Can students record a lecture?

Bob Sprankle writes a very interesting post on the Tech+Learning blog this month – Who has the Right? where he asks a lot of very good questions and offers some advice about the use of a LiveScribe pen to record audio from the classroom while taking notes.

But there are still lots of questions about this. It’s really more than just about this one technology – you can ponder about any recording device in the classroom from video cameras and phones to many laptops that have this capability.

Some questions this brings up:

  • Should a teacher be asked before recording? Does the law require consent, or merely notification?
  • What if the student has special needs for recording and playing back? Does it matter if there is an IEP in place or not?
  • Does a teacher have to have a “valid” reason to say no? If they simply don’t like the idea, does this negate the student’s right to an accessible education? A teacher couldn’t take a student’s glasses away just because they don’t like them.
  • Do wiretapping laws apply?
  • What if other students in the class are recorded? Is that fair/legal? Might it stop open classroom discussion?
  • If a student does record a lecture, does anyone (administrators, parents, etc.) have the right to ask for that recording?
  • Are there restrictions on what the student can do with the recording, such as post it online or give it to other students?
  • Are there any restrictions for teachers recording their own class? Do they need student/parent/school permission? Who owns that recording and what can it be used for?
  • Can a teacher record their own lecture and put it online? Can they sell it?

Common courtesy and knowing the law may not be enough to answer these questions!

Sylvia

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