Should You Require Students To Turn On Their Zoom Cameras?

Getting students actively engaged in learning is the desired goal of instruction in all modalities. The pivot to remote teaching has rekindled productive inquiry about evidence-based strategies for fostering student-instructor, student-content, and student-student forms of interaction in the virtual classroom. This was the focusing theme of a recent High-Contact Strategies session of the College of Liberal Arts Symposium.  Inevitably, one of the faculty panelists asked, “How do you get students to turn on cameras?” The clear implication was that the prevalence of black boxes with names in them in synchronous class sessions negates the attainment of high-contact student engagement. This comment led to spirited discussion on both sides of the question.

Careful consideration of participants’ responses to the initial question coupled with information from pertinent literature on the topic suggested the bigger question:  Should you require students to turn on their Zoom Cameras?

To support faculty as they navigate the issues surrounding the norms for turning Zoom cameras on, the Center for Teaching and Learning has created a succinct infographic that encapsulates two key ideas:

  • Pros and cons of requiring students to turn on Zoom cameras.
  • Evidence-based recommendations for engaging students in learning without the mandatory use of Zoom cameras.

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Funmi Amobi is an Instructional Consultant and College Liaison in Oregon State University’s Center for Teaching and Learning. Funmi provides consultations to faculty in individual and small group settings to support teaching excellence and student success.

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