Is a recorded lecture (audio or video) a protected student record?

If the recording includes students asking questions, making presentations or leading a class (other than a TA), and the student can be identified then those portions of the recorded lecture constitute protected educational records. The records can only be used as permitted by FERPA or allowed by written consent from the student.

If the recording includes the instructor only and the students are not identifiable, it is not a student record, and FERPA does not apply.

Can an instructor allow individuals outside of class to access a video of the class that includes student participation?

This is not advised; however, there are ways this can be accomplished. One option is planning the recordings to ensure students are not shown in the video or identified by name.

Another option is editing the recordings to remove any student who has not consented to the use of their record. The students can also be edited to de-identify students in the recording. (remove mention of names, blurring images, altering voice)

The third option, best practice, would be to obtain FERPA consent forms from students in the recording. This can be done for the whole class or case by case.

What is the easiest way to comply with FERPA if I am video recording my class sessions, and students will be asking questions, doing presentations, or appearing on camera?

The easiest way to comply with FERPA would be to refrain from having students appear on camera, and do not repeat the student’s name. Should a student appear on camera or if they are not de-identified, this can be edited out or, written consent can be obtained.

For courses that are presentation based, it is best to ask students in the class to provide written consent at the beginning of the course.  This also applies to video projects.

Can a recording that includes student participation be posted for other students in the class to view or listen to?

Yes, as long as access is explicitly limited to the other students within the class.

Can the instructor show recordings from last semester/year’s class to the current class?

The current class would need to be treated as a third party, which under FERPA requires the consent of the students or the de-identification of any students depicted in the recordings.

What if a student declines to sign a FERPA consent?

We cannot require or persuade a student to give consent. Those who decline to consent must be de-identified or removed from the recording.

Who can I consult for guidance on how to comply with federal law in my use of class-related recordings?
  • Registrar’s Office: 518-783-2312
  • ITS: 518-786-5000 (for students)
    • 518-782-6000 (for faculty/staff)


US Department of Education Resources: