Webcam "Netiquette"

I found this eye-opening article from Wired Campus (link at end of article).  It discusses how synchronous online classes are raising questions about what is appropriate "Netiquette," since people are eating or lying down while on the webcam, and in one instance, a nude spouse walked by in the background!  I have experienced similar things in my online courses, where students leave their mics on while talking to their children or spouse, or have a TV playing behind them.  Part of the benefit of taking online courses is being able to interact from the comfort of your own home, but how "comfortable" do we really want students to be? I think it's obvious that students probably shouldn't eat or watch TV while in the class session, but can we really restrict whether or not their children cry or dogs bark in the background? Didn't we offer them online courses so that they could still take care of their children or other responsibilities and stay home? I've also noticed several students who log in from work, and you can see other employees in the background.  Is this acceptable?  Do we need to accept it because we want online courses to be accessible for stay-at-home moms or working professionals, even if it is distracting and detracts from their and others' education? Where should teachers and administrators draw the line when setting restrictions?  It will be interesting to see if more universities, or even our own, begin setting restrictions on these kinds of things.

 

http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/nudity-pets-babies-and-other-adve...

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