I’ve just started my new uni semester (three weeks late at Newcastle for some reason? Why do we need 3 ‘induction’ weeks?) and have noticed something about the online lectures.

In an online lecture “theatre”, of let’s say around 50 people, there is a tendency to switch off the web camera. Neither the lecturer nor the other students have to see you. I’ll hold my hands up and say I sometimes do this too! 

In smaller seminars, teachers often ask students to turn their cameras on because it’s more interactive and less disconcerting than teaching to a wall of blank screens. (Is this different to teaching in front rows of blank faces I wonder?)

But in the big lectures we can hide. We can hide like we did in the actual lecture theatres. We choose where to sit and where to hide. 

There is no accountability in the big lectures. Do we even have to show up? Do we join the Zoom meetings because we don’t want to look bad for missing it, but still go on our phones and laptops anyway?

How do you hold yourself accountable in your work?