The New Cam Requirement and Student Participation

A discussion on the effects the new cam requirement will have on the students attending Williamsburg Academy

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Karen Arnold from Pixabay

Is the new cam requirement affecting student participation? Check it out!

Stephanie Campbell, Editor in Chief

How participation in classes is affected by the new cam requirement

It was 8:03 am on Monday, January 13th, she had logged into her Gov and Econ class and now was staring at her screen as the mentor read the announcements. She hears the reminder, “all students must come on cam otherwise they’ll be kicked out.” She shuffles through her class of twenty-one students. The minute of silence. A pause and the teacher welcomes everyone back. She turns on her cam, even though she just woke up five minutes ago. Looking at the little box on the screen she sees her reflection and suddenly her mind floods with thoughts of worry. She can no longer pay attention to class. She is anxious about what the other students are thinking. Her cam goes off with the click of her mouse and she is back in the zone to participate in the class discussion. “Now that no one can see me I might as well lay back down,” she thinks. “Ahhh, now what are we talking about?” She wakes up to the sound of her mentor’s voice explaining how the flywheel works. She looks down at the clock, 8:43 am… 

Welcome back to Getting the Inside Scoop on the New Cam Requirement. In this week’s article, we will be discussing how participation in classes is affected by Williamsburg Academy’s new cam requirement. For this series, I interviewed five students, Evan Reichard, Olivia Maloy, Addison Bollinger, Adam Mitchell and a student who chose to remain anonymous, and two mentors, Anya Yeager and Peter Jensen, from Williamsburg Academy.

Participation is a fickle thing that no-one quite knows how to regulate. Students could be engaged one minute and by the asking of an impossible question the next, crickets chirp, chat becomes off-topic and students’ focus is flailing everywhere. To improve participation, the leaders of Williamsburg Academy have asked the students to turn their cams on for the entire duration of their classes. For some students being on cam improves participation, but for others, the video of themselves on the screen is all they can think about. 

Addison Bollinger, who found it hard to come on cam at all last year, explained to me, “When I am on cam, I don’t end up focusing on what’s being said in class I’m just focusing on how I look on cam.” However, this year things changed as she describes, “I still hate being on cam most of the time, but I’ll do it because it does make me more focused on learning and it engages me more in class… as long as my crush is not in the room.” 

An anonymous student similarly expressed, “Every time I come on cam I can’t pay attention because I am so worried about what people are thinking, but some days I’m distracted and I’m leaving to go get stuff so I come on cam.” Her thoughts were profoundly relatable as she described how she struggles with focusing in class while on cam. She concluded by telling me that anxiety and self-consciousness seriously affect her participation.

If you are one of those students who struggle with coming on cam, Adam Mitchell reminds us that, “you legit can just not go to class.” He further describes how for most classes you can just watch the recording. He passionately explains, “As soon as you put requirements on an unrequired thing it makes me, the rebellious side in me, just not wanna go.” But on the other hand, you might be missing out as Anya Yeager cheerfully points out, “It can be really fun when everybody is participating and you can see everybody in the room. It’s a great time.” 

During our interview, Evan Reichard stated that he always comes on cam. However, later he confessed, “Yeah, I turned off my cam for the whole class before, not really said anything and maybe looked at my phone, but like should I have been doing that? no.” He continued to explain, “When you’re on cam you are more engaged and that makes for a better class.” Although he doesn’t struggle with being self-conscious, sometimes he just doesn’t feel like participating so he goes off cam but that negatively affects his participation. 

Coming on cam makes students self-conscious. Coming on cam helps students participate. There seems to be more to this new requirement than we thought. Can you be self-conscious and still participate? Are you worried about what people are thinking? Is that negatively affecting your participation? Check back next week for a discussion on how anxiety and self-consciousness are becoming more of an issue now that everyone is required to be on cam regardless of their opinions and situation. 

Remember, if you have opinions or you would like to tell us your story on how the new cam requirement is affecting you, COMMENT BELOW! Let’s start the discussion!

If you haven’t already, go check out the first article in this series HERE.

BONUS TIMEEE!!!

Schwoaze from Pixabay

Do you ever keep your cam broken just because you don’t like the new requirement??? 

Never fear! How to Fix Your Cam 101 (regardless if you want it fixed or not) is here!

During these troubling times of little black boxes, error messages and malfunctioning cams, it is best to turn to the source of all truth, llamas. Let your llamas guide you, they know the way. After all, the llama is our mascot. 

After you embark on that soul searching quest to discover llama wisdom, Addison Bollinger has some advice of her own, she tells us, “oh gosh, I am the least tech-savvy person this world has ever seen, my camera is literally not on right now because I don’t know how to fix it.” 

Welp, that was helpful. But later she recommended, “If you have a broken cam, text, dm, or private chat your crush and be like ‘hey, my cam is broken do you want to come over and fix it for me?’ and girl, you got yourself a man with that one.” 

Thank you for that pick-up line, Addy. We will all be using that one now.

Wellsies, that’s all for now! Check back next week for more useful advice on how to fix your cam. 😉