Author ORCID Identifier

Tsai -

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

L@S '22: Proceedings of the Ninth ACM Conference on Learning @ Scale


June 2022

First Page


Last Page



Starting from the spring of 2020, higher institutions in the US underwent a rapid shift from in-person classes to emergency remote education, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Under this circumstance, a variety of video conferencing tools (e.g., Zoom) have been adopted for distance education, which pose a set of new challenges arising from synchronous online classes. Among these, one significant issue was students' unwillingness to open cameras, resulting in a lack of non-verbal cues that instructors could rely on to gauge students' understanding and adjust their teachings. Towards addressing this issue, our qualitative study aims at investigating the rationales behind students' camera avoidance. Through a series of semi-structured interviews on undergraduate students in the U.S, we identified prominent factors -- namely the class size, lecture style, level of interactivity and privacy concerns -- that influenced students' motivation for opening their cameras. At the same time, we uncovered several difficulties, such as heightened self-awareness, feeling of minority and academic perspective, that discouraged students from opening camera, with more substantial impacts on international students. We conclude with actionable insights into the design of online classes, video-conferencing platforms and camera technology that can promote camera usage, thereby contributing to scalable and inclusive interventions for facilitating the transition into remote education.


© {Authors | ACM} {2022}. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive Version of Record was published in {L@S '22: Proceedings of the Ninth ACM Conference on Learning @ Scale},