Should Students Keep Cameras On?

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Joshua Einhorn

A big issue during remote learning has been whether students should have their cameras on during zoom classes. While it seems like there is a clear answer, there is a valid argument for both sides, depending on whether you are a teacher or a student.

The main argument for you to keep your camera off is that it will keep your home private from your classmates. Before there was remote learning, your home was completely private from your teachers and classmates unless you were okay with it. Now, if you have your camera on everyone in your class will see what your home looks like. Since Baruch is in NYC, homes are more likely to be small, and if you have a big family as I do, you will probably have to deal with a sibling or a parent walking into your zoom call. I’d rather keep my camera off then everyone in my class see my little brother walking around in his underwear!

Another reason for keeping cameras off is that many students feel uncomfortable showing their faces on camera.  Since most teenagers are already self-conscious about how they look, it’s unfair to tell kids they have to appear on camera.

On the other hand, seeing their students and making sure that they are engaged in the lesson helps teachers a lot. The first thing my teachers say when they start zoom classes is that they would like more kids to turn their cameras on because it makes zoom feel more like a real class and less like a video call. Keeping your camera on will help you stay engaged in the class and make sure you are paying attention to the teacher rather than being on your phone or just leaving all together. I spoke to a professor at Columbia who teaches only over zoom, and she told me that the university requires students to be on camera at all times. Because this is such an unprecedented time, people need to find a space to be alone.

In conclusion, I think that it’s better to have your camera on because it makes teaching easier and you will learn more, however, I still prefer having my camera off because of privacy.