Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, almost all Southern University students have at least one class that is virtual; most virtual classes do not require students to turn their cameras on, but for the select few that do, students have voiced various opinions and concerns. For some students having to turn their cameras on with no where to go, feels pointless while others do not seem to mind having their cameras on. This has led to a debate amongst students and professors, both all around the country and at Southern University, if having students turn on their camera is essential for virtual classes.

Some students have expressed that having their camera on for a virtual class does not make sense to them. Those students with this opinion have various reasons as to why they do not want to have their cameras on. Students have said that sometimes they only have one class in a day, so they do not want to get dressed for an hour class citing it as a wasted outfit and wasted time. Other students have given the reason that having their camera on does not affect how they learn, and they would rather their professor and peers not be able to see them and their respective learning environment. Others have said since they are not in school, they have no control of their learning environment and would rather their peers not see what is occurring, often in their homes, while in class.

However, on the other hand, some students do not mind having their cameras on for classes. These students have said if they were in class their professors and peers could see them, so it reminds them that they are still in a classroom environment despite being in a pandemic. Jaidyn Nix, a freshman criminal justice major from Austin, Texas, said, “At first I hated having to turn on my camera for my early morning class, but I began to get accustomed to it especially because my professors were nice. The only thing I do hate about it is that I have to get ready and look presentable, but otherwise, it’s fine.” Nix says that her teachers encourage her to turn on her camera, so she is okay with doing so because they are nice. Another student, Noland Johnson, a junior English major from Dallas, Texas, had a similar opinion. Johnson said, “As much as I hate having the camera on in class, it makes me pay attention more, and I guess that’s the main goal of it. Plus, it keeps me involved in the classroom, so it’s cool.” The overall opinion of Southern University students seems to be that having to turn their camera on for an in-person class is not something they enjoy doing, but if it means interacting with kind professors or increasing learning, students are willing to have their cameras on.

Whether students are a camera on or camera off type of individual, their perseverance and determination to learning throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been relentless.

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