Recording Policy

There are several reasons that faculty might record or allow students to record, all or portions of classes, including:

  • The educational needs of students with documented disabilities.
  • The educational needs of some students unable to participate synchronously for acceptable reasons.
  • If the faculty member wishes to illustrate some particular skill or methodology (e.g., an artistic technique) that would require close proximity to the instructor under conditions of social distancing.

The increased recording or partial recording of class sessions raises two important questions for faculty:

  1. Intellectual Property – who owns the recordings?
  2. Student and Faculty Privacy – how do we protect the privacy of individual students who might be recorded without their consent as they ask questions and make comments during a typical class?

Intellectual Property Considerations

The material produced by faculty in the regular course of preparing for and teaching classes, including such things as syllabi, worksheets and assignment instructions, examinations and tests, examination review guides, and the like, are regarded as the intellectual property of the instructor who produced them.

Lectures are teaching content that is created by instructors, and thus remain the instructors’ intellectual property. There are some caveats and considerations, however. Faculty may legitimately include another individual’s copyrighted material (illustrations, graphs, videos, etc.) in their presentations under fair use doctrine since they are for educational rather than commercial purposes and are for a limited duration. The presence of these types of copyrighted material in a lecture does become a consideration when universities wish to record and then monetize those recorded class sessions, since material they contain may no longer be considered “fair use.”

There are other important considerations when determining intellectual property rights within a recording of classroom activities. Guest lecturers or student presenters retain copyright of their materials, for example. If a faculty member designs a course using “extraordinary university resources” – as part of a grant, for instance – the terms of the grant might mean that instructional material produced is not the faculty member’s intellectual property.

There are several technologies that faculty can use to record instructional material including, but not limited to, recording a voiceover for PowerPoint slides, recording via Camtasia, using an editing software to record the instructor giving brief lectures, or recording a Zoom class meeting. Zoom is a central component of our hybrid learning model, since it is the means by which students learning remotely will interact with the instructor and students in the classroom. When utilizing some of this software, the faculty member can retain control over the recording, since the file can remain on the instructor’s computer. In other cases, including Zoom, the file is stored first on the CSB|SJU Zoom website and, while it can be downloaded by the instructor, remains on the CSB|SJU Zoom website for 30 days.  Because recordings are automatically deleted after 30 days, faculty who wish to save their save this content for their future use should download and save the recordings.

Privacy Considerations

The recording of class sessions that involve student questions and responses, or classes that involve small or large group discussion is also problematic for student privacy. Because we are a small liberal arts college and our pedagogy is focused on active learning, particularly large and small group discussion, students in the class may be recorded expressing opinions or providing personal information. The privacy of students becomes significantly more concerning in a social media environment where comments can be taken out of context and disseminated widely. Faculty are at risk in this environment, too.  It is essential that both students and faculty are protected from doxing and other forms of cyber-bullying.

Thus, instructors must consider the potential impact on students and themselves as they record classroom activities. Instructors should be aware that students have the right to privacy within the classroom experience. The instructor may choose not to record a class discussion of a sensitive topic, when recording that discussion will, in the view of the instructor, inhibit the discussion or present a significant privacy problem for students. They should be aware of the recording and the protections available. It is good practice to notify students of the recording of the class before the recording is made.

If the instructor, for reasons of pedagogy, course content, or student privacy, does not wish class sessions to be recorded, they have the authority to restrict such personal recordings. The syllabus should include a clear statement to this effect.

If the instructor is recording full class periods for most of the class periods in a semester (as might be the case in a remote-learning environment) a statement in the syllabus should make this clear.

If recordings are only used intermittently throughout the course, students should be informed of the recording before each class period via email or through the Canvas announcements.

For suggested language for syllabus statements and course announcements, see Academic Catalog: Policy on Syllabi.

Recording for Students with Disabilities

The ADA requires instructors to provide adequate accommodations to students who have a documented disability. For students with certain disabilities, recording of class sessions can be helpful.  

In compliance with federal law, therefore, instructors must give permission for students to record classroom activities if doing so qualifies as an appropriate and legitimate academic adjustment. When balancing accessibility needs with the privacy of other students in a discussion-based class, the faculty member, in full consultation with the Student Accessibility Service office, might consider a different accommodation, such as a note-taker rather than recording. Students with permission to record the class are regulated by the same constraints regarding sharing or distribution of course materials as other students.

Students who wish to record a class session using their own devices must be registered with Student Accessibility Services, have an approved accommodation to record the class session, and must request permission from and gain approval of the instructor. The recording must be for personal academic use, may not be shared beyond the course, and must be destroyed at the end of the semester. The student must sign a recording agreement and this form is held by the Student Accessibility Services office for the semester. The instructor has the authority to prohibit the recording, in part or in full, of any class session, provided that an appropriate alternative accommodation is available.

For suggested language for a syllabus statement for students with disabilities, see Academic Catalog: Policy on Syllabi.
The recording agreement is available on the Student Accessibility Services website.