Why Students Need To Turn On Their Cameras During Zoom Meetings
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Why Students Need To Turn On Their Cameras During Zoom Meetings

One click for Man, one giant leap for Mankind.

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Why Students Need To Turn On Their Cameras During Zoom Meetings
Photo by visuals on Unsplash

Unpopular opinion ahead. Here it is: I think we students need to make a stronger attempt to turn on our Zoom cameras, because it leads to a warmer, more realistic learning environment.

Yeah, I get it. You probably don't want to. It might seem weird, pretentious, or even meaningless to turn on your camera while a professor is giving a lecture, or while your classmates are discussing a problem set in Breakout rooms. As long as you're there listening, why does it even matter if anyone else can actually see you?

But, I think it matters. A lot. Turning on your camera helps all three "types" of people in a classroom setting. It helps you, your classmates, and the professor.


Before I elaborate on how the camera helps these groups of people, I'd like to mention that I wasn't always a "camera on" person either. When my classes first moved online back in March, I did what felt natural to me at the time: I muted and turned off my video as soon as I entered every class. I did this because I didn't feel comfortable being stared at by other strangers, and also because I thought professors might consider it rude if students had their video on during lectures. I just assumed that professors would appreciate having the video spotlight rather than a whole bunch of students that were simply there to listen.

Things went on like this for a while, until one day, as my Mom and I were having our weekly afternoon stroll, she brought something up that would end up changing my perspective. She lamented about how her fellow co-workers didn't turn on their cameras during her Zoom meetings, and she compared the experience to that of staring into an empty void. After all, that is exactly what a Zoom conference room with everyone's camera off looks like. A void. A wall. An empty box.

I realized that my professors must be dealing with these same feelings. Before this pandemic, teachers and students connected face-to-face and that's something special we are currently missing on Zoom. Contrary to my incorrect assumptions, I've come to realize that professors actually appreciate it when we students turn on our cameras. My physics professor goes through the trouble of thanking each and every person with their camera on by name to show his gratitude.

Being present visually also helps your classmates as well. By being able to see each other, I think we'd make this abnormal learning situation a lot warmer, and friendlier for one another. I also think it's so much more exciting to actually see and communicate face-to-face with classmates, rather than simply stare at black boxes and engage in monotonic audio-only dialogue.

Lastly, I just wanted to say to the reader: I applaud you for having gotten to where you are today amidst these strange circumstances. For all the hard work we've done to get through this, I think it'd be wrong not to take this one final step. All I ask is for you to consider being the bold one to turn on your camera. It only requires the single click of a button, but it will be immensely influential for the hundreds of classmates and teachers that you impact.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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