Please, turn on your camera.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of InQuire Media

Image courtesy of Maria Angel on Unsplash

With the term well underway, all of us no doubt convulse at the mere thought or mention of ‘Microsoft Teams’. I think it’s safe to assume that we’ve all had good and bad experiences with our new way of learning and I think it’s also safe to assume that we can all find one common ground: it does not deliver the same quality as face to face teaching… and it certainly isn’t "hybrid".

Our learning is already suffering, but when we opt to turn off our cameras, we make the lives of our lecturers harder and we stifle any "real" chance of proper participation. And as we are all well aware, thanks to the uni’s persistent indoctrination, attendance correlates to better grades. Though this mantra seems to have been tossed out the window, are we really attending if our lecturers are just sat staring at our initials?

We’ve all experienced it. Our lecturers appealing for at least one camera to be turned on. Their pleas often fall on deaf ears as the awkward silence that follows hijacks the entire meeting and sets a dull tone for an already dull circumstance. There is only room for active listening and active engagement if we can see each other’s faces.

I want to make a pact with you. From here on in, I will always turn on my camera— even when I roll out of bed 5 minutes before— because now it’s up to us, the students, to make the most of it. Yes, online teaching sucks. But are you doing your bit to make it better for yourself and for fellow students?

Next time you click join meeting and see your lecturer all alone, turn on your camera. Chances are people in the class are just not willing to be the first. Just think of it like a normal lecture or seminar where you can’t just be a disembodied voice.

So spread the word. We are turning on our cameras.

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First published in 1965, InQuire is the University of Kent student newspaper.

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