Written By: Zayon Morgan
Everyone is probably familiar with, “Could everyone turn on their cameras please?” If not, then people have probably heard, “I don’t know whether you’re participating or not because I can’t see you.” If you have not been living under a rock, you will understand the struggle of this “new college experience.” With COVID-19 running rampant throughout the country, everything that we have once experienced has now been confined to a screen and microphone. People have gotten used to connecting to a Zoom call just for social interaction. However, Zoom has the option of turning on and off your video camera. While this is very convenient, it can also be very bothersome.
Zoom and other video chatting apps have been the bridge between students and professors. We do not necessarily have to show our faces because we have the option of disabling our camera and audio. However, I do not think our professors take kindly to this feature. COVID-19 has also taken a toll on our professors who are missing that social interaction that they have once had with their students. They are not used to the idea of “remote learning” and “virtual classrooms.” For this reason, I believe that it would be fair to our instructors if we chose to turn on those cameras in hopes that it would give some sort of interaction for them. Students should also consider that turning on the camera will make it easier for them to connect with their fellow peers, as seeing their faces brings more normalcy to the classroom. While I do say this, I also believe that we still should have the option of turning off our cameras, and here is why.
Everyone is adjusting to this new lifestyle in their own way. So much has changed since we’ve heard of COVID-19. Life is not easy when you are forced to take in your college experience through a video application. There are moments where keeping the camera on is not the best option. Whenever a student is doing something that can be potentially distracting to the class, cameras should stay off. Potential distractions can include: eating, making a phone call, cleaning up a mess in the background, etc. However, it does not stop there. It should be ok for students to turn off their cameras if they are not “at their best ” Unfortunately in online school you cannot call in sick but you will have problems. Some students, like myself, have experienced the struggle an eight o’clock class has to offer. We may be just waking up after a long night of doing God knows what, when all of the sudden eight o’clock rolls around. In this case you may get students with bed-head, an unwashed face, not feeling well, etc. All of this and much more should be taken into consideration. A student should always feel confident in their appearance even while in a virtual, academic environment.
With all of this information, it would be very fair to say that turning and off those cameras may seem insignificant but it affects a lot. While in-person contact has been limited, turning on that on that camera may help substantially when connecting virtually.
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