the same feeling as attending in-classroom. For students that are unable to afford the technology needed, or have personal issues like not having their own room or privacy they can talk with their instructor. It can be a reasonable conversation that should lead to an understanding. For students that do not have any issues, they should have cameras on to help faculty by feeling a sense of normalcy and interaction.

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