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Recording of Students - Guidelines

Guidelines for Media Recording of Students in Learning Spaces

Universities are required to comply with the provisions of the provincial Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA), so the University of Ottawa must collect, use, maintain, disclose and dispose of personal information in a manner consistent with the legislation.  

Information within the institution is also managed in accordance with University’s policies and guidelines. As care must be exercised to protect privacy while engaging in remote teaching and learning, faculties should be familiar with the following:

  • Policy 23 - Policy on Information Management
  • Policy 90 - Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
  • Policy 116 - Use of Security and Information Technology Assets 
  • Policy 117 - Information Classification and Handling

1. Purpose

The purpose of this document is to clarify the standards under which instructors may record teaching experiences and learning experiences of students in physical and digital learning spaces. A classroom (physical or virtual) is not a public space; therefore, students have an expectation of privacy.

With the exception of online assessment proctoring of a student, student participation in media recordings in learning spaces is not mandatory.

There are many benefits to use different forms of media to capture activities that occur in learning spaces including: 

  • providing diverse techniques for learning strategies (such as flipped classrooms);
  • simplifying and explaining complex problems;
  • allowing students repeated access to learning materials (lesson capture);
  • supporting assessment of student learning; 
  • providing instructors with recordings of their practice that can be used in self-assessment and self-reflection of teaching;
  • enhancing accessibility.

In addition to the benefits of media recordings, the need to protect the privacy of students in the class being recorded is imperative.

In addition to privacy protection, some students have reasons for not wanting their presence in a particular class or presence at a particular institution to be recorded. Recordings without their knowledge and consent could put these students at risk by insufficient privacy protection. 

2. Scope

This document applies to any instructor planning to record experiences in a learning space. 

Two types of media recording are addressed: 

  • Media recording for lesson capture.
  • Media recording for assessment of student learning.

This operating standard does not conflict or overlap with University usage of surveillance cameras.

This operating standard does not address recordings by students.

This operating standard does not address instances where communications media organizations such as newspapers, magazines, TV, and radio record in learning spaces.

3. Definitions

In this document:

  • “Instructor” means the Academic Staff Member, Appointee, graduate teaching assistant or other individual that is on record as the individual teaching a course or teaching a section of a course, or the Academic Staff Member serving as the supervisor or co-supervisor of a graduate Student.
  • “Student” means an individual registered in a University course or program of study.
  • “University” means the University of Ottawa.
  • “Media Recording” refers to video, audio or photographic capture of activities within a learning space.
  • “Learning Space” refers to the physical or digital spaces in which course activity takes place including, but not limited to, classrooms, online/virtual, field, lab and clinical spaces.

4. Guidelines: Media Recording for Lesson Capture

Media recording of an instructor delivering a lesson does not require student consent if the recording device (i.e. camera or microphone) is oriented on the instructor only, and students are not identifiable in the recording. 

A notice should be provided to students when media recording will occur in a learning space, in the event that a student’s image or voice is inadvertently captured. Notice can be given through the course outline, emails to students in a course and/or verbally before media recording is taking place.

For an example of a notification, click here.

To ensure an equivalent learning experience for all, any live streamed lecture or tutorial that has been recorded should be hosted in a University’s approved systems that allows easy access so that students who were unable to attend a live stream event can review the recordings.

Media recording should be retained by the University for one year from the date the final grade is official.

5. Guidelines: Online assessment proctoring

Media recording of students may take place if the recording is necessary for the formative or summative assessment of learning. Consent may be required. 

Whenever possible, notice should be provided to students in advance of the course start date that certain activities will be recorded for online assessment proctoring of learning purposes. It is recommended that this information be included in the course syllabus. Notification can also be given through an email to students in a course and/or verbally as a reminder before the assessment takes place.

For an example of a notification, click here.

For more information on the Online proctoring software adopted by the University, please click here.

Please note that:

  • Media recordings have to be stored in a University approved systems.
  • Media recordings should not be re-used for any other purpose
  • Media recording have to be retained by the University for one year from the date the final grade is official, unless the student concerned consents to their earlier disposal.

Questions, concerns, or comments

Questions by students regarding the collection and use of their own personal information should be addressed to the University faculty, administrative office or service responsible for such collection and use. Questions of a general nature regarding the collection, use and disclosure of information should be addressed to the University’s Director, Access to Information and Chief Privacy Officer, by email at aipo@uOttawa.ca, by telephone at 613-562-5800 ext. 1851 or by mail at:

University of Ottawa
Access to Information and Privacy Office
550 Cumberland Street
Ottawa ON,KIN 6N5.

Frequently Asked Questions by Students

What is the purpose or need for the recording?

There are three main reasons why a course must be registered:

1. Accommodating students in different time zones

More and more courses are being offered in a hybrid, fully online or dual mode. Many of the students taking these courses may be in different time zones, whether they live in Canada or in other countries, and recording the course allows them to attend offline.

2. Facilitate content review

Recording courses also allows for review of content before exams or assignments. Some of our systems even allow students to make annotations, share questions they may have after the fact with the professor, etc. In addition, review is facilitated by a timestamp based on the slides of the PowerPoint presentation, which makes it much easier to navigate through the recording.

3. Improve accessibility

The existence of recordings allows students with special needs or learning disabilities to view the videos with their support tools. Captions are also added to the recordings.

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