New connect policies

In+Katherine+Turkelson%27s+4th+period+Newspaper+class%2C+Seminole+Connect+students++log+in+to+class+with+cameras+on+in+response+to+new+policies+.

Photo provided by: Brooke Holland

In Katherine Turkelson’s 4th period Newspaper class, Seminole Connect students log in to class with cameras on in response to new policies .

Brooke Holland, Features Editor

The first semester of my junior year consisted of waking up minutes before my classes started, an attire limited to pajamas and random snack breaks while I sat behind my computer screen during school hours. The option to join classes with or without a computer camera turned on gave many Connect students, myself included, the freedom to complete assignments from the comfort of their bed or grab a bowl of ice cream in between classes because the freezer is just a room away. On the other hand, this “freedom” has more so impacted me adversely than it has positively, considering my constant confusion of material during classes and the lack of student to teacher conversations. Ultimately, a shift in these rules will be beneficial for everyone. 

The Seminole Connect policies were announced to take on a new course of action on January 4, at the notice of an email sent to all Connect students. This email informed students that cameras will not be optional, unless they wish to be marked absent for the class. Despite my lack of enthusiasm for any moment where I have to face the awkwardness of turning my camera on, I feel this will be better in the long run for all students choosing to continue their school year online. Seminole Connect acts as a barrier not just physically but also by limiting the access to communication necessary for students to actively learn and participate in daily lessons.  Students often choose to keep their cameras off and some teachers tend to put in the same minimal effort when persuading students to turn them on. After working to get past the initial discomfort  of having to converse with classmates and teachers in a professional tone while a messy bedroom sits behind you, classes have the potential to become more comfortable and create a normal atmosphere for students who are not physically sitting in a classroom. 

These Webex protocols should have been implemented sooner considering the evident shift in some students’ grades. It is far too easy for me to be able to check my phone in the middle of class or become distracted by a dog passing my window. With a camera on, my complete attention would be on the lesson being taught and allow for a less awkward environment when asking and answering questions. Requiring all students to turn on their videos for the duration of the class period will allow for better focus during class and, hopefully, an increased understanding of material.