Requirements for Courses Held via Video Conferencing Systems

November 23rd, 2020 | by

RWTH would like to remind members to please take note of the requirements for holding courses via video conferencing systems.

Students are not required to display their real name: Students are in no way obligated to provide their personal details in text form (e.g. real name, email address) in video conferences. In addition, students do not have to be logged in to the respective video conferencing system in order to attend any type of course.

Basic information about using webcams: Following feedback from both students and teachers as well as experience from the previous semester, the University urges all instructors and students to activate their webcam during virtual sessions. This is particularly helpful when participants have to interact with one another.

Activating webcams for mandatory in-person courses: Furthermore, instructors can insist that students leave their webcam on during the entire session or for part of it for online courses with compulsory attendance. This does not violate the students’ right to privacy of the home, as they may use a virtual background. Instructors may not prevent this option from being used with technical settings. Students who deactivate their webcam for no technical reason can be excluded from participating in the session. If technical reasons prevent a student from switching on their camera, the instructor should seek a solution for the individual case in agreement with the student concerned.

Identity checks are allowed: For online courses with compulsory attendance, instructors are entitled to determine the identity of the students participating in a video conference. The instructors themselves determine how to perform the identity check, which could, for example, entail the students saying their name out loud or showing their ID card (only photo and name visible).

Distortion of one’s webcam image: Other than during the identity check, students have the right to be displayed in an appropriately disguised manner, e.g. by wearing a mouth-and-nose covering. The filter functions provided by the video conferencing software may also be activated for this purpose.

Recording: If the session is to be recorded, instructors cannot insist that students activate their webcam or actively participate in class discussions. Further information is provided in the declaration of consent for recordings for students:

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