Privacy considerations in teaching

You may want to record class sessions. However, this must be done within FERPA guidelines and should be done transparently and with student agency. This page provides some effective privacy practices to aid your teaching in online, hybrid, and in-person environments.

Lecture Recordings and FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. FERPA does not prohibit lecture recording of classes, but does require certain protections be in place.

  • If a faculty member wants to record their lectures and make them available to the students in that section, they can do so without violating FERPA, assuming the recording is available in a secure environment like Canvas.
  • Faculty should not upload recordings of a class session to a public site like YouTube if the students are visible in the recording, either by name or by image.
  • Faculty who wish to record lectures for use in later semesters may do so by recording the course in such a way that the students’ identity in the course is never revealed.
  • The Department of Education has provided information on FERPA during COVID-19.
  • JMU has additional resources on FERPA regulations.

Student Privacy

Even if you plan to use Canvas to store class recordings, students should be made aware that recording is taking place.

The use of public sites like YouTube for student-created videos as a required part of coursework is strongly discouraged. These videos persist long after the class is over and may persist in other venues even if the file is deleted from the platform.

Additional Privacy and Security Resources

Data breaches, privacy violations, and hacks are a part of our reality. As more of our activities take place online and technology advances at a dizzying pace, it is imperative that we understand how to protect ourselves, our data, and our reputations online.

Here are some concrete steps you can take to protect your online identity. These links will take you to our Online Privacy and Security guide:

  • Basics of staying safe online, including some simple tips everyone should follow, guides to secure different types and brands of devices, and what to do if you find you’ve been hacked or your identity has been stolen
  • How you’re being tracked online, what data is being collected about you, and how you can limit this tracking and data collection
  • All about passwords! Learn how to choose secure passwords, use a password protection service, and test the strength of your passwords
  • Social Media: how to lock your accounts down, take control of the data you provide each network, and give your online presence a professional makeover.
  • Advanced security tools such as encryption services, Virtual Private Networks, Tor browsers, and other apps and services
  • Legal rights related to online privacy and security in the United States

Patient privacy and HIPPA: 

For recordings and video conferencing involving observing clinical sessions, telemedicine activities, discussing patient information, etc., please refer to subject-specific HIPPA guidelines, and check the Recording Courses and Student Privacyinformation in the Academic Affairs FAQ.