PRO & CON: Should cameras always be on during class?

PRO: Keeping cameras on in Teams meetings is important

Having your camera on for class is a school requirement for online classes through Teams. The reason for this isn’t just for teachers to see what students are wearing or see where they are taking classes. It’s to establish a connection and to maintain academic integrity.

It can be a struggle to risk the temptation to go on your phone in class and watch the latest TikToks or influencers on Instagram when on calls from home. Having a teacher monitor if students are focusing is important in ensuring every student is set up for success.
Additionally, the same goes for Googling answers. Without having a camera on, calls feel less like a classroom and more like background noise. Therefore, the urge to cheat or ask for help from an outside source is more tempting. Keeping a camera on can discourage this urge from cheating and make sure everyone has a fair academic playing field.
If cheating is occurring more often than usual through online learning, it can completely destroy academic integrity as a school and lead to unnecessary grade inflation. It also gives students in-person learning an unfair testing situation because students at home have access to more resources.
There may not be a way to 100% control cheating when testing from home, but having cameras on is a measure that needs to be taken in order to have some sense of control.
Besides these harmful effects, keeping cameras off causes the virtual classrooms to lose the normal connections. It’s going into school and seeing all your friends and teachers that makes school enjoyable and the most productive. Without that, JC wouldn’t be the community it is. Continuing that connection online even through a digital platform is important in establishing normalcy and having connections with teachers.
Even though those interactions on calls are small, it’s meaningful to make teachers feel like they aren’t just talking to blank screens.
Now that more and more students are in the building, it also helps to make sure that teachers can see if students are following along in the class discussions online and in person. It makes it feel like, although students are in different places, the cameras connect the overall classroom together.
Keeping the camera on during calls is not only helpful to teachers, but for students as well.
Having the camera on makes sure students are not just up by 8 am to get on a Teams call but are ready and out of bed to take notes and be engaged. This doesn’t mean putting on a nice outfit and doing hair and makeup. It means getting up, brushing teeth and sitting in an area that will make sure students are set up for success.
One of the hardest parts about online school is holding students accountable without the guidance of a teacher in person. It takes self-restraint and responsibility to make sure a student is taking their education seriously in and out of the building.
Having the mindset that being on calls is as important and necessary as being in person for classes is important to make sure students are making the best choices for their education.
The best solution to maintain a rigorous and comfortable learning environment is to keep the cameras on. – Belle Wilson, Editor-in-Chief

CON: Students shouldn’t be required to leave their cameras on in meetings

When distance learning began at John Carroll in the spring of 2020, students were required to use the application Microsoft Teams.

In every Teams meeting, students are required to stay muted but keep their cameras on to make sure that students are paying attention. However, students really should not be required to keep their cameras on during any Teams meeting. There are several factors as to why students shouldn’t be required to keep their cameras on.
One reason has to do with background distractions. There have been some cases across the country of stuff happening in the backgrounds behind students that is strange/unusual and can provide a distraction to not only the teacher but to other students who are present in the Teams call as well.
It also seems that students have their cameras on for the beginning of class for attendance, but as the 55-minute period goes by, cameras go off by one-by-one. Some teachers comment on this while others don’t mention it at all. It’s unfair that some students can get away with not following this rule while other don’t. There needs to be all-around standard for all students to follow which should be that cameras are optional.
Other times students don’t even have their cameras facing their face. Instead teachers get a nice view of students’ ceilings or foreheads. This completely defeats the purpose of even having a camera on for class. If cameras were really necessary and made students comfortable, this problem would not exist.
Keeping the camera on in class isn’t the most comfortable feeling. You have to let the class see a part of your life that otherwise wouldn’t be shared when coming to school. It’s an invasion if privacy to force students to share aspects of their personal lives they aren’t comfortable sharing. In turn, this can give students anxiety and create issues for students’ lives at home.
Another reason for JC students to not have to leave their cameras on during meetings is because they don’t need their camera on for a teacher to know if they’re paying attention or not.
Before a class begins, a teacher can take attendance by calling out each student’s name on the attendance sheet and asking them to confirm that they are present in the class.
That way, when the teacher has a question, he/she can call on any student who is marked down as present after the initial attendance taking, because he/she knows they are paying attention and present.
When student moves into a smaller group or if a teacher calls on the student, it’s easy enough for the student to turn the camera on to participate. When the teacher is only providing information, it is not necessary
It’s at this point where cameras being required to be turned on during classes is almost unnecessary. It provides a distraction to students and staff and can be a nuisance to deal with for teachers.
It’s just not worth requiring it. – Giovanni Rizzotti, Entertainment Editor