Cameras On or Off
Many faculty have asked about students who turn their camera off during the class. Again, courses will have different pedagogical needs and you should set the expectations that best serve your course.
However, the power differential between students and faculty means faculty have to be very careful about what they ask of their students in this regard. Legitimate pedagogical reasons for cameras certainly exist (movement classes for example) but pedagogical needs (not preferences) should be the main criteria for demanding cameras be on. Obviously, some courses are not possible to teach without the student on camera.
However we ask you think through making having the camera on a requirement; it can have disproportionate impact on certain students and may be inequitable:
- Some students have slow or weak internet and having the camera off makes their experience smoother.
- Some students are in living situations where they do not have a dedicated workspace and do not wish to share with classmates. While we will share tools around creating backgrounds, that will not address all the concerns
- Some students will not be comfortable being recorded, even if that recording is to be shared internally
- Some students find it incredibly difficult to watch their own image. We will share instructions for them on how to turn off their own screen, but be aware that having one’s image reflected back is very difficult for some people.
If having their camera on is a requirement of the course, you need to clearly state this in your syllabus.