Class Recording Advice and FAQ


The CFDE strongly recommends recording classes when possible, although this is not mandated. In particular, as of Fall 2022, the add-drop-swap period for undergraduate classes will end 14 days after the start of the semester. Recording your classes for that initial period will make it easier for late-adding students to catch up.

Other reasons to record classes relate to COVID-19. If you record your class and routinely post the recording on Canvas, this lets all students know they can see the recording even if they have to miss class due to illness. In general, the pandemic has made us realize we’re all safer if a student (or instructor) experiencing symptoms opts to stay home from class, whether COVID symptoms or something else potentially contagious. Additionally, we’ve seen during the pandemic that sometimes international students have travel delays causing them to miss some class sessions at the beginning of a semester.

Furthermore, recording your classes is pedagogically useful even for students who attend class. Many students find it helpful to have a recording to review. This is considered an important “universal design” principle.

While there are many ways to record a class, the CFDE notes that Zoom recordings are particularly useful as you can record to the cloud and then simply post the link on your Canvas website. Cloud recording with Zoom also automatically provides a transcript, although it’s not perfect. You can do a Zoom recording by using a document camera or iPad, screen-casting that to the students in the classroom, and simultaneously using the document camera computer or your iPad to record. Many classrooms are equipped with a document camera & computer.

Other options: If your class is discussion-based, you should contact your school’s classroom technology support group to see if there are good microphone options available to pick up student voices. Even without that, absent students may still find it valuable to hear your voice, even if not able to hear the other students.

Keep in mind the recording does not have to be perfect; the goal is to be adequate.

Many instructors who will teach in-person this year expect to use a whiteboard / blackboard. And most classrooms are not set up to video record what’s happening at the board. In such situations, the instructor may feel that the pedagogical value of the board work overrides the utility of recording the class. One option might be to teach one class using the board, and the next period try screen-casting and recording, and then see which version the students prefer. Another option would be to take pictures of the board as needed, so that they can be distributed to students who must miss class (you might even recruit a student in the class to do this so that you don’t have to worry about it). In summary, an instructor with a strong personal preference for the board (and not video recording) is encouraged to do what works best for them.

No. In this situation, you might consider having a student note-taker and have the notes available to students who need them.

There are some students with documented accommodation needs who will have access to an audio notetaking system; please see the Department of Accessibility Services for details. For students who desire to audio record classes outside of these documented accommodation cases, this is at the instructor’s discretion.

Recordings should be restricted to your current class only, for privacy reasons. The easiest way to do this is to post the recording on your Canvas site for the class.

The CFDE recommends that all recordings be made available to your full class via Canvas, which ensures that they all have access but that nobody outside the class gets that access. If you decide the recordings are available upon request only, please be thoughtful and respect the requests without demanding students explain their particular need.

Maybe. If the recording is only of yourself, then you can use the recording for whatever purpose you like. For example, if you record an asynchronous lecture, you could use this recording in future semesters or even post it publicly on the web. However, if any students appear in your recording (audio or video) then you cannot reuse the recording for privacy reasons. This is related to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) law.

Yes, that would be a FERPA violation! We recommend using this syllabus language (scroll down on that page for specific language related to class session recording, which has been approved by Emory’s Office of General Counsel). This language makes it clear to students that they cannot share recordings with anybody else.

This is a constructive suggestion and you are welcome to make your notes available. You may still want to consider whether students would like a recording as well – if, for example, you make thoughtful off-the-cuff remarks that aren’t in your notes.

We recommend that you record both audio and video: for the video, what we’re recommending is typically that you record what you are writing. In some classrooms, you can use a document camera to project what you’re writing on a screen, and simultaneously record that using Zoom. In other cases, you may wish to use an iPad to project what you’re writing; you can have your iPad join a Zoom session, and screen-share the iPad to use Zoom to do the recording in a similar way as the document camera method. In yet other cases, your classroom may be outfitted with Echo360 or Panopto which can record what you write on the board. A final possibility is to record audio, and take photos of your board at appropriate intervals.

If your classroom style does not involve writing on the board, then you would be welcome to aim a video camera at yourself if that is straightforward to do. This could involve using your iPad or rotating the document camera to point at your face.

You should contact your local school IT support, who are prepared to help you. During the pandemic a lot of new technology was purchased. Most of the choices of what to buy was driven by ease of use, and thus does not require extensive training. In the end, you should be able to be focused on your teaching and not have to be focused on recording. This is one reason we recommend using Zoom to do the recording, because it’s a tool we all understand fairly well. The classrooms already have the microphones, and those should work without you needing to adjust them.

Probably not, but in the end, it’s up to you. We are not recommending that you try to manage in-person and remote students simultaneously. The focus is on generating a recording that is provided later, asynchronously, to students who need it. But it is up to you.

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