Lecture Recording Privacy FAQ
Depending on how the recordings are created or edited, they may constitute educational records that are protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) -- the federal student privacy law. This page explains acceptable practices for utilizing video and audio recordings in the classroom setting.
- Is a recorded lecture (audio or video) a protected student record?
- If a recording includes only the instructor, it is not a student record and FERPA does not limit its use. If the recording includes students asking questions, making presentations or leading a class (other than TAs), and it is possible to identify the student, then the portions containing recordings of the student do constitute protected educational records. Educational records can only be used as permitted by FERPA or in a manner allowed by a written consent from the student.
- May a recording that includes student participation be posted for other class members to view or listen to?
- Yes. If access is limited to other students in the class, FERPA does not limit or prevent its use and does not require obtaining a written consent. This allows instructors to create access for students in the class to watch or re-watch past class sessions.
- Can an instructor allow individuals outside of a class to access a video of that class that includes student participation?
- Maybe. There are several ways to use recordings that include student participation.
- The instructor may obtain individualized FERPA consents from the students in the recording which allow use of that portion of the recordings. This type of consent can be obtained on a case-by-case basis or from all the students at the outset of a class. An online form to indicate consent can be found at this link. Consent to Release Student Information. Students should select Registrar as the office coordinating the record, and select “Other” when needed to describe the release of recorded class participation.
- Recordings can be edited to either omit any student who has not consented to the use of their voice or image, or be edited to de-identify the student in the recording (which can include avoiding or removing any mention of the student’s name, blurring the student’s image, altering voice recordings, etc.).
- Recordings can also be planned so that students (such as those asking questions during a class) are not shown in the video or referred to by name (another way to de-identify the student).
- What is the easiest way to comply with FERPA if I am video recording my class sessions and students will be asking questions, doing presentations, or appearing on camera?
- If access is limited to other students in the class, FERPA does not limit or prevent its use and does not require obtaining a written consent. This allows instructors to create access for students in the class to watch or re-watch past class sessions.
However, if students have privacy concerns and do not wish to appear in recordings, they should be informed they may turn OFF video and can notify the instructor in writing (via email) prior to the next class session. Students can also use a pseudonym instead of their name. Students can also ask questions privately through the chat feature by addressing the question to the instructor or TA only (and not to “everyone”), or contact the instructor or TA by another private method, agreed upon in advance of class.
Note that this provision does not apply to classes at the UIC John Marshall Law School. Questions or concerns can be directed to Law School Associate Dean Ramsey Donnell.
If access will not be limited to students in the class, plan the recordings accordingly. Make sure not to show students who are asking questions and don’t refer to the students by name. Avoid repeating the student’s name in the recording (de-identifying the students removes the need for a specific consent from each student depicted). If a student happens to appear on camera, their identity can be edited out or a written consent can be obtained.
Because student presentations make it more difficult to de-identify the student, the instructor should obtain a FERPA consent from the student making a presentation. For any video projects, such as student-made films, you should obtain a written consent.
- Can the instructor show recordings from last year’s class to the current class?
- Under FERPA, this situation must be treated as if the recordings were being shown to a third-party audience which requires FERPA compliance through use of consents or de-identification of any students depicted.
- What if a student declines to sign a FERPA consent?
- Students cannot be compelled or required to give consent, though the instructor may edit the student out of the recording or de-identify him or her even if the student refuses to consent.
- Who can I consult for guidance on how to comply with federal law in my use of class-related recordings?
- Whenever you have questions on FERPA or University policies, consult:
- Where can I learn more about FERPA at UIC?
- Learn more about FERPA and take the FERPA tutorial and quiz to be FERPA certified on our Student Records page found at https://registrar.uic.edu/uic_faculty_staff/student_records_policy/.
More detailed information about FERPA and the UIC Student Records Policy is available at https://registrar.uic.edu/uic_faculty_staff/student_records_policy/.