First Day Back in School

LSU students head to class Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020 on their first day of school in the Quad on LSU's campus.

As students and professors alike continue to navigate their way through online learning, much is left up to instructors’ discretion to define proper virtual-classroom etiquette. 

Some professors require students to keep their cameras on while attending Zoom classes.  

“I understand because they want to make sure we’re engaged and paying attention,” marketing senior Fernanda Bonet said. “But most of us are stuck at home and sometimes I think that can be an invasion of privacy. Not all of us are comfortable with that.”

Political science professor Nathan Kalmoe said he believes students should have the right to turn their cameras on or off. 

“In this pandemic, we all find ourselves in lots of circumstances that make requiring a camera on unreasonable, including childcare or unwillingness to show other parts of the surrounding environment on camera,” Kalmoe said. 

Communications senior Regan Broussard said one professor requires her to ask permission to turn her camera off to use the restroom.

“If I don’t have to ask permission to use the restroom during in-person classes, I really don’t think I should ask permission to use the restroom in my own home,” Broussard said. 

Mass communication professor Freda Dunne said she requires students to turn their cameras on for guest speakers or class exercises.

“When I’m talking about something new or that students have always had trouble understanding, I like to see their faces if they appear confused,” Dunne said. 

Dunne said she believes students should have a standard when it comes to what is worn to attend virtual classes. 

Pajamas, she said, are usually acceptable but students should be held to the same standard as they would to attend in-person classes. 

LSU Communication across the Curriculum provided several etiquette tips for online meetings. 

The post recommends students keep the camera on if possible and look directly at the camera in order to make the meeting “look and feel” face to face. 

Dunne said she would support some universal guidelines but professors should ultimately have the final say.

Kalmoe said he believes rules should be left to the discretion of individual professors. 

“Instructors should have some discretion over class format, like synchronous or not, and level of interaction, but the other details irrelevant to learning should be left for students to decide,” Kalmoe said.

Load comments