Privacy Considerations

In addition to considerations of copyright and intellectual property, the need to protect the privacy of students in the class being recorded is also essential.  In addition to general privacy protection, some students have very serious and genuine reasons for not wanting their presence in a particular class or at a particular institution to be public information, and may be endangered by insufficient privacy protection.  These considerations are guided both by university policy and the Ontario Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) regulations.

Questions about adhering to privacy guidelines in a specific context may be addressed to the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation or the Rafael Eskenazi, the University of Toronto FIPP Director at rafael.eskenazi@utoronto.ca.

In general, instructors and students should follow the following guidelines:

  • Students must be given notice that lectures or a lecture will be recorded, preferably well before the recorded class.  Ideally, this notification would also be offered if the recording is being made by a student for their own personal use.
  • Students must be given the option to opt out of recorded classes without penalty.  In general, this can be done with minimal disruption by designating an area of the class that will not be visible on a video-recording, and by providing students who do not wish for their voice to be recorded an alternative means of participating and asking questions (e.g. by email, during office hours, or through a written note passed to a teaching assistant).  Students who wish to remain anonymous in a recorded lecture must not be penalized for this choice – if, for example, participation is a required component of the course, students must be given another option to earn participation credit that will not be recorded.
  • Some faculty feel most comfortable preceding any recording with a circulated consent form.  This form should outline the purpose of the recording, its potential uses, and students’ options for opting out. A sample consent form is available from CTSI, who can assist you in modifying it as appropriate for your own context.