Online Learning Policies
Lecture Capture and FERPA
Video and audio recordings of classes have many advantages. Students can watch missed or previously attended classes, and faculty can post them for use in future semesters. However, given the nature of the recording and its intended use, certain Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) guidelines must be followed.
What I Need to Know NOW
FERPA guidelines must be followed when recording lectures or class activities. Please read the information provided below carefully before recording and posting your classes.
When is Written Permission Required?
If your recording contains images, voices or other identifying information of students AND you plan to disseminate that recording to a 3rd party, you must first obtain written consent from the identified students.
- Exception - You may disseminate the recording with identifying information without written consent to other students enrolled in the same class and section. For example, a recorded lecture may be shown to a student that was absent for the class. However, you may not make the recording available to students in another section of the same class without written consent.
How Can I Avoid Needing Written Consent?
- Do not make the recording available to anyone except to the students enrolled in the specific course and section.
- Do not record images, voices or other identifying student information.
- Blur student images, distort voices, and omit other identifying information before disseminating. This requires special software. Contact the Center for Faculty Excellence for assistance.
Here is a sample written consent from that you can use. Electronic signatures are allowed by FERPA. You are responsible for retaining all forms until the recording is deleted or destroyed.
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
Is my recorded lecture 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.
What is the easiest way to comply with FERPA if students will be asking questions and/or making presentations?
Plan the recordings so that they do not show students who are asking questions, don’t refer to the students by name, and avoid repeating the student’s question 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 and Southeastern 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.
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 session.
If the professor wants to allow access to a recording (that includes student participation) to others outside of the class, is this permitted?
It depends. There are several ways to use recordings that include student participation.
- Faculty may obtain individualized FERPA consents from the students in the recording which allow use of this portion of the recording. This type of consent can be obtained on a case-by-case basis or from all the students at the beginning of the class.
- 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).
Can I show recordings from past semesters 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?
Please visit the U.S. Department Of Education's website to learn more.
Note: Rice University granted permission for the adaptation and use of this material.
ADDITIONAL POLICIES RELATED TO ONLINE LEARNING CAN BE ACCESSED BELOW.