Identifying student motivations for webcam use in online courses

Leslie S. LeRoy, Renee Kaufmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


COVID-19 led college and university faculty to quickly shift courses online. With this shift came concerns regarding educational quality; thus, many faculty opted or were encouraged to offer synchronous and/or hybrid online courses in Fall 2020 and Spring 2021. This led faculty to consider relying on webcams to engage students. Anecdotal and scholarly perspectives overwhelming called for faculty to not require webcams in synchronous and/or hybrid online classes due to student privacy concerns, stress/anxiety, lack of technological access, overlapping family responsibilities, and poor internet connections. However, faculty were left with a tough choice to require or not require webcams, as webcams are a primary means to engage students in online synchronous and/or hybrid courses. Thus, this study examined students’ motivations behind turning on or off webcams during online synchronous and/or hybrid courses via the lens of self-determination theory (SDT). Data were collected via an online open-ended survey where participants reported their webcam usage and motivations during a recent synchronous and/or hybrid online course. Results indicated students were most motivated by needs for autonomy and relatedness but less motivated by needs for competence and extrinsic motivators in choosing to use webcams.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInteractive Learning Environments
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • COVID-19
  • Online learning
  • instructional technology
  • self-determination theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


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