Class Recording and Video Policy

Recording of Remote Teaching under Covid-19-Related Restrictions

1. All classes (both live and remote) should be recorded.1

When faculty record a synchronous class session, they should communicate this to the students both in writing through the course syllabus and verbally.

Instructors who believe that their classes involve special concerns (for instance, personal security, confidentiality or the nature of participation) for students or other participants that justify not recording the entire class should request an exception from the Associate Dean for Curriculum and the Dean of Students at the outset of the semester. These individuals may delegate the authority to grant exceptions to this policy to program directors for programs in which exceptions may regularly be considered appropriate. In addition, instructors may choose to turn off the recording at certain points of the class in order to protect student privacy and/or confidential client information, or to eliminate the possibility that recording might stifle discussion, particularly if sensitive content is included in the discussion.

Sessions that are clearly “office hours,” that is, sessions in which the instructor is clearly entitled to exclude other students enrolled in the class and that are not part of the required class hours for the course, should not be recorded.

If a student’s circumstances prevent them from being recorded, the student can request an exception to this recording policy from the Office of the Dean of Students. The student may not discuss an exemption request with individual instructors directly.

2. All students should have access to all recordings of classes in which they are enrolled. Instructors must notify students where recordings of classes can be located. Instructors also are encouraged to include information on how to access recordings of synchronous class sessions on their syllabi.

3. Recordings that include student participation may not be shared outside of the course in which they were recorded.

Recordings that include students in class are “educational records” and must be erased at the end of the semester in which the class was held. The Office of the Registrar and the Office of the Dean of Students must be consulted with respect to the appropriate scope of any exceptions to this practice. For further guidance on this policy, please refer to the Provost’s Guidelines for Recording Remote Class Content.

4. Unauthorized student recording of class sessions is prohibited. Students requesting the use of assistive technology should direct such requests to AccessibleNU. 

5. Faculty members may determine, at their discretion, whether to require that students turn video functions on during class time. These elections should be clearly outlined in class syllabi. Regardless of a particular faculty member’s election, all students should be permitted brief periods of time in which they may “mute” their cameras to attend to issues in their environment. These brief periods should also not exceed 20% of the class time in any class session. In addition, students are encouraged to upload a recent photo to their Zoom profile for use when the camera function is off.

a. Faculty members who elect to require that students leave their cameras on should afford each student three full class meeting exceptions for classes that meet on average three or more times a week, two full class exceptions for classes that meet on average two or more times a week, and one full class exception for classes that meet on average once or less per week, to this requirement without any explanation; students must provide notice to the instructor that they will be (or were) “off camera” on a particular day. Students seeking more extensive exceptions to a requirement to have cameras on in a course should make a request with the Office of the Dean of Students. Off-camera days shall not count as class absences, and class absences shall not count against a students’ available off-camera days. Students with their cameras turned off are expected to otherwise fully participate in class (i.e., audio on and microphone available) consistent with the expectations surrounding class participation as set out by the faculty member in the syllabus. Faculty members should clearly specify in their syllabi how a student’s exceeding (without an approved exception) the off-camera allowance will impact a student’s grade.

b. Faculty members who elect not to require students to turn their cameras on may consider including the following language in their syllabi:

"Your ability to engage meaningfully with your instructor and classmates, exercising the full range of your communication skills, will be enhanced if you can talk to each other and see each other. I realize that this will not always be possible for a variety of reasons. I encourage you to use video if possible, but understand if you cannot.”


1The University’s Recording Policy, which is substantially the same as this Law-specific policy, can be found here: https://www.northwestern.edu/provost/policies/recording-class.html.