Zoom Computer Photo Illustration

Photo illustration by (Cara Pedersen / Daily Titan)

As some professors require cameras to be on during Zoom classes, many students have questioned if the obligation is fair.

“In my opinion, classes that require Zoom video really give me negative vibes. I understand wanting to be able to see your students’ faces, but at the risk of your student’s privacy, it feels unfair to make students do that,” said Damian Arteaga, a theater major at Cal State Fullerton.

Much of the online discourse regarding virtual instruction has centered around what the laws and regulations are for professors who mandate that students turn on their web cameras

Currently there are no laws that restrict the demand.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, focuses on the privacy of educational records and the right to correct misleading or misrecorded information on a students’ record. Zoom classes with video cameras on are not considered a violation of this act or a student’s privacy.

“You put in an uncomfortable position of having their personal spaces on view for everyone, not just the professor. And students who do not wish to share their video should not be penalized for it,” Arteaga said.

Robert Quezada, a CSUF communications professor, said that students tend to feel more compelled to leave the room during virtual classes or not pay attention, when the camera is off.

Though a students’ icon or picture displayed in the meeting, he required all his students to have their cameras on, or else they're considered absent, Quezada said.

Many CSUF Professors, such as Scott Annin, a CSUF mathematics professor, do not require cameras to be on for participation except during exams or quizzes.

Annin said in an email to the Daily Titan that he does not enforce video for his long Zoom lectures and understands internet or technology challenges that are out of a student’s control. However, he does require video to be on for examinations.

“I encourage the students to use their microphones or the chat option in Zoom to communicate whether they have their webcam turned on or not,” Annin said.

“You'll just feel like you're part of the classroom environment rather than just having your camera off,” Quezada said. “When you participate, you're going to learn more than just sitting there and being taught at because you'll see my reaction and you'll see the other students' reactions.”

Many CSUF Professors, such as Scott Annin, a CSUF mathematics professor, do not require cameras to be on for participation except during exams or quizzes.

Annin said an in email to the Daily Titan that he does not enforce video for his long Zoom lectures and understands internet or technology challenges that are out of a student’s control. However, he does require video to be on for examinations.

“I encourage the students to use their microphones or the chat option in Zoom to communicate whether they have their webcam turned on or not,” Annin said.

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