CDE Blog

Should students be required to have their cameras on?

1 Feb 2021
Closeup black Logitech webcam

Many staff have been asking about whether they should mandate students to turn their webcams on for live meetings. The OVPLT view is that you should not ordinarily require students to turn on their cameras as there may well be very reasonable explanations as to why students may not wish to be seen.


For instance,

  • students may not wish to share their personal space with others;
  • there may be perceived equality issues around a student’s place of study;
  • students might find it awkward for their faces to be visible;
  • some students report increased anxiety with the idea that they are being closely observed;
  • multiple faces onscreen at the same time can be distracting; or
  • students may be juggling child or other caring responsibilities during class.

If you have a sound educational reason for requesting cameras are turned on, please explain this to students first and give them the opportunity to get in touch if it will present problems. 

However, you can make it clear that students are welcome to leave their cameras on, should they wish.  You may also encourage students to add a profile picture to Teams rather than their initials.

If you’re worried about engagement, perhaps short polls, quizzes, or other verbal interactive exercises will also help to build a sense of community without the need to see everyone’s faces online.

Centre for Digital Education

Ionad um Oideachas Digiteach

1-4 Sheraton Court, First floor, T12 ND89