Do I need a camera for class?
Cameras are not required for our classes unless specified in the course description requirements. However, starting in 2020-21 cameras will be allowed for discussion portions of our live classes and will be encouraged in classes that involve considerable interaction.
- Conferencing video has improved so that scalable video (where low speed connections can mix with high speed connections and see more than just a tiny talking head) is coming into usability. This opens the way for academically purposeful video (e.g., live demonstrations) that allows everyone to engage.
- Purposeful integration of video can enhance both academic and social development.
- At the time of this update, coronavirus isolation measures are heightening the need for stronger social connection in online classes as it is reduced elsewhere. While the current crisis is a catalyst, we also anticipate that online work and education will be permanently changed as a long-term result.
We use cameras in a moderated approach:
- We turn off cameras during lecture periods in our live classes. We want to keep students focused on the interactive class content being shown by the teacher, not on watching cameras or showing their own camera.
- We allow cameras during interactive discussion periods in our classes when the teachers can focus on moderating the audio and video interaction.
- We actively encourage camera use for some classes like foreign language conversation classes or lab demonstration classes where the academic interaction can be directly enhanced through audio and video collaboration.
We continue to be concerned about increased safety and privacy concerns with cameras, particularly for minors:
- Our rooms are accessible only by users registered for access to that specific class section for that specific time period. We never allow student access to any unsupervised or unmonitored room.
- As we implement and increase camera use, we are also increasing monitoring and logging to prevent anonymous or unmonitored use of cameras in rooms with students. We openly record and log all interactions in rooms (study rooms, meeting rooms) that do not have a staff member present 100% of the time.
- We maintain all records securely and privately, accessible only by certified staff members.