Lack of clarity about the obligation to open the camera for online courses

Can a teacher require a student to open their camera during class to ensure they are present in front of the screen? The answer seems to vary from school to school.

• Also read: According to school principals, more discipline needs to be exercised on screen than in class

In some schools, teachers are prohibited from requiring students to open the camera during online classes, even if they know the student is doing something other than following the lesson, such as playing online games or eating their bowl of cereal to eat.

“These lessons are incomprehensible, they represent a particular challenge for teachers,” says Sylvain Mallette, president of the Autonomous Federation of Education.

Using the camera in online lessons makes all the difference, explains Michel Pouliot, a drama teacher at Robert Gravel Secondary School in Montreal.

“When the camera is closed, we are in the dark and don't know what is happening. The student can be with friends or outside the house,” he explains.

This teacher asks his students to turn on their cameras during his online classes, but students sometimes protest because other teachers don't require this. “The school still needs to adapt to offer more effective online courses,” says Mr Pouliot.

For her part, Annie Roy, who teaches mathematics at the Académie les Estacades in Trois-Rivières, will question a student who closes his camera during class more often to make sure he is really present. “But it’s pretty much the best I can do,” she says.

The Fédération québécoise des Directions d'Establishment d'Enseignement points out that, for reasons of respect for private life, it is difficult to ask a student to open his camera unless the parents have written authorization on the subject signed.

The Fédération des centers de Services scolaire du Québec instead claims that this type of situation must be analyzed on a case-by-case basis depending on the context.

Leave a Comment